Our Embryology Laboratory

Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology has a highly-specialized, full-service fertility laboratory located at our New York Center. Our state-of-the-art laboratory offers patients a full range of reproductive laboratory services including: in vitro fertilization; ICSI; laser assisted hatching; embryo and blastocyst biopsy; preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD); rapid vitrification of embryos, blastocysts, sperm and eggs; in-vitro maturation (maturing immature eggs in the laboratory) and embryoplasty (our unique process of embryo defragmentation).

Our embryology laboratory is an integral part of our infertility treatment and it must provide an optimal environment for growth and development of our patient's embryos. At our laboratory the room conditions are precisely regulated around the clock and strict sterile protocols are applied to control Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs), which can be harmful to embryo growth and development. VOCs are present in paints, glues, flooring, insulation, plastics and many other products. To keep embryos safe from VOCs, Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology employs very strict personal hygiene procedures and extensive laboratory environmental controls. Our embryology and operating room suites have specially designed air-filtering systems that purify the air and remove these VOCs. Among IVF laboratories in the New York/Metropolitan region our air system is second to none!

Our team's strict quality control standards have earned our laboratory a Gold Seal of Accreditation from the Joint Commission, which has a long-standing commitment to providing meaningful information about the comparative performance of accredited organizations to the public. We employ strict tissue culture techniquesand our laboratory is a New York State licensed tissue bank.

To meet the growing needs of our practice and to further our commitment to being the best embryology center for our patients, Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology is constructing a second IVF laboratory at our Long Island location scheduled to open in 2013 . Both our current laboratory and our new laboratory will have, in addition to the main embryology room where our embryologists do a majority of their work, special rooms designated solely for cryopreservation, media preparation, and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).

Few embryologists have the skill and experience comparable to our scientific team. Our experienced laboratory team, coupled with our exceptional embryology procedures and superior embryo culture conditions, has allowed Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology to reach unprecedented pregnancy success rates for the simplest to the most complicated cases of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Our Advanced Laboratory

Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology has developed a number of proprietary procedures that have successfully been proven to assist in infertility treatment including:

  • Embryoplasty -- A procedure unique to our laboratory, where our embryology team removes fragments that develop between the embryo's cells. This process improves the quality of the embryos; increasing their ability to divide and improving the chances to develop into a higher quality blastocyst.
  • Controlled Insemination -- Our process used in in vitro fertilization that can achieve a high rate of fertilization, particularly in cases of poor morphology sperm.
  • Functional Sperm Morphology -- A successful technique we developed whereby we "score" only the sperm cells that matter allowing us to obtain the accurate percentage of sperm that are capable of fertilizing the eggs.

Highly Specialized Infertility Procedures

  • IVM – We offer in vitro maturation for patients that may have immature eggs after the egg retrieval to optimize the number of oocytes that can be fertilized. Very few centers have the expertise we have to finish the maturation process in the laboratory. IVM is also useful for patients with PCOS who cannot risk high estrogen levels and who may need to have an early retrieval when the eggs may still be immature.
  • Vitrification – We perform cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos using the latest technique called rapid vitrification, which gives a higher probability of survival for oocytes and embryos.
  • PGD/PGS – We offer Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)/screening to determine the normalcy and gender of embryos.
  • Sperm Sex Selection – Our sperm sex selection procedure is an option for patients who desire a specific gender, and who want to avoid genetic diseases that may afflict a specific gender.
  • High-Resolution Sperm Selection for ICSI – We use high-resolution and high-magnification microscopy in the selection of sperm that we use for ICSI in order to avoid sperm cells with certain abnormalities. This minimizes the probability of the resulting embryos being chromosomally abnormal.
  • PICSI-Dish Sperm Selection for ICSI – We offer the use of PICSI dish, which is a dish containing hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) in order to select the mature sperm with the highest probability of fertilization.
  • Embryo Glue – We use Embryo Glue as the solution for loading the embryos at the time of embryo transfer. Embryo glue contains a high concentration of hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) which thickens the solution to be more similar to the consistency of the fluids in the uterus. The uterine wall and the embryo have receptor sites for this molecule, therefore the hyaluronan acts like "glue" between the embryo and the uterus.

Laboratory Techniques and Procedures (Separating our laboratory from ALL the rest!)

  • Inseminate only M2 – Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology performs ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm insertion) only when the oocytes are completely mature. If this means that our embryology team has to stay in the laboratory until late at night in order to ensure and achieve a high rate of fertilization than that is what we do! Our embryologists do not have a nine-to-five workday; instead, our laboratory hours are 24-7, 365 days a year. We do whatever is necessary to make sure that your eggs are ready before we fertilize them.
  • Second Day ICSI – At Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology we perform ICSI on the day after egg retrieval on eggs that were immature on the first day, and then were matured in our laboratory using our IVM technique. This can be especially important in cases where the number of eggs retrieved were very limited.
  • Assisted Hatching for Patients 37 Years Old or Older – It is our belief at Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology that assisted hatching can improve the pregnancy success rate for patients that are 37 years old or older. We also use it for patients that have thickened zona pellucida. This is the strong membrane that forms around an ovum as it develops in the ovary. To fertilize the egg, a sperm must penetrate the thinning zona pellucida.
  • IVF Chamber Handling – All manipulations involving the oocytes and embryos are performed by our embryology team inside an IVF Chamber in order to maintain the proper temperature and pH of the culture media.
  • Fresh Oil – In our laboratory, oil used for overlay of the culture media is stored in the refrigerator and prepared fresh daily in order to prevent oxidation.
  • Immediate Removal of Oocytes from RBCs During Retrieval – this will minimize exposure of eggs to oxidative radicals, and we feel this improves the overall fertilization rates.
  • Custom-Made ICSI Pipets – In our laboratory, Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology's embryologists have developed a technique for performing fertilization via ICSI using a pipet designed to minimize damage to the oocytes; therefore, achieving a higher survival rate for the eggs after ICSI, and a higher fertilization rate as a result.
  • Sperm Activation Techniques –Sperm immobilization prior to ICSI is thought to be necessary for efficient fertilization. A variety of methods of sperm immobilization (pipetting, squeezing and piezo application) are currently employed in ICSI. We perform vigorous sperm immobilization when performing ICSI in order to ensure that the sperm is activated and ready to fertilize the egg.
  • IMSI – This new technique called intra-cytoplasmic morphologically-selected sperm injection (IMSI) highly improves the chances of a successful pregnancy. Our embryologists use a high-magnification microscope, about five times more powerful than standard laboratory equipment, to select the best, healthy looking sperm.
  • Gradient Sperm Separation Technique – At our laboratory this technique is used for severe male factor cases – our embryologists are well-trained and well-equipped to deal with cases where the semen samples are extremely poor and in cases where testicular tissue samples are required.
  • Sperm Activation – We use special solutions in our laboratory to activate viable, but non-motile sperm cells, in order to isolate live sperm cells to be used for ICSI.
  • Freezing of Testicular Tissues – At Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology our embryology team recommends that testicular tissue samples are frozen intact in order to maximize the survival of sperm cells.
  • Labeling – In our laboratory we use a diamond-tip pen to write our labels for the dishes used for the eggs and embryos. Actually, we scratch the patient information on the bottom of the dish, because ink-based pens cannot be used in the laboratory because they can introduce VOCs in to the incubators used for tissue cultures.