Module - Culture of Gametes and Embryos (SLS322)


Aim of this module

This module will provide the trainee with knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice of culture systems used in an IVF laboratory. They will gain experience of the culture of gametes and embryos in a clinical setting. They will gain understanding on how quality management integrates with the laboratory processes, and how to identify, troubleshoot and correct problems.

Work-based learning outcomes

  1. Use sterile technique to prepare culture dishes appropriate for gametes and embryos.
  2. Culture embryos to maintain viability.
  3. Perform quality control checks within the laboratory.
  4. Analyse key performance indicators with respect to defined outcomes.
  5. Identify, troubleshoot and solve problems.

Work-based Competencies

Learning outcome Title Knowledge
1 1,2

Assess air quality in the laboratory.

  • The importance of air quality and the implications for maintaining sterility. An awareness of methodology to assess air quality such as particulate counts, microbiological testing and volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements.
  • A working knowledge of regulatory requirements.
2 2

Correctly use incubators, heated stages and tube warmers to maintain temperature conditions.

  • The importance of controlling the culture environment and the implications for embryo viability if suboptimal conditions are used.
  • Working knowledge of the measurements that can be taken to assess parameters directly affecting embryo quality and the implications of exceeding tolerance limits.
  • Identification of common faults and remedial action.
3 1

Use workstations/safety cabinets correctly to maintain sterility of samples.

  • The importance of aseptic techniques and maintaining sterility.
  • Implications of incorrect application of aseptic technique and the potential risks.
  • Working knowledge of the environmental variables, such as temperature and CO2, and their impact on sample viability.
  • Identification of common faults and remedial action.
4 1

Perform sterilisation and decontamination techniques for equipment and facilities used in tissue culture.

  • The importance of aseptic techniques and maintaining sterility.
  • Implications of incorrect application of aseptic technique and the potential risks.
  • Protocols and requirements for hygiene and infection control.
5 1,2

Prepare consumables and media for oocyte collection; fertilisation checks; embryo culture; embryo transfer; embryo cryopreservation and thawing/warming.

  • An in-depth knowledge of water purity, osmolality, pH, temperature, protein supplements, antibiotics and microbiological contamination and their effects on oocyte and embryo viability in culture.
  • A comprehensive knowledge of the physiological requirements of an embryo at the different stages of development in culture.
6 3,4,5

Analyse data required for specific key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • In-depth knowledge of data analysis for KPIs and defining tolerance limits.
  • The importance of recognising non-compliances and the implications for the system.
7 3

Perform inward receipt of consumables to carry out the necessary quality control checks and traceability requirements.

  • A working knowledge of the regulatory requirements and quality issues relating to consumables used in the laboratory.

Work-based assessment

Complete 2 Case-Based Discussion(s)
Complete 2 of the following DOPS and/or OCEs
Type Title
DOPS Carry out QC checks to assess laboratory air quality
DOPS Prepare culture dishes utilising medium suitable for the different stages of development using aseptic technique
DOPS Perform functional equipment checks on workstations to ensure viability can be maintained
DOPS Produce KPIs
DOPS Check consumables in to the system and ensure the correct information is required to maintain traceability
DOPS Perform sterility checks on medium
OCE An appropriate activity agreed with your Training Officer