Reproductive scientists assist in the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of people who are infertile and cannot achieve a pregnancy.
What type of work?
Reproductive scientists work within fertility clinics, and are responsible for the procurement, safe handling and culture of gametes and embryos. This involves collecting eggs and sperm, helping fertilisation to occur, assessing embryo morphology, transferring the best embryo to the womb, and freezing of gametes and embryos. A reproductive scientist performs highly skilled micromanipulation procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and embryo biopsy for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). PGD allow cells to be analysed to ensure an embryo is free of genetic disease prior to implantation.
What skills are needed?
Reproductive scientists are privileged in that they help create human embryos and safeguard these precious cells during the first few days of development. They need to be able to exhibit high dexterity levels in order to carry out precise practical skills. Record keeping must be exceptional in order to ensure full traceability for gametes and cells in their care. Since they work as part of interdisciplinary medical teams, reproductive scientists also need good interpersonal and written communication skills. Furthermore, given that infertility can be stressful, they must be able to explain results clearly to patients and exhibit high levels of understanding and empathy.
Did you know?
Infertility affects one in six couples, and over 5 million babies worldwide have now been born following IVF treatment.