Embryos to be electronically tagged

New system designed to reduce risk of IVF mix-ups

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Liverpool Women’s Hospital is introducing an electronic tagging system for embryos, sperm and eggs, to reduce the risk of IVF mix-ups, reports the BBC.

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When embryos, eggs or sperm are looked at under a microscope, the tagging system will know which patient they belong to.

So how does the system work? Radio frequency tags are attached to the dishes or tubes that samples are stored in, allowing samples to be tracked. Patients get an ID card that’s tagged, too. If samples from different patients are put into the same work area in the lab, alarms sound.

“In the past we did this manually, which was effective, but this new system will make it even more efficient and avoid any potential problems that have occurred in other hospitals,” aid Dr Steve Troup, scientific director of the hospital’s Hewitt Centre for Reproductive Medicine.

“The electronic witnessing system offers patients increased confidence that their samples are safe and will not be mixed up at all times during treatment.”

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Liverpool Women’s Hospital aims to be the largest IVF centre in Europe, and the new system is part of the hospital’s £5.5million expansion.

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