Rules for certification of ESHRE clinical embryologists

Last update: 30 April 2020

1. The application

1.1 ESHRE embryology certification is available to ESHRE members only. A maximum of 300 applicants can be accepted to sit the exam.

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, finished 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 when applying 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

 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

 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 via EP-NUFFIC (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education, When making credential evaluations, EP-NUFFIC uses the criteria and procedures to be considered as 'good practice' in the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
Only validated degrees will be allowed for the exam. The validation process will be coordinated via ESHRE.
The EP-NUFFIC validation report will become available in the applicant’s personal account.
Note: Some Masters courses don’t fit the criteria of official national university degree, therefore not all Masters courses will be validated 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 Masters degree according to Spanish regulations.
Always include the preceding 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 in English and according to the Europass format (other formats will NOT be accepted) need to 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 official 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 nine methods listed in the requirements). Logbooks must be verified and signed by the laboratory supervisor in order to guarantee its authenticity. If you have changed clinic, and wish to submit data from more than one clinic, then each set of data must be verified and signed by the laboratory supervisor from each clinic. First time applicants must ensure their logbooks are in the provided format (other formats will NOT be accepted). Applicants who have applied for this exam before must update their most recent logbook according to the provided format, older logbooks can be resubmitted.

3.3 A minimum of 50 cases 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 and logbooks may be verified with the supervisor(s) and/or reference(s).

3.6 The current supervisor should preferably be 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 should be different from logbook supervisors. Applicants are expected to contact their references to inform them that their names are being mentioned in the application.

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

3.9 Submission of incorrect information will lead to rejection of the application, exclusion from ESHRE and make any previous certification issued by ESHRE void.

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

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

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

Clinic: …

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 2019 only

Oocyte pick up

June 2014

Still ongoing



Semen analysis

June 2010

Still ongoing



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



Signature applicant


* if you are still active at the laboratory until December of the application year, you can state "still ongoing" in the "stop date"


4. The exam 

4.1 The exam will be in English.

4.2 During the exam, the participant must behave according to current 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 return the exam and leave the 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 during or discovered after the exam will result in exclusion from future ESHRE activities.

4.3 Participants must sign in when entering and sign out when leaving the room. Any paper or device handed out during the exam must be handed in before leaving the room.

4.4 The exam will be submitted to and marked by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee. The 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 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.