Rules for certification of ESHRE clinical embryologists

Last update: 5 October 2020

1. The application

1.1 ESHRE embryology certification is available to ESHRE members only. A total maximum of 600 applicants can be accepted to sit the exam. In particular, this entails a maximum of 300 existing applicants from the cancelled 2020 exam and a maximum of 300 new applicants.

1.2 The next online applications for the 2021 exam will be available from 2 October until 2 December 2020, or until the maximum capacity is reached. Your electronic application form must be submitted by 2 December 2020 (23:59 CET) at the latest. If the maximum number of applications is reached before the deadline, complete applications will be added to the waiting list. In January and February all submitted applications, for which the exam fee has been received, will be reviewed by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee. Declined or cancelled applications will be replaced by applications from the waiting list until 31 March 2021. By the end of March, all applicants will be informed whether their application to sit the exam has been accepted.

1.3 All applicants must guarantee that they truly fulfil the required criteria for the “Clinical” or “Senior Clinical” Embryologist certification as stated below:

Clinical Embryologist 

Senior Clinical Embryologist 

 be an ESHRE member, click here for more
information on ESHRE membership

be an ESHRE member, click here for more
information on ESHRE membership 

 hold a BSc in Natural/Life Sciences

 hold a MSc or PhD in Natural/Life Sciences
have at least three years' hands-on experience with human gametes and embryos in a clinical Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) lab 
(at the time of the application deadline)

 have at least six years' hands-on experience with human gametes and embryos in a clinical MAR lab (at the time of the application deadline)
submit a valid logbook
(please see rule #3.10 
logbook requirements) showing the required hands-on experience

 submit a valid logbook
(please see rule #3.10 logbook requirements) showing the required hands-on experience

 Pay a non-refundable application fee of 100 Euro (excl. VAT)

Pay a non-refundable application fee of 100 Euro (excl. VAT) 

Please note that in order to be accepted for the exam, ALL requirements need to be fulfilled.

2. University degrees 

2.1 The Embryology Certification Steering Committee requires an independent recognition of university degrees. Therefore, all applicants will need to have their highest university degree validated by EP-NUFFIC (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education, When making credential evaluations, EP-NUFFIC uses the criteria and procedures considered as 'good practice' by the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
Only validated degrees will be allowed for the exam. The validation process will be coordinated by ESHRE.
The EP-NUFFIC validation report will become available in the applicant’s personal account.
Note: Some Masters courses do not fit the criteria of official national university degree, therefore not all Masters courses will be validated as such by EP-NUFFIC. For example, a Spanish so-called “título propio”, although possibly accepted by employers to represent a certain level of competency, is not recognised as an official Master degree according to Spanish regulations.
Always include your BSc diploma and corresponding transcript in order to avoid extra costs of a second validation procedure.

2.2 All relevant university degrees (BSc, MSc, PhD), including academic transcripts and a CV according to the Europass format (in ENGLISH only, other CV formats will NOT be accepted) must be submitted in the online application form and will be forwarded to EP-NUFFIC for validation. Please check with EP-NUFFIC regarding the need for an official English translation of your diploma before uploading to the ESHRE website.

2.3 Applicants must be able, if requested, to provide ESHRE with originals or verified copies of results of university degrees or any other valid documentation.

2.4 The name stated on your ID/passport should be the same as the one on your diploma. All name changes need to be clarified with official documents.

3. Working experience & logbook 

3.1 Applicants who are no longer working as clinical embryologists can still apply for a certificate, provided they worked for at least 3 or 6 years according to their intended application, and ended their last position no longer than 2 years before the exam date.

3.2 When filling out the application form you also have to show in a logbook that you have performed a minimum number of treatments. This logbook should state how many treatment cycles you have performed (including the start and end dates of performance of each of the 9 procedures listed in the requirements). Each logbook must be verified and signed by the laboratory supervisor in order to guarantee its authenticity. If you have changed clinics, and need to submit data from more than one clinic, then each set of data must be verified and signed by the laboratory supervisors from each clinic. First time applicants must ensure their logbooks are in the provided format (other logbook formats will NOT be accepted). Applicants who have been accepted for this exam before must update their most recent logbook according to the provided format. Previously accepted logbooks can be accepted, provided they still meet the current requirements.

3.3 A minimum of 50 cases/cycles per procedure is required for all of the 9 procedures.

3.4 An experience of three years (clinical) /six years (senior clinical) is required for at least 5 out of 9 procedures.

3.5 The information from filled-in application forms (including CV’s) and logbooks may be verified with the supervisor(s) and/or reference(s) by ESHRE. In this respect, ESHRE shall also be entitled to send the logbook to the supervisor(s) and/or references, notwithstanding the exclusion of any personal data of patients or any confidential information in general.

Furthermore, any information with regard to your working experience, included in the submitted CV and/or logbook, may be verified by ESHRE with any person or clinic mentioned on your CV and/or logbook.

3.6 The current supervisor should preferably be a laboratory professional with the ability to guarantee the correctness of the logbook data, an ESHRE member and an ESHRE certified clinical embryologist.

3.7 A “reference” is a professional in the field of reproductive medicine who knows the applicant and who the Embryology Certification Committee (EmCC) can contact in case there is a problem with the application to verify any declarations. They should preferably be ESHRE members/ESHRE certified clinical embryologists. References must be different from logbook supervisors. The Applicant undertakes to receive a prior written and informed consent from the references and the supervisor(s) regarding the use of their personal data.

3.8 In accordance with the European GDPR-law, both the supervisor(s) and the references will be notified by ESHRE that their names are mentioned in your logbook and application forms. If your supervisor or reference does not support your application, it may be rejected.

3.9 If the submitted information turns out to be incorrect or false, the application will be considered null and void and will be considered as fraud and thus rejected. You will no longer be allowed to take the exam, to be evaluated, and/or every certificate/ accreditation issued by ESHRE to you will irrevocably be withdrawn. The relevant Certification Steering Committee will have the authority to impose at its own discretion adequate sanctions on you in case of fraud.

3.10 Logbook requirements
For each clinic, a separate logbook needs to be filled in the online platform, printed from the platform and signed by the respective laboratory supervisor.

Minimum number of cases for application as Clinical Embryologist or Senior Clinical Embryologist: 


 1) Oocyte pick up   50  
 2) Semen analysis  50 
 3) Semen preparation  50 
 4) IVF insemination  50 
 5) ICSI  50 
 6) Zygote and embryo evaluation  50 
 7) Embryo transfers  50 
 8) Cryopreservation of oocytes/embryos  50 
 9) Thawing/warming of oocytes/embryos  50 

Please note that ALL 9 procedures need to be included in your logbook.

The start date of each procedure should be the date the candidate started performing the procedure in clinical practice at that clinic, NOT the date of starting the working contract.

If you are still active in the laboratory until December of the application year, you can state "still ongoing" in the "stop date".

Example of how to fill in the logbook(s):

Clinic: (name) …

Type of Procedure

Start date

Stop date

Total number of clinical cycles performed by yourself since the start of your employment in this clinic

Total number of clinical cycles performed in the clinic (by yourself and others) in 2020 only

Oocyte pick up

August 2014

Still ongoing



Semen analysis

June 2010

September 2018



Semen preparation

June 2010

Still ongoing



IVF insemination

June 2014

Still ongoing




August 2015

Still ongoing



Zygote and embryo evaluation

June 2015

Still ongoing



Embryo transfers

June 2014

Still ongoing



Cryopreservation of oocytes / embryos

February 2014

Still ongoing



Thawing / warming of oocytes / embryos

May 2014

Still ongoing



Name and signature supervisor



Name and signature applicant



4. The exam 

4.1 The exam will be in English.

4.2 During the exam, the participant must behave according to currently stated rules (including rules of silence, no communication with other participants, etc). If fraud/inappropriate behaviour is detected during the exam, the participant will be forced to terminate the exam and leave the (virtual) exam room. In such cases the exam will be considered invalid. In case the infraction is discovered afterwards, the certificate can be revoked. All detected cases of fraud/inappropriate behaviour discovered during or after the exam will result in exclusion from future ESHRE activities.

4.3 Participants will have to accept the "online home exam policy" before starting the exam.

Online home exam policy:

1 General provisions
As technology from Orzone is used to deliver the exam, Orzone shall process your personal data as a processor to ESHRE. You have GDPR-related rights that you should be aware of (such as but not limited to acces to and deletion of your personal data). The full privacy policy of ESHRE can be found here I accept the processing of my personal data by Orzone in accordance with ESHRE’s privacy policy in the supplied link and as set out in the articles below.

2 Enhanced security during home exams
There are benefits of sitting the exam in your home country, without the need for travel to an exam site. However, this also increases the need for additional security measures to replace on-site invigilation.
During the online exam you will be monitored by human observers (invigilators) using video supervision. In addition, AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology will be used to assist invigilators to detect any suspicious patterns. The AI technology will monitor your interaction with the exam software, patterns, but also make periodic recordings. These recordings will be analysed to detect that it is you, that only you are sitting by the computer, and for other patterns.
Finally, the data will be stored and analysed after the session.
I accept the enhanced security.

3 Monitoring
Data will be sampled and stored, before and during the exam. This data includes all your interactions with software (mouse, keyboard, data traffic etc), periodic images/videos from the camera on your computer/device and live video streams. This data will be processed by algorithms including AI (Artificial Intelligence) to detect patterns. These data models will detect patterns in your exam response patterns, body language, facial features and presence by unauthorized persons (not you). You will also be monitored by one or more invigilators. This data gathering is intrusive but serves the purpose of creating a safe environment for sitting the exam.
I accept to be monitored during the exam.

4 Recording and analysis of data
Data used for monitoring your exam, including your interactions with software (mouse, keyboard, data traffic etc), periodic images/videos from the camera on your computer/device and live video streams etc, will also be recorded. This recorded data will be merged with other data sources to analyse your exam performance and detect any suspicious patterns. This analysis will be performed during the exam, but also more extensively after the exam. The data will be kept in full for a minimum of 60 days. After 60 days video recordings will be deleted, but the exam data and periodic images from your exam will be kept for a maximum of two (2) years for reason of proof.
I accepted that the data is recorded and analysed.

5 Cheating
Cheating means using improper means to complete the exam. This can involve using technology devices, books/paper notes, assistance from other persons or other methods that improve the results beyond your own un-assisted knowledge.
Instances of cheating will be reported to the proper authorities in the country/countries where you are working and also to your employer. Instances of cheating will result in exclusion from ESHRE and this decision will be published on the ESHRE website.
I am aware that cheating is not allowed, will be reported and will result in my exclusion from ESHRE.

6 Not being able to complete the exam or violating rules
The delivery of the exam depends on technology and that you have prepared accordingly. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have read the instructions carefully and completed any necessary preparations which includes your registration, network, computer, exam software and video device. Please read the instructions from your exam body carefully.
A small percentage of participants may experience problems with software, compatibility, connectivity, video or similar. The exam body may decide that your exam results are inadmissible based on the circumstances. The exam body may also prevent you from sitting the exam if you have not prepared in accordance with instructions.
I understand that I am not able to complete the exam if there are technology problems or if I have not prepared according to instructions.

4.4 The exam results will be released to the participant. A score of at least 66% is required to pass the exam. The resulting outcome is not negotiable.

4.5 Exam questions represent ESHRE's intellectual property. Due to the risk of abuse, participants will not be able to see the exam afterwards or have access to the correct answers.

4.6 Applicants will be allowed only three consecutive attempts at sitting the exam. If an applicant is accepted to sit the exam, but does not attend the exam and has not informed ESHRE about the non-attendance before the exam has started, this will be counted as one of the attempts.

4.7 Participants will not be allowed to switch to another exam level on the day of the exam.

4.8 In exceptional cases, complaints will be evaluated by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee, and if necessary, the ESHRE Executive Committee. The decision of the Executive Committee is final.