What is the Role of an Embryologist?
A Key Member of Your Fertility Team
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “An embryologist is your child’s first babysitter,” during your fertility journey, you heard correctly! Embryologists create viable embryos to be either used in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer or frozen for later use. While you may not spend much time with your embryology team, they are working hard in the lab to ensure the healthy development of your embryos!
Embryologists are highly trained medical professionals that usually hold a Master’s degree due to the specialized nature of their work. They are responsible for the management of genetic materials (sperm and eggs) as they develop into embryos. They also work to ensure that the embryology laboratory is an ideal environment for embryo growth and storage.
Embryologists: Giving Your Embryos the Best Chance Possible
For women, creating embryos through IVF begins with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation— a process that causes the ovaries to mature more than one egg, in an effort to have multiple eggs collected at once. During the egg retrieval procedure, a physician uses a needle to puncture the matured follicle and collect the fluid within. After this step, the embryologist takes this fluid for examination under a microscope to identify and separate any eggs contained within.
For men, a semen sample is the only step in the process of collecting genetic material. After a sample is collected, it is sent to the embryologist for sperm washing— the removal of all seminal fluid to distinguish the most mobile and healthy sperm.
Once the eggs are collected and the sperm is washed and prepared, the embryologist gets to work! Their goal is to combine the sperm and eggs to create embryos, and then carefully monitor their development.
Behind the Scenes
The embryologist will often use intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)— a more comprehensive step in the IVF process that involves injecting a single healthy sperm cell into each mature egg to increase the chances of fertilization.
They are also responsible for the cryopreservation of genetic material if the patients’ treatment goal is to store the eggs or embryos for future family building purposes or donation. When the time comes to thaw the eggs or embryos, they will follow careful procedures that ensure the health of the materials is maintained.
Laurel Fertility Care is proud to have experienced, highlight-trained embryologists that are dedicate to the success your fertility journey. If you have more questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office at (415) 673- 9199 or request an appointment online.