Short courses


The Clinical IVF Laboratory

  • 5 hours (approx.)
  • Self paced, 3-month online access


This online course provides an introductory-level understanding of the clinical IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) laboratory.

As well as the basics of the IVF lab, it also covers:

  • the individual protocols and procedures within the lab
  • the requirements that must be considered when working within it
  • information ranging from embryo selection to new technologies in IVF

It will allow better practice and understanding in dealing with patients and IVF cases.

With the increasing demand for answers about our fertility, this course will help you understand:

  • the role of the clinical embryologist
  • what procedures are conducted within the IVF laboratory

Who this course is for

The course is suitable for anyone wanting to learn more about the clinical IVF laboratory, including:

  • clinicians
  • healthcare professionals, e.g. nurses, scientists, clinical embryologists and geneticists

The resources can be used to train new staff working in an IVF or PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) clinic, or anyone wanting to learn more about this exciting field.


A background in life sciences is very beneficial but not essential.

Course content

The course is made up of the following sections:

  • Introduction to the course (Helen O'Neill)
  • Introduction to the IVF laboratory (Kalliopi Loutradi)
  • Clinical andrology and sperm preparation (Susannah Sargent)
  • From egg collection to embryo transfer (Rabi Odia)
  • ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) (Carleen Heath)
  • Embryo selection (Joyce Harper)
  • Egg and embryo freezing (Alpesh Doshi)
  • New technologies in IVF (Joyce Harper)

The content includes a series of videoed IVF laboratory demonstrations that outline the practical elements of:

  • semen preparation
  • ICSI
  • vitrification and warming
  • embryo transfer

Teaching and certificates

The course consists of seven pre-recorded lectures as well as pre-recorded laboratory procedures.

There will also be a live tutorial and a problem-solving session.

You'll receive a certificate of attendance on completion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have:

  • increased your knowledge of the clinical IVF laboratory
  • become aware of methods of analysis 
  • learned about clinical methodologies

Course team

Professor Joyce Harper

Professor Joyce Harper

Joyce is Professor in Human Genetics and Embryology at UCL's Institute for Women’s Health and is the Institute for Women's Health Director of Education and Faculty Graduate Tutor. She heads the Embryology, IVF and Reproductive Genetics research group at UCL where she's researching factors affecting fertility and women’s health. She is Director of two Master's programmes: Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Science and Women’s Health.

Joyce has published over 130 scientific papers, written two textbooks and is invited to talk at many conferences around the world. She's had numerous roles in the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) including being on the executive and on various working groups including culture media, e-learning and Preimplantation Genetic Screening and was chair of the special interest group in Reproductive Genetics. She has several roles in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, including being a member of the Science and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee and chairing the Horizon Scanning Panel.

Joyce set up the Embryology and PGD Academy in 2014 with Alpesh Doshi through which she trains people in IVF and PGD techniques. She’s a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and the Higher Education Academy and an internationally renowned scientist and academic in the field of fertility and reproductive genetics.

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr Helen O'Neill

Helen is a postdoctoral, senior research and teaching fellow in the Embryology, IVF and Reproductive Genetics Group at the Institute for Women’s Health, UCL. She's currently working on embryo morphokinetics during development as well as the effect of vitrification on embryos. Helen did her BSc in Molecular Genetics at University College Cork in Ireland. She went on to do her MSc in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine at University College London. She did her PhD and postdoctoral research at University College London in stem cell biology and developmental genetics in the laboratory of Professor Robin Lovell-Badge at the National Institute for Medical Research. Here she researched the genes involved in sex determination.

Dr Alpesh Doshi

Dr Alpesh Doshi

Having completed his postgraduate studies in Human Reproductive Biology at Imperial College in 1997, Alpesh trained in clinical embryology at the Churchill Clinic in London. He joined the Centre of Reproductive and Genetic Health (formerly the Assisted Conception Unit at UCLH) in 1999 - a clinic that's consistently achieved one of the highest live birth rates in the UK. Alpesh is currently the Head of Embryology and also an honorary consultant at the UCLH NHS trust. He's an HFEA-licenced ICSI and Embryo Biopsy practitioner. In 2004 he became recognised by the Health professions Council as a state-registered clinical embryologist and in 2008 he was in the first group to qualify with ESHRE as a European Senior Clinical Embryologist. In 2009 Alpesh was accepted for Diplomate Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists. In addition he's an executive committee member of Alpha – Scientists in Reproductive Medicine and the Association of Clinical Embryologists (UK). He's authored several papers in peer review journals and has contributed book chapters in five international embryology publications edited by renowned scientists in the field. Alpesh has been an invited speaker at several international and national workshops and conferences and has organised embryo biopsy hands-on workshops in India, Turkey and Africa.

Kalliopi Loutradi

Kalliopi Loutradi

Kalliopi is Deputy Head of Embryology at the Centre for Reproductive & Genetic Health (CRGH) London. She's been working as a clinical embryologist since 2001. She holds the ACE Certificate in Clinical Embryology, is a UK State Registered Senior Clinical Embryologist, an HFEA licensed ICSI practitioner and an ESHRE certified European Senior embryologist. She completed her training as a clinical embryologist in Leeds, before moving to Greece were she was responsible for the set up and management of a university hospital IVF laboratory. Kalliopi is a reviewer in many scientific journals and the main author of several research papers, many of which have been presented in national and international conferences and been published in peer reviewed journals.

Carleen Heath

Carleen Heath

Carleen is Senior Clinical Embryologist at the Centre for Reproductive & Genetic Health (CRGH), London.

Rabi Odia

Rabi Odia

Rabi is a Clinical Embryologist at the Centre for Reproductive & Genetic Health (CRGH), London.

Susannah Sargeant

Susannah Sargeant

Susannah is Senior Clinical Embryologist at the Centre for Reproductive & Genetic Health (CRGH), London.

Matthew Gaunt

Matthew Gaunt

Matthew is Senior Clinical Embryologist at the Centre for Reproductive & Genetic Health (CRGH), London.

Course information last modified: 2 Oct 2020, 16:29