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MCE1112 - Embryo culture and cryopreservation

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr Sally Catt & Dr Jill Shaw


Clayton First semester (extended) 2007 (Day)


Examines the importance of the IVF laboratory and various in vitro culture systems used to generate viable human embryos to ensure optimal pregnancy outcomes for infertile couples undertaking assisted reproduction technologies (ART). Emphasis is on the setting up and equipping of a modern ART laboratory, the culture media and the various culture systems used to generate viable human embryos and requirements for strict quality control and quality assurance systems ensuring optimal and repeatable outcomes.
Students' will gain sound theoretical knowledge and understanding of the cryopreservation techniques used in a clinical human IVF program to maximise the outcomes from each ART cycle.


On completion of this unit students will:

  1. appreciate the importance of asepsis and quality control when setting up an IVF laboratory;
  2. be familiar with the guidelines recommended for setting up a quality IVF laboratory that produces increased pregnancy rates;
  3. have a knowledge of the various quality control tests that are used routinely in an IVF laboratory, such as mouse bioassays, sperm survival tests, etc.;
  4. possess a sound theoretical knowledge about the preparation of simple and complex media for in vitro culture and co-culture systems;
  5. have gained an understanding about the scoring and selection of good from bad quality embryos from the 2-cell stage of embryogenesis through to hatching blastocysts, based on morphological and metabolic characteristics;
  6. possess a sound theoretical knowledge and understanding of the techniques of gamete and embryo cryopreservation as used in a clinical human in vitro fertilisation program;
  7. have the skills to critically analyse research papers in cryopreservation related to human reproduction;
  8. have the ability to communicate this knowledge.


Written examination (2 hours): 50%
Presentation of journal review: 20%
Essay (2500 words): 30%

Contact hours

6 weeks (first 5 weeks - two 1-hour lectures, 1-hour tutorial, 1.5-hour seminar, 1.5-hour journal review), 2-hour revision tutorial in week 6