Rules for certification of ESHRE embryologists

Last update: 12 October 2017

The application

  1. ESHRE embryology certification is available to ESHRE members only. A maximum of 200 European and 100 non-European applicants can apply each year.

  2. The online applications for the 2018 embryologist certification exam in Barcelona will be available from 18 October until 15 December 2017 (or until the maximum capacity is reached). Your electronic application form must be submitted by 15 December 2017 23h59 CET at the latest.

  3. All applicants must guarantee that when applying they truly fulfil the required criteria for the “Senior Clinical” or “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 Sciences

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

     have at least six years' hands-on experience with human gametes and embryos in a clinical ART lab (at the time of the application deadline)
    submit a valid logbook (please see rule #15 logbook requirements) showing the required hands-on experience

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

    University degrees

  4. 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 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 for a charge 50 Euro. This fee is non-refundable, even if the application is declined.
    The NUFFIC validation report will become available in the applicant’s personal account.
    Note: Some Master courses don’t fit the criteria of official national university degree, therefore not all Master courses will be validated by 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.
    It is recommended to always include the preceding BSc diploma and corresponding transcript in order to avoid extra costs of a second validation procedure.

  5. All relevant university degrees (BSc, MSc, PhD), including academic transcripts, need to be submitted in the online application form and will be forwarded to EP NUFFIC for validation. EP NUFFIC accepts diplomas in the following European languages: Latin, Dutch, Greek, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Russian. Diplomas in all other languages might need to be translated (to one of the languages mentioned above) by an official body (university, official translator, notorius publicus), before uploading to the ESHRE website.

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

  7. 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.

    Working experience & logbook

  8. Applicants who are no longer working as 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.

  9. When filling out the application form you also have to show that you have performed a minimum number of treatments during your years in the laboratory. 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.

  10. A minimum of 50 cases per procedure is required for all of the 9 procedures. 

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

  12. The information from filled-in application forms and logbooks may be verified with the supervisor(s) and/or reference(s).

  13. The references should be different from the supervisors

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

  15. Logbook requirements

    For each clinic a separate logbook needs to be filled which has to be 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 2017 only

    Oocyte pick up

    June 2009

    Still ongoing



    Semen analysis

    June 2009

    Still ongoing



    Semen preparation

    June 2009

    Still ongoing



    IVF insemination

    June 2009

    Still ongoing




    August 2013

    Still ongoing



    Zygote and embryo evaluation

    June 2009

    Still ongoing



    Embryo transfers

    June 2009

    Still ongoing



    Cryopreservation of oocytes / embryos

    February 2010

    Still ongoing



    Thawing / warming of oocytes / embryos

    May 2010

    Still ongoing



    Signature applicant


    The exam

  16. The exam will be in English only.

  17. During the exam, the applicant must behave according to current stated rules (including rules of silence, no communication with other applicants, 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.

  18. Applicants must sign in and out when entering and leaving the room. At the end of the exam, each envelope containing the exam paper and answer sheet must be handed in before leaving the room.

  19. The exam will be submitted to and marked by the Embryology Certification Steering Committee. The results will be released to the applicant. The applicant needs to answer at least 66 out of 100 questions correctly to pass the exam. The resulting outcome is not negotiable. 

  20. Exam questions represent intellectual property. Due to the risk of abuse, applicants will not be able to see the exam paper afterwards or have access to the correct answers.

  21. 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.

  22. Applicants will not be allowed to switch to another exam level on the day of the exam.

  23. 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.