Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 3, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester (extended) 2011 (Day)
Clayton First semester (extended) 2011 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Sally Catt and Dr Mulyoto Pangestu


This unit provides students with the skills and opportunity to design and optimise embryo culture systems to ensure the best pregnancy outcomes for couples undertaking infertility treatment. This is achieved through a detailed understanding of critical cellular processes, with an aim to maximize normal embryo growth potential while minimizing stress. Students will learn the methods needed to accurately evaluate embryo quality and develop the ability to micro-manage IVF processes. This theoretical knowledge is enhanced by practical training in mouse and ovine in vitro production (IVP) assessing embryo development in vitro using fresh and fixed and stained embryos. Approaches to toxicity testing will be discussed and demonstrated in the laboratory. This unit enables students to develop embryo handling skills, perform small trials, collate, analyse and report data.


On completion of this unit students will:

  1. Understand and be able to explain how to control and optimise the environment of gametes/embryos in the laboratory.
  2. Have a broad theoretical knowledge about the components of culture systems competently demonstrate skills in preparing media suites for in vitro culture of embryos
  3. Show competence in handling mouse oocytes and embryos and be able to perform mouse IVF using epididymal sperm
  4. Develop practical skills in the techniques of oocyte maturation, sperm preparation by gradient and swim up, and insemination and IVF using frozen thawed ejaculated sperm using ovine gametes
  5. Understand the various quality control tests that are used routinely in an IVF laboratory, such as mouse bioassays, sperm survival tests, etc
  6. Identify and interpret scoring systems for the selection of good from bad quality embryos from the 2-cell stage through to hatching blastocysts
  7. Be able to classify maturation and fertilization status of oocytes and early stage embryos and identify cell numbers in fixed and stained embryos
  8. Be able to analyse and report data from lab books (on-campus) or clinical data (off-campus) in abstract form


Written examination (2 hours)(30%)
Preparation and presentation of poster from given or collected clinical data (20%)
Practical assessment: hands on skills (on-campus only) and writing up research data in abstract form, using appropriate statistical analysis (50%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Sally Catt

Contact hours

24h contact per week (lectures, tutorials, forums, self-directed study, practical skills
training (on-campus)