Clinical Updates in Reproductive Health

Processing Ipas MVA Plus® and Ipas Single-Valve aspirators

Last reviewed: September 23, 2022


  • All Ipas multiple-use aspirators and adapters must be pre-soaked, rinsed or sprayed with water or enzymatic spray at the point-of-use, then cleaned and high-level disinfected or sterilized between patients.

In practice:

  • Instruments processed using wet methods should be reprocessed daily.

Importance of correctly processing instruments

During use, the cylinder of the manual vacuum aspirator (MVA) fills with blood. There is a potential risk that contaminants from a previous patient could be introduced to a new patient if the MVA is not appropriately processed (sterilized or high-level disinfected) between each use.


Step 1: Point-of-use preparation

After use, do not let the device dry. Presoak, rinse or spray the device with water or enzymatic spray. Do not use chlorine or saline, as these may damage some medical instruments. Additionally, chlorine can be less effective when used before cleaning instruments in Step 2, and can lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Step 2: Cleaning

Disassemble aspirator and adaptor (if used) and clean with warm water and detergent using a soft brush.

Step 3: Sterilization or high-level disinfection

All aspirators and adaptors must be sterilized or high-level disinfected after use.

Sterilization options High-level disinfection options
  • Steam autoclave* instruments at 121°C (250°F) with a pressure of 106kPa (15lbs/in2) for 30 minutes
  • Glutaraldehyde** soak for the time recommended by the manufacturer—most recommend 10 hours***
  • Sporox II solution soak for 6 hours***
  • Boil* the instruments for 20 minutes
  • Glutaraldehyde** soak for the time recommended by the manufacturer—recommendations range from 20-90 minutes***
  • Sporox II solution soak for 30 minutes***
  • 0.5% chlorine solution soak for 20 minutes***

* IPAS SINGLE-VALVE ASPIRATOR CANNOT BE BOILED OR, AUTOCLAVED.** Because there are several glutaraldehyde products available with different recommendations for processing time, always follow the recommendations that come with your brand of glutaraldehyde.

*** If chemical agents were used in processing, aspirator parts and adaptors (if used) should be thoroughly rinsed in clean, potable water (drinking water).

Step 4: Store appropriately or use immediately

Aspirators and adapters may be dried, the O-ring lubricated and the device reassembled and stored in a clean dry area until use. The aspirator does not need to remain high-level disinfected or sterilized at the time of use and can be placed in a clean area or stored according to local standards.

Instruments processed by wet methods should be reprocessed daily.

These validated methods of instrument processing do not negatively affect the MVA for at least 25 reuse cycles (Powell & Kapp, 2019). Detailed information on MVA processing and other processing options are in Ipas’s Woman-centered comprehensive abortion care: Reference manual, 2nd edition, page 150 (Ipas, 2013).


Processing the Ipas MVA PlusⓇ Aspirator and Ipas EasyGripⓇ Cannulae (wall chart)

Ipas MVA reprocessing videos – Ipas (available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic)

Abortion Care Videos – Ipas:  MVA Instrument Reprocessing


Curless, M. S., Ruparelia, C. S., Thompson, E., & Trexler, P. A. (Eds.) (2018). Infection Prevention and Control: Reference Manual for Health Care Facilities with Limited Resources. Jhpiego: Baltimore, MD.

Ipas. (2013). Woman-centered comprehensive abortion care: Reference manual, 2nd edition. Turner, K. L. & Huber, A., eds. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Ipas.

Powell, B., & Kapp, N. (2019). Validation of instrument reprocessing methods for the Ipas manual vacuum aspiration devices. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 147(1), 89-95.

World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization. (2016). Decontamination and Reprocessing of Medical Devices for Health-care Facilities. Geneva: World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization.