Sustainability in the IVF laboratory: recommendations of an expert panel

Elsevier, Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Available online 12 October 2023, 103600
Francesca Farlie, Giles Anthony Palmer, Jacques Cohen, Charles Calcagni, Anna Gorbunova, James Lawford Davies, Carol Loscher, Timothy Sharp, Daniela Smale, Pernilla Sörme, Cassandra L Thiel, Alessandra Alteri, Alison Campbell, Kirsty Crompton, Roisin O'Raghallaigh, Sharon Mortimer, Valerio Pisaturo, Annelies Tolpe, Mina Alikani

The healthcare industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Assisted Reproductive Technologies are part of the larger healthcare sector with their own heavy carbon footprint. The social, economic, and environmental costs of our collective carbon footprint are becoming clearer, as is the impact on human reproductive health. Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine and the International IVF Initiative collaborated to seek and formulate practical recommendations for sustainability in the IVF laboratory. An international panel of experts, enthusiasts and professionals in reproductive medicine, environmental science, architecture, biorepository, and law convened to discuss the topics of importance to sustainability. Recommendations were issued on how to build a culture of sustainability in the workplace, implement green design and building, use life cycle analysis to determine environmental impact, manage cryostorage more sustainably, and understand and manage laboratory waste with prevention as a primary goal. We explored whether the industry supporting IVF is sustainable and we provide an example to illustrate application of green principles to an IVF laboratory through a certification program. The UK legislative landscape surrounding sustainability is also discussed and we offer a few recommendations on ‘Green Conferencing.’