An insight into our world - the IVF Laboratory

The Embryology Laboratory

The most critical yet least understood area of a fertility centre, the IVF laboratory is often a place that remains a mystery to patients and the public.  In truth, the lab is simply a room or suite of rooms we try to keep as clean as we possibly can, thats why we restrict access to only the people who need to be working there.  typical_labThe lab is equipped with the tools we need to keep eggs, sperm and embryos in an environment which is optimised to ensure they are allowed to grow in a dark and moist environment which mimics the human body as closely as we can.  Our incubators vary in shape and size from unit to unit but they all try to deliver the same end result and to the highest quality standards.

Our aim is to take sperm and eggs and combine them together to form the best embryos possible for either fresh embryo transfer or to be frozen and stored for future thawing and use.  There are a number of ways we can make this happen, from simply mixing the sperm and eggs together in a petri dish and leaving them to fertilise (IVF) to injecting a singe sperm into an egg (ICSI) and even using a high power microscope to select the individual sperm we inject (IMSI).  We also have time-lapse technology which allows us to look at embryos in real time and assess their development from outside of the laboratory, even from the other side of the world.  Our science is a fast developing one and is never far from the media because of the impact that is has on so many peoples lives.

The Clinical Embryologist


So what of the people behind the scences?  Clinical Embryologists are dedicated individuals; our science is unique and very much in demand.  As such demand for positions outweighs supply and we have the luxury of being able to select the very best people for the job.  Our scientists are well trained, responsilbe individuals who undergo a training that is second to none, allowing them to develop into roles such as Laboratory Managers ensuring that laboratories are well and safely run and Scientific Directors who tirelessly work to ensure that our science continues to evolve to the benefit of everyone who needs help to concieve a child.  We take the safety of our patients and their embryos very seriously so ACE take steps to ensure that embryologists are supported in continuing their professional development by providing a Code of Professional Conduct, a CPD scheme for our members and published Guidelines for Good Practice that are regularly reviewed, the most recent version of which, published in 2012 are available to our members via this website.

Frequently asked Questions