What is a VOC, Volatile Organic Compound and why do they matter in the IVF lab?

VOCs stands for Volatile Organic Compounds.  These compounds are what you smell when you open a bottle of nail polish or Krazy Glue.  They are also what you smell when you smell gasoline.  They are carbon based (organic) and present in many items in your home or office building.  Examples of VOCs are hexane, vinyl chloride, and formaldehyde.  These compounds are also what cause “sick building syndrome.”  Sick building syndrome is commonly seen in new buildings with lots of artificial materials (new furniture, new carpet, etc.)  Residents of these buildings frequently complain of headaches, nausea, and skin irritation.

Why are Volatile Organic Compounds important in the IVF lab?

VOCs are mortal enemies of embryos.  You can imagine that if VOCs can make humans sick, they can easily affect an embryo.  Embryos are about 1000 times more sensitive to VOCs than adults because they do not have any protection.  Adults have livers and kidneys to filter VOCs that enter the body.  In addition, embryos are in the process of growing and making very complex systems.  VOCs can cause problems during growth.  It has been shown that VOCs directly attach to the DNA of cells and abort their growth.  Many studies have documented the fact that small amounts of VOCs in the air of an IVF lab can have disastrous results on pregnancy rates.

At Red Rock Fertility Center, we constantly monitor the air quality to control VOCs and protect our growing embryos.

Coming next, how do you get rid of VOC’s in the Fertility Lab?

 

For more information on fertility treatment and IVF, please call (702) 262-0079.

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