Bengaluru, August 24th, 2022: As the burden of infertility continues to increase in the country, the lack of skilled embryologists remains a glaring problem. To address this issue, Nova IVF Fertility- one of India’s leading providers of fertility services with 54 IVF centres across 34 cities has launched a national training academy for embryologists to hone their academic and practical skills.
Nova Academy of Clinical Embryology training (NACET) will train students in all practical aspects required in an IVF Laboratory including andrology, embryology, and cryopreservation. With an aim to provide hands-on training to future embryologists, the academic centre is equipped with state-of-the art laboratory and the latest technologies imperative for IVF treatments.
Speaking about the academy Mr Shobhit Agarwal, CEO, Nova IVF Fertility said “Embryologists are the backbone of every IVF Lab. Their skill and efficiency are critical for higher success rates in Assisted Reproduction treatments. Nova Academy of Clinical Embryology training (NACET) has been anchored with international guidelines in embryology which have been embedded in Nova IVF through its earlier global partnerships. The embryologists will be trained in the lab equipped with latest technologies & SOPs of international standards, which will help them enhance their skills. The professionals graduating from the NACET will have enhanced skills in the field of embryology given Nova IVF’s vast experience of more than a decade in providing IVF treatment to couples both in urban and tier 2 cities across the country”
Infertility has been steadily on the rise in India. According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), India’s total fertility rate has declined from 2.2 (average births per woman) in 2015-2016 to 2.0 in 2019-2021. There are around 27.5 million married couples who are dealing with fertility issues (Ernst and Young study from 2015- latest available report). However, the number of embryologists is extremely low, increasing the burden on existing professionals.
Expressing the need for skilled embryologists Dr Sujatha Ramakrishnan, Head of Embryology at Nova IVF Fertility said “India currently has approximately 2,000 embryology labs, which is perhaps the largest in the world. With increasing infertility, every year around 2.5 lakh IVF cycles take place, however the total number of embryologists in India is not more than 1,300. Out of which about 26% are qualified (MSC Clinical Embryologists) and 20% are holding certifications and a vast majority of the remaining 54% have not received adequate training to qualify as embryologists. This data clearly shows the shortage of skilled embryologists in the country, which can be a worrying factor when catering to the ever-increasing need of couples battling infertility across the country. In fact, The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021 passed by the parliament has also highlighted the importance of training for embryologists, said Dr Sujatha
At NACET, students with a minimum qualification of MSc. in embryology are selected as trainees and will be given intense hands-on training for a period of six months. Post this they will be duly assessed and evaluated, only then they will begin their laboratory duties at one of the Nova IVF Fertility Labs. Existing embryologists will also be given short term crash courses on different techniques to hone or brush up their abilities.
Dr. Aviva Pinto Rodrigues, Consultant IVF Specialist, Nova IVF, Bangalore emphasised on how couples taking up fertility treatment can benefit from a skilled embryologist saying, “An embryology lab mimics the womb of a woman. It is the embryologists who safeguard the egg and the sperm and fertilise them in the environment of a high technology IVF Lab which results in a pregnancy. Therefore, the embryology professionals must be skilled and need to handle the embryos with utmost care. Experienced fertility consultants combined with skilled embryologists can give millions of couples a chance at parenthood through quality fertility treatments. Our goal here is holistic development of embryologists, focusing not just on their technical skills, but also soft skills like communication and empathy, which are crucial qualities needed when it comes to dealing with patients with fertility issues”
The Nova Academy of Clinical Embryology training (NACET) is equipped to graduate 25 students and has already onboarded a current batch of 15 trainee embryologists. Currently only candidates with MSc in embryology are being accepted in the academy.