Rules and requirements for ESHRE® embryology certification

Last update: 24 August 2023

Please read these rules & requirements in conjunction with ESHRE®’s Online Home Exam Policy (consult here) and the General Terms and Conditions for Accreditation and Certification (consult here)

1. The application

1.1 ESHRE embryology certification is available to ESHRE members only. A total maximum of 420 applicants can be accepted to sit the exam.

1.2 The next online applications for the 2024 exam will be available from 4 September until 4 December 2023, or until the maximum capacity is reached. Your fully completed electronic application form must be submitted via the application platform by 4 December 2023 (11:59 am CET, noon) at the latest. If the maximum number of applications is reached before the deadline, fully completed electronic applications will be added to the waiting list. In January and February all fully completed and submitted applications, for which the exam fee has been received, will be reviewed by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee. As soon as your application is accepted, this will be communicated via the application platform only. Declined or cancelled applications will be replaced by applications from the waiting list until 15 March 2024. By 30 April 2024 at the latest, all applicants will be informed whether their application to sit the exam has been accepted or declined.

1.3 All applicants must guarantee that they truly fulfil the required criteria for the basic level or advanced level Embryology certification as stated below:

Basic level

Advanced level

 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 (at least) a BSc in Natural/Life Sciences

 hold (at least) a MSc, MD or PhD in Natural/Life Sciences
have at least three years'* hands-on experience with human gametes and embryos in a 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 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 150 Euro (excl. VAT)

Pay a non-refundable application fee of 150 Euro (excl. VAT) 

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

(*) Equivalent of full-time employment

1.4 All communication regarding the application will be sent via the application platform only. It is the applicants’ responsibility to check their messages on a regular basis in order to meet the given deadline in case additional information/documents are needed. Applications should be completed within the deadline communicated by ESHRE (which can be a maximum of 7 calendar days following the date of the message).

If no feedback is received within the given deadline, the application will be declined and an applicant from the waiting list (first come-first served basis) will be contacted as a replacement.

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 Dutch 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 EP-NUFFIC 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 master’s courses do not fit the criteria of official national university degree, therefore not all master’s 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’s degree according to Spanish regulations.
Always include your BSc diploma and corresponding transcript in order to avoid extra costs of a second validation procedure. Any missing, incomplete or incorrect information/document will cause a delay in the diploma validation process. If the EP-NUFFIC diploma validation is not obtained by 30 April 2024, the application will be declined and the applicant will not be able to take the 2024 online examination.

2.2 All relevant university degrees (BSc, MSc, PhD, MD), including academic transcripts, must be officially** translated in English. They must be submitted in the online application form and will be forwarded to EP-NUFFIC for validation (see 2.1 above), together with an updated CV according to the provided format or Europass format (in ENGLISH only, other CV formats will NOT be accepted).

**official translation = translation by a certified translator, a notary or by the university

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 degree. 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 submit a valid logbook which proves that you have performed a minimum number of treatments. This logbook should state how many treatment cycles you have performed (including the exact start and end dates (month & year) of performance of each of the 9 procedures listed in the requirements). If you have changed clinics, you need more than one logbook. Each logbook must be verified and signed by the respective applicant’s supervisor in order to guarantee its authenticity. Applicants applying for the first time, 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* (basic level) /six years* (advanced level) is required for at least 5 out of 9 procedures.

* Equivalent of full-time employment.

3.5 By applying, you give permission to ESHRE to check or verify the information from the completed electronic application form (including CV’s) and logbooks; therefore the supervisor(s) and/or reference(s) (as specified below) might be contacted by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee (EmCC). 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. You shall bear all responsibility for ensuring the lawfulness of the inclusion of the supervisor(s’) and/or references’ details in the logbook and for the subsequent provision of those details to ESHRE for the purposes described in these rules (cfr. Section 3.7). In addition, you are responsible for informing the supervisor(s) and references of the processing of their personal data.

The logbook shall be submitted in the format and in accordance with the procedure specified by ESHRE. This means (among others) that the applicant shall adhere to the rules of pseudonymization or anonymization (whichever is applicable) when requested by ESHRE.

3.6 The current supervisor must be a senior MAR professional working at the same unit with the ability to guarantee the correctness of the logbook data.

3.7 A “reference” is a professional in the field of reproductive medicine who can vouch for the professional skills of the applicant and who the Embryology Certification Steering Committee (EmCC) can contact in case there is a problem with the application. At least one reference must be an ESHRE member. References must be different from logbook supervisors. The applicant is responsible to receive a prior informed consent (and document said consent) from the references and the supervisor(s) regarding the use of their personal data. When submitting the application and logbook, the applicant shall be asked to formally declare to having received the required informed consent from the references (through a tick-the-box). When ESHRE suspects that such consent was not obtained by the applicant (i.e. its declaration can be considered false), it may request the applicant to submit proof of its compliance with this obligation.

3.8 In accordance with the European GDPR (EU Regulation 2016/679), 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 invalid and will be considered as fraud and thus rejected. You will no longer be allowed to take the ESHRE Embryology exam, and/or previous certificate(s)/CPD issued by ESHRE to you will irrevocably be withdrawn. The Embryology 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. If the most recent logbook meets all requirements (number of procedures and years of experience), there is no need to provide additional (previous) logbooks.

The supervisor(s) of the most recent logbook will also be asked for a digital confirmation of their signature. It’s the applicant’s responsibility to follow up on this confirmation. If no confirmation is received, the application cannot be accepted.

Minimum number of cases required to apply for basic or advanced Embryology examination:


 1) Oocyte pick up   50  
 2) Semen analysis  50 
 3) Semen preparation/cryopreservation  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 applicant started performing the respective 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".

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

Total number of cycles performed in the clinic in 2023 only: Total number of clinical cycles performed in the clinic (by yourself and others) in 2023 only (required for your most recent logbook only)

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

Clinic: (name) …

Type of Procedure

Start date

Stop date

Total number of own clinical cycles in this clinic

Total number of cycles performed in the clinic in 2023 only

Oocyte pick up

August 2016

Still ongoing



Semen analysis

June 2012

September 2018



Semen preparation

June 2012

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 2015

Still ongoing



Date, name and signature supervisor

I confirm this email address is correct and supervisor has given prior written consent to be contacted by ESHRE for verification of the logbook provided.


Date, 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 any other person, 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 exam can be invalidated and the certificate (if already issued) can be revoked. All detected cases of fraud/inappropriate behaviour discovered during or after the exam will result in exclusion from future ESHRE activities. Funds (including, but not limited to, application fees) for the exam are not reimbursed if inappropriate behaviour/fraud is detected.

4.3 Participants will have to accept the "online home exam policy" before starting the exam. Any non-compliance of the applicant with the online home exam policy (for whatsoever reason) can cause the exam to be invalid. Any exam not completed or submitted in accordance with the online home exam policy (for whatsoever reason) can be considered invalid.

4.4 The exam results will be released to the participant through the ESHRE platform. The pass mark is the minimum score that is required for a candidate to pass the exam. For calculation of the pass mark, standardised objective methods will be used. 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 same exam level. 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.
Exams that were invalidated by ESHRE may also count as one of the attempts, unless decided otherwise by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee.

4.7 Participants will not be allowed to switch to another exam level once the online exam software is installed.

4.8 Applicants may notify ESHRE of complaints regarding the exam results (including invalidation of the exam) in writing to within two months of the date of the notification of the exam results and/or the decision to invalidate the exam. If no complaints have been received by ESHRE® within this period, the applicant shall be deemed to have accepted the exam results which will be non‐negotiable.

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.

4.9 ESHRE is at all times allowed to consult with its legal advisors with respect to the application of these rules to (a) participant (s). In any event, if fraud or cheating is suspected ESHRE will discuss the possible consequences with its legal advisors.