Novel Approach to Developing Technician Benchmarks in the Contemporary Embryology Laboratory

Presented at: ASRM Scientific Congress, 2021

Authors: Tricia Adams, Chelsey Leisinger, Matthew (Tex) VerMilyea

Materials and Methods:

A retrospective analysis was conducted to evaluate mean procedure time of four embryologists in one location, each with varying levels of experience (> 10 years, 5-10 years, and < 5 years). A total of 284 procedures were analyzed for mean procedure time (minutes per oocyte/embryo) and evaluated by level of experience. Elapsed time to procedure completion was obtained by an electronic witnessing system (Matcher, IMT International). Mean time in minutes per oocyte or embryo was analyzed for the following procedures: oocyte denudation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), embryo biopsy, vitrification of biopsied and non-biopsied embryos. Data were analyzed with ANOVA, and significance was set at p < 0.05.


All experience levels yielded a difference in the following procedures: ICSI, embryo biopsy and oocyte denudation. Embryo vitrification of biopsied embryos noted a significant difference > 10 years vs. 5-10 and < 5. Non-biopsied embryo vitrification displayed the same statistical difference according to varying levels of experience > 10 years vs. 5-10 and < 5.


The determination of mean time to perform contemporary IVF laboratory procedures can be used to establish benchmarks. These benchmarks can then serve as external standards for unbiased technician comparison to improve performance and efficiency. Objective benchmarks can be utilized to set achievement standards and provide unbiased data for employee evaluations. Metrics can be used for promotion or recognition and become incorporated into annual competencies.


The objective measures of performance can lead to improved system efficiency, cost reduction, ease of incorporation of new procedures or services, realistic expectations of new hire training, and defining of reasonable targets for growth.


  1. Boone WR, Higdon HL. Defining typical work environment for assisted reproductive technology laboratories in the United States. Fertil Steril 2005; 84:618-26.

Mean time in minutes per oocyte or embryo to complete laboratory procedures with varying years of experience (a, b, c within rows denotes p < 0.05)

Procedure Mean time (min)  > 10 years 5-10 years < 5 years
Oocyte denudation 0.48 ± 0.25 0.39 ± 0.16a 0.52 ± 0.26b 0.58 ± 0.34c
ICSI 1.84 ± 0.95 0.97± 0.29a 1.81 ± 0.80b 2.78± 0.99c
Embryo biopsy 3.57 ± 2.20 2.50± 1.05a 4.05± 1.42b 5.83± 4.08c
Vitrification biopsied embryo 6.31 ± 1.77 5.48 ± 0.68a 6.98 ± 2.38b 7.12± 1.02b
Vitrification non-biopsied embryo 3.96 ± 1.51 2.75± 0.48a 4.48± 1.38b 7.00 ± 7.00b