Causes & Treatment

The Meaning of an Embryologist and Why Embryology is Important for IVF Success

Eloise Edington  |   2 Apr 2021


At Fertility Help Hub, we get many readers wanting to understand the meaning of an embryologist and why embryology is such an important part of the IVF process and for IVF success. So, today, we hear from trusted fertility clinic, Laurel Fertility Care (LFC), who have a supportive and highly experienced team of fertility specialists and embryologists.

As the decision to start a family is life-changing, full of anticipation and dreams, this premier boutique clinic in the San Francisco Bay area is dedicated to helping your family grow and will offer a personalized care approach.

Right, let’s find out the meaning of an embryologist and why embryology is so crucial for IVF.

Words by Laurel Fertility Care | @laurelfertilitycare

The meaning of an Embryologist and what they do

A key member of a patient’s clinical team is the embryologist. They play a crucial role in ensuring that you experience the most successful IVF outcome possible, when undergoing fertility treatment. Embryologists are not MDs, but they are highly trained medical professionals and fertility specialists, usually holding a Master’s degree for the specialized nature of their work. They care for gametes (sperm and eggs) and embryos in vitro (in the IVF laboratory).

Key responsibilities of an embryologist include:

  • Managing the lab environment

  • Analyzing a patient’s fertility

  • Freezing eggs and/or embryos

  • Embryo creation and biopsy

  • FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)

  • Micromanipulation (this includes ICSI, laser assisted embryo hatching and embryo biopsy

Related Article – Embryo Grading: What is it and Why is it Important for the IVF Process?



Once the eggs are collected and the sperm is processed, the embryologist gets to work. They will combine the sperm and eggs to hopefully create several embryos. They will then carefully monitor the development of those embryos. The embryologist will use Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – a more intensive IVF process that involves injecting a single healthy sperm cell into each mature egg – to increase the chances of fertilization.

The embryologist will biopsy the embryo by removing five to ten cells during the development phase and genetically test to determine if the embryos are viable.

Male Infertility and Andrology

The andrologist within a fertility clinic works to analyze sperm samples, to identify whether male factor infertility is present. If male factor infertility is diagnosed and an IVF cycle is subsequently performed, then ICSI is used (a key part of the embryologist’s role), as they select the sperm to be injected into the oocyte (egg), to produce the best results and maximise IVF success. The embryologists at LFC regularly attend and present at IVF conferences and stay up to date with the latest IVF laboratory technology.

IVF success hinges on a successful collaboration b
etween fertility specialists, a fertility clinic’s nurses, and of course the embryologists. You may not spend much face-to-face time with your embryologist team but know that they are working hard in the lab to ensure the healthy development of your embryos and are instrumental in the success.

We hope this has explained the meaning of an embryologist and helped you understand their key role. LFC fertility clinic are always happy to answer any questions and help you on your way to building a family.

Related Article – Endometriosis and Infertility – Symptoms, Stages and Treatments by Laurel Fertility Care

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