Average day in the middle of a treatment week – Rebecca Matthews
From the crack of dawn we are up in the lab, turning on all of the equipment and getting ready for the busy day ahead of us (usually centred on making a strong coffee). Once the lab is cleaned, the eggs which were inseminated the day before are checked for signs of normal fertilisation.
Embryos from earlier in the treatment week are also checked for their development stage and quality. All of our patients from the previous day and earlier in the week are called with updates on their embryos and what the plan is regarding whether we culture the embryos on further, or whether we bring the patients in for their embryo transfer.
It is around this time when our first patient of the day is brought into theatre for their egg collection, my personal favourite job. One member of the embryology team will be in charge of the day’s worth of patients. If any frozen embryos needed to be thawed, this would also occur around this time.
Whilst the female partner is undergoing her egg collection, the semen from the male partner is being cleaned and prepped ready for use later on in the day by a separate embryologist.
The rest of the morning is normally filled with patient’s egg collections and sperm preparations. If any of the patient’s treatment plans need to be changed or decided upon, a member of the team will discuss this with the patients.
Prior to lunch, all of the embryo transfers are performed. This is usually a very exciting and happy time for our patients as well as for the staff.
After lunch and a lot more coffee, all of the mature eggs are fertilised either through IVF (the mixing of sperm and eggs in a dish) or ICSI (injection of one sperm into an egg). Once all of the mature eggs from all the patients are fertilised, they are put away into incubators until the next morning.
The next day’s cases need to be prepared and set up for and all of the paperwork from the day needs to be completed (to which there is many)! After all of our work is completed, the lab is cleaned and shut down for the day until the next morning.
I love my job and working in the embryology team is a great and rewarding job! The very best part of the job is seeing (and cuddling) the babies 9 months later. Being able to change someone’s life for the better is a fulfilling and a wonderful opportunity – definitely worth the mountains of paperwork!