MEA-Tested Plastics in the IVF Lab

As discussed in previous blog posts, the secret to successful bovine IVP is all in the small details contributing to the bigger picture. One detail that is often overlooked is the toxic effect of sub-optimal plastic and consumables.

Plastic is used throughout the entire animal IVP procedure; from Ovum pick-up (OPU) to vitrification / transfer. Gametes and embryos are exposed to several different containers throughout the protocol, therefore it is absolutely vital that IVF-approved plastics are sourced.

Plastic that is not IVF-approved, such as cell-culture grade dishes, often contains components which can be harmful to gametes and embryos thus negatively affecting blastocyst rates.

IVF Approved 4-Well Playe

How do you know if plastic is suitable for IVF?

IVF-approved plastic is generally described as Mouse Embryo Assay (MEA) tested. The MEA is a commonly used bioassay designed to test the toxicity of lab-ware, media and any other device that comes into contact with gametes/embryos.

MEA test: 1 to 2-cell murine embryos are cultured for 72, 96 or 120 hours and assessed for development. A minimum blastocyst development rate of 80% is needed to pass the MEA.

For added peace of mind, you can be confident knowing that each batch of IVF Bioscience media also undergoes Bovine Embryo Assay (BEA) quality control tests using a minimum of 700 randomly assorted bovine oocytes before release.

How can you reduce the toxic effect of plastic?

  • It is very important that you do not aliquot IVF Bioscience media or Oil into any plastic containers for storage. IVF Bioscience glass bottles are high quality and non-toxic, therefore media should remain in our bottles until ready to use.
  • IVF Bioscience bottles can also be sterilised and re-used for preheating or equilibrating aliquoted media.

How can IVF-grade plastic be sourced?

Plastic that is deemed safe for use in IVF is usually marketed as such, although if in doubt it is worth verifying this with your supplier that the plastic is IVF-grade.

Our Scientific Advisor, Dr Lotte Stroebech, regularly tests consumables in her laboratory in Copenhagen as part of her ongoing Research & Development efforts.

These expert recommendations are now available for you to download.

Download our Consumables document