Page URL:

Tracker to prevent IVF embryo 'mix-ups' shortlisted for prize

13 September 2010
Appeared in BioNews 575

A new technology used by Hull IVF unit to prevent clinical mix-ups when sperm and eggs are combined in the laboratory is to be rolled-out for use across the UK, and has been nominated for an award. The system, which activates audio and visual alarms if the wrong sample is used, will reduce the risk of mismatches happening.

Clinicians in Hull began using the design after several high profile cases where a man's sperm sample was mixed with the wrong egg during IVF procedures. The innovation also involves a tracking process to make sure that once an embryo is created from the right people's gametes, it is then transferred to the correct woman.

A spokesperson for the unit said that while IVF mix-ups were uncommon, there had been four 'highly publicised serious adverse events' in the UK. Two of these involved the misidentification of sperm samples, resulting in the live birth of twins. Consequently, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) introduced rules requiring that the movement of sperm, eggs and embryos be monitored to prevent further incidents.

A spokesperson from the Hull unit said that in the UK 37,000 women have fertility treatments in the UK every year and that 'the system provides invaluable reassurance for patients, nurses and embryologists alike.'

The unit, which is based at the Hull Royal Infirmary, has also been nominated for an award in the Best Use of Technology category at the Independent Health Care Awards, with the winners to be announced on 14 September.

Finalist for The 2010 Independent Healthcare Awards
Independent Healthcare Awards |  13 September 2010
Hull IVF unit innovation is to be rolled out across UK
BBC News |  6 September 2010
12 January 2015 - by Chee Hoe Low 
A baby has been born with a genetic condition after a laboratory used by a Nottingham fertility clinic reportedly made a mistake interpreting PGD results...
8 May 2012 - by George Frodsham 
An alleged 'mix-up' at a UK fertility clinic has resulted in a gay couple having two children with different racial backgrounds, reports the Sunday Times...
25 July 2011 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
A fertility clinic in Hong Kong has admitted to implanting two embryos into the wrong woman earlier this month. The embryos, belonging to another patient at the clinic, were removed and discarded by the clinic upon discovery of the mistake. The women affected are said to have received counseling and compensation from the clinic....
8 November 2010 - by Nisha Satkunarajah 
A private medical centre in Singapore is under investigation after a mix-up during IVF treatment resulted in the birth of a child conceived with the wrong sperm....
8 November 2010 - by Matthew Smart 
The Lasker Foundation has awarded UK scientist, Professor David Weatherall from Oxford University its prestigious Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science...
26 July 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
A black Nigerian couple have given birth to a white baby. With blonde curly hair and blue eyes, the girl's appearance has prompted several theories as to its genetic cause...
4 May 2010 - by Seil Collins 
The number of reported mistakes at IVF centres in England and Wales has doubled over one year, rising from 182 in 2007/08 to 334 in 2008/09. Incidents range from technical failures to serious mix-ups. Cases where embryos have been lost, implanted into the wrong patient, or fertilised with the wrong sperm have all been reported....
14 December 2009 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The UK's fertility industry regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), is poised to report back this week on embryo mix-ups at Guys and St Thomas' Hospital in London. According to The Sun and Independent newspapers, a HFEA licence committee was due to meet today to review the findings of an investigation into what went wrong at the hospital and how to prevent a repeat incident. The hospital came under scrutiny after the embryos of three women were destr...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.