CCRM’s highest priority at all times is the safety and security of our patients and their reproductive tissue, including gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos. CCRM’s network-wide initiative, CCRM Secure, involves investing in the most state-of-the-art technologies available and implementing some of the strictest lab standards and protocols in the industry, to provide our patients with the gold standard in patient care.
Embryo, Sperm & Egg Storage
CCRM provides the highest level of surveillance to maintain appropriate cryogenic conditions. This includes:
- All incubators and storage tanks are alarmed with independent systems. These alarm systems are monitored 24/7 by numerous lab staff who are notified by email/text/call when conditions fall out of range.
- CCRM’s alarm systems are tested regularly for functionality.
- Alarms and bulk storage tanks are plugged into generator outlets and have appropriate backup batteries installed to avoid issues in case of power failure.
- Small storage tanks are manually checked daily and refilled appropriately.
- In every CCRM center, we have several tanks for redundancy in case of individual tank failure. This provides us liquid nitrogen supply if needed and the ability to move embryos to other functional tank, if needed.
Gamete & Embryo Identification/Tracking
Every step in the IVF process at CCRM uses a double-witnessing approach, which typically entails two embryologists verifying that all materials match before moving samples or performing critical procedures.
Additionally, CCRM has made significant investments to provide patients an extra layer of security to identify and track reproductive tissue.
CCRM is the first IVF network in the United States to implement the electronic witnessing system, Gidget, which acts as an additional witness and safeguard to help avoid mismatch errors. With Gidget, every culture dish and specimen tube that is used at any point in the IVF process is labeled with a unique bar code that links each item to the intended patient’s chart.
Every time a patient’s eggs, embryos or sperm are handled in the lab, the embryologist will scan the barcode as additional confirmation that the dishes are correctly labeled and belong to the intended patient. Gidget also provides a schedule to ensure that procedures are done on time and that no steps are missed. All tracking information is stored in one secure location and easily accessible to the embryologists.
CCRM embryologists receive extensive training prior to handling patient samples. Training may take years before an individual is fully trained in all procedures. This is a job that requires great precision and meticulous attention to detail.
The embryologists at CCRM have extensive experience. We have more than 10 PhDs trained in the upper levels of genetics and physiology at our IVF laboratory locations. All CCRM locations have senior embryology staff with more than 15 years of experience. This provides necessary skill and experience to ensure high quality outcomes, but also provides a training platform to continue to train the next generation of embryologists.
Rigorous Quality Control
The majority of labs use media and contact supplies directly from the manufacturer and rely on the manufacturer’s quality control testing to ensure no toxicity exists. CCRM goes an extra step by implementing an additional level of quality control testing on all media and contact supplies. This extra testing entails using an ultra-sensitive bioassay developed at CCRM to ensure materials are not toxic to developing embryos. This is a step not taken by most IVF labs.
Consistency Across the Network
CCRM takes exhaustive measures to ensure consistency between the 11 IVF laboratories in the network. This entails inventory management, centralized and recurrent training, routine data analysis and constant communication between facilities. This is a powerful tool for troubleshooting and quality control. Each laboratory has an onsite director, many of which are PhD level with years of experience. Additionally, CCRM has a Corporate Lab Director and a Technical Director of Embryology who routinely travel to all network clinics, ensuring consistency in procedure technique in all of our labs.