Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Prevention of infections in an ART laboratory: a reflection on simplistic methods

C. Huyser

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Pretoria, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa.

Correspondence at:


ART, assisted reproduction, developing countries, HIV-1, infections, laboratory, prevention

Published online: Dec 31 2014


Preventative measures combined with reactive remedial actions are generic management tools to optimize and protect an entity’s core businesses. Differences between assisted reproduction technology (ART) laboratories in developing versus developed countries include restricted access to, or availability of resources, and the prevalence of pathological conditions that are endemic or common in non-industrialized regions.
The aim of this paper is to discuss the prevention of infections in an ART laboratory in a low to middle-income country, with reference to simplistic risk reduction applications to avoid the introduction and transmission of pathogens. Diagnostic and procedural phases will be examined, i.e. (i) screening for microbes during patient evaluation, and (ii-iii) prevention of environmental and procedural contamination.
Preventative action is enabled by knowledge of threats and the degree of risk involved. Awareness and understanding of the vulnerabilities in an ART system, wherein laboratory personnel operate, are invaluable assets when unforeseen equipment failure occurs or instant decisions have to be made to safeguard procedures. An inter-connective team approach to patient treatment, biosafety training and utilization of practical procedures such as semen decontamination, are fundamental tools in a laboratory’s risk-reduction armoury to prevent and eliminate infectious elements.