This is one of the leading questions I get asked as an embryologist. Rightfully so, patients are concerned that perhaps there could be a ‘mess up’ in the lab where their eggs are mixed with the wrong sperm or the wrong persons embryos could be transferred to them by mistake. We understand how concerning that thought is, and do not take any part of our job in the lab lightly. We understand that we are creating families and have many procedures and policies in place so as to eliminate any chance of error.
Every patient has their own color coded labeling. This is colored tape that is used to identify their incubator, is on all paperwork, and is placed onto the male partner’s specimen cup. No two patients have the same color combinations. This color is matched and double checked against the patient’s paperwork every time a patient’s sperm, eggs, or embryos are being evaluated.
All tissue-culture plastic ware used for gamete processing, collection, and/or culture must be clearly marked with the patients name, date, and media type. This is checked against the color code of the incubator, name on incubator, day of procedure. The accompanying paperwork is then signed off by the scientist. This occurs every time the embryos are evaluated or moved.
In addition to the above procedures, our laboratory has strict protocols in place so that only one patient’s eggs/embryos are being evaluated at any one given time. All disposable pipettes, manipulation tools, and all else that comes into contact with a patients biological material is used on one use/one patient basis.
We have a ‘chain of custody’ procedure in place to insure we are handling your genetic material in a responsible, safe, and secure manner. It is a step-by-step process that allows for identification of each and every person that handles the sperm, eggs, and/or embryos during every step of the IVF process, as well as a record of the time received and time processed.
Patient identity is verified before every procedure, both by a member of the medical staff and the scientist. Not only do we have the patient verbally state their name, that identification is cross-checked with our paperwork; verifying patient name, date of birth, and color code. For the embryo transfer, the lid of the dish containing the embryos is again checked by the nurse just prior to the procedure, virtually eliminating any chance of human error.
At InVia Fertility Specialists, we strive to maintain the highest integrity and quality when it comes to a patient’s treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, we are always happy to address them and help to put your mind at ease. Feel free to contact us, or leave a comment for us below (You can remain anonymous).
Liza has been an embryologist at InVia Fertility Specialists since 2002. She completed her studies, first in animal science at Southern Illinois University, followed by clinical embryology/reproductive genetics at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Her interests include reproductive genetics, fertility preservation, and mitochondrial function in the human oocyte. She loves being a part of helping others achieve and experience the joy of becoming a parent. Seeing the end result .your baby.makes all the hours in the lab worth it!