Gametes and Fertilisation (SLS325)

10 credits

Aim of this module

This module will provide the trainee with the knowledge and understanding of the development of male and female gametes and the process of fertilisation. They will understand and gain experience in egg collection, sperm preparation and insemination methodologies, and identify normally and abnormally fertilised oocytes. The trainee will also learn how to report results from insemination/fertilisation.

  1. Follow correct witnessing procedures to comply with HFEA regulations.
  2. Handle gametes correctly to maintain viability.
  3. Undertake an egg recovery procedure and identify oocytes.
  4. Perform the different methods of sperm preparation techniques.
  5. Identify patients who, based on clinical parameters, require either in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
  6. Advise patients on their treatment pathway through discussion of the different insemination methods. Perform the different methods of routine (not ICSI) insemination.
  7. Identify stages of oocyte maturity and normally and abnormally fertilised oocytes.
  8. Record and report accurately patients’ fertilisation results.
Number Work-based learning outcome Title Knowledge
1 6

Discuss insemination methods used in treatment based on semen quality with patients.

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2 5

Make a clinical decision regarding the method of insemination with respect to semen quality.

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3 1

Label and witness samples used for insemination.

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4 4

Prepare epididymal and testicular samples for use with ICSI.

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5 1,2,4,5

Perform and interpret swim-up techniques and density gradient separation of sperm samples of different quality, including:

  • antisperm antibody-positive samples
  • retrograde samples
  • severe oligoasthenozoospermic samples
  • frozen samples, including donor samples.
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6 3

Identify granulosa cells, cumulus cells and oocytes during egg collection.

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7 3

Identify cysts during an oocyte collection.

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8 1,2

Handle and manipulate oocytes to maintain viability.

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9 1,2

Perform the identification and witnessing checks carried out at the time of insemination for IVF and ICSI.

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10 1,2

Perform insemination for IVF.

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11 1,2

Perform cumulus removal before ICSI and categorise the state of maturity of denuded oocytes.

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12 1,2,7,8

Perform fertilisation checks.

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13 8

Communicate bad news to patients in the event of low or failed fertilisation.

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14 8

Discuss fertilisation results with patients and the multidisciplinary team.

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15 1,2,7

Correctly identify and record normal and abnormally fertilised oocytes.

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You must complete
2 Case-based discussion(s)
2 of the following DOPS / OCEs
Assessment Title Type
Perform an egg collection correctly identifying oocytes, cumulus cells, granuolosa cells and cysts DOPS
Perform IVF insemination of oocytes giving reasons why the sample is suitable for IVF DOPS
Perform cumulus removal prior to ICSI and identify the stage of oocyte maturity DOPS
Discuss fertilisation outcome MDT DOPS
Perform and interpret swim up techniques and density gradient separation of sperm samples of different quality DOPS
Handle and manipulate oocytes to maintain viability DOPS
Perform the identification and witnessing checks carried out at the time of insemination for IVF and ICSI DOPS
Prepare surgically retrieved sperm samples DOPS
Label and witness samples used for insemination DOPS
On the day of egg collection explain the laboratory pathway to the patient including the stages of relevant embryology eg insemination, cleavage, embryo development, embryo transfer and cryopreservation. OCE
In the case of unexpected poor semen quality discuss with a patient the rationale of converting the treatment from IVF to ICSI. OCE
Inform and discuss with a patient normal fertilisation results Inform and discuss with a patient abnormal fertilisation OCE
Inform a patient of failed fertilisation and discuss the reasons why this may have occurred and implications for future treatment OCE
Present a discuss sperm quality and suitability of insemination method with patients to clinical collegues OCE
Communicate bad news to patients in the event of low or failed fertilisation OCE
Discuss insemination methods with patients used in treatment based on semen quality OCE

Important information

The academic parts of this module will be detailed and communicated to you by your university. Please contact them if you have questions regarding this module and its assessments. The module titles in your MSc may not be exactly identical to the work-based modules shown in the e-portfolio. Your modules will be aligned, however, to ensure that your academic and work-based learning are complimentary.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis.
  2. Explain oogenesis and oocyte maturation.
  3. Discuss the cellular and molecular basis of fertilisation.
  4. Describe relevant techniques for gamete preparation and handling.
  5. Describe methods of insemination and be able to identify normal and abnormally fertilised oocytes.
  6. Discuss the linkages between the reproductive science laboratory and other clinical specialisms in the selection and management of patients who will undergo insemination/fertilisation.

Indicative Content

  • Developmental and genetic control of spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis, including cytology of spermatogenesis, spermatocytes and spermatids
  • Physiology of mature sperm
  • Acrosome reaction
  • Sperm capacitation and zona pellucida binding
  • Follicle growth in the human ovary
  • Oocyte growth and maturation, including genetic and cellular regulation of meiosis and mitosis
  • Structure and properties of the zona pellucida
  • Cellular and molecular basis of fertilisation
  • The pronuclear oocyte, including completion of the second meiotic division and pronuclear formation
  • Syngamy
  • Basic laboratory skills and aseptic technique for semen preparation and oocyte collection and handling
  • Normal and abnormally fertilisation (polyspermy and parthenogenesis), including failed to fertilise oocytes, theories of origin and implications for patient treatment
  • Insemination methodologies
  • Risks of loss of viability associated with the handling of gametes and relevant control measures
  • Reporting outcomes from insemination/fertilisation