RMA SoCal’s IVF Laboratory
This month, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Southern California (RMA SoCal) celebrated the opening of its IVF laboratory and ambulatory surgical center. The addition of the two spaces means RMA of Southern California, located in West Los Angeles, is now able to provide the full scope of fertility care, starting with infertility testing and including everything from in-house blood testing and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to egg freezing.
The IVF laboratory at RMA of Southern California is truly state-of-the-art, optimized to set patients up for success. The lab is a replica of the cutting-edge laboratory inside our sister practice, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) and has played a key role in that practice’s field-leading IVF success rates for years.
Now, that same type of high-tech, high-precision and high-quality laboratory capability is available right here in Los Angeles.
THE SURGICAL CENTER
The center of a woman’s IVF experience is the egg retrieval, which happens inside a surgical center. Now, women undergoing egg retrieval for IVF or egg freezing can have the procedure done at RMA of Southern California’s new on-site surgical center, which is fully-equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a private recovery area. The procedure itself is only about 10-20 long, and patients will receive the most advanced care, from start to finish.
THE TOOLS, TECHNOLOGY AND PROCESSES
The next part of the process is the embryology laboratory, the heart of any IVF practice. RMA of Southern California’s lab is fully equipped with the latest, most advanced technology to ensure optimal embryo development for every patient. After a woman’s eggs are retrieved inside the surgical center, they are taken to the lab and incubated.
Later that same day, an embryologist combines the eggs with sperm. The egg is once again incubated, and, after it has fertilized, is referred to as an embryo. At this point it is incubated again until it is ready to be biopsied, should the patient choose to have pre-implantation genetic testing done. All of these processes require the most sophisticated technology and skilled lab scientist to succeed.
In addition to the technology itself, RMA of Southern California has a stringent quality assurance and quality control process that safeguards the integrity of the lab and regulates conditions to optimize patient success. Conditions emulate the uterine environment as closely as possible, equipment is monitored, and an embryologist runs daily quality checks.
THE EMBRYO BIOPSY PROCESS
Because RMA of Southern California’s lab conditions are so well-controlled and doctors developed a way to optimize embryo culture in a way that allows embryos to grow past day 3, are left to develop in-vitro for 5 -6 days until they reach the blastocyst stage. At this stage, the embryo has divided into hundreds of cells, which include the inner cell mass and outer surrounding cells.
The reason RMA of Southern California cultures embryos to the blastocyst stage is two-fold: those embryos have a higher chance of implanting, and they are also safer to biopsy, a procedure necessary to check for the chromosomal makeup of the embryos.
By taking a biopsy of just a few cells from the embryo’s outer cells(trophectoderm), RMA of Southern California is able to test those cells for chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo. This test, called Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS), allows doctors to distinguish normal from abnormal embryos. Typically, once a patient’s embryos are tested and the results are back, doctors will transfer the best into the woman’s uterus.
THE TEAM BEHIND THE LAB
Katherine Scott, MSc TS, serves as the IVF Laboratory Manager for Reproductive Medicine Associates of Southern California. She is responsible for all functions of the clinical laboratory, including assisted hatching, ICSI, sperm preparation, embryo biopsy, freezing via vitrification and the quality assurance and quality control programs.
Katherine, who is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American Board of Bioanalysts (ABB), has more than a decade of experience working in embryology laboratories, and has completed more than 15,000 IVF cycles. She is passionate about her clinical responsibilities and how her work in the lab affects the lives of patients and parents to be. Katherine’s commitment to her field of study has led her to publish papers on a multitude of topics in the field of embryology and genetics.
With the state-of-the-art laboratory and the experience of embryologists like Katherine and doctors like Dr. Tom Kim and Dr. Katherine Green, patients who come to RMA of Southern California can trust in their care, and have hope on their journey.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Tom Kim or Dr. Katherine Green at RMA of Southern California in Los Angeles, please call 424-293-8841 or click here.