Embryology – A Growing Career Path

There is one embryologist for approximately every 34,375 couples in the country.

Indian healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry have been developing over the years. With the evolution of medical science backed by the continuous advancements in technology, the country has managed to achieve groundbreaking healthcare solutions, one of them being in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

India currently reports around 2.5 lac IVF cycles per year. For an estimated 30 million subfertile and infertile couples in the country, there is one embryologist for approximately every 34,375 couples, leading to a huge scarcity. India is still at a nascent stage and the article further highlights why embryology needs to be explored in India as a career especially with the rising need for lab fertility specialists.

Qualification of an embryologist

The minimum requirement to enter embryology is a bachelor’s degree in biological science and a post-graduate degree, preferably in Assisted Reproductive Technology, Embryology, biotechnology, or reproductive medicine. However, clinical embryology requires a lot of precision and follows a strict timeline. These skills are mastered through on-the-job training. Most IVF labs have a stepwise program encompassing 1 or 2 years of instructive, theoretical and practical training in embryology. 

It would be extremely helpful if the college curriculum includes practical experience and hands-on knowledge about the processes that happen inside the IVF laboratory using animal models. On the job training involve lots of practice, perseverance and patients to master the skills required. Paying attention to detail is one of the keys to successful training.

Scope in the industry

According to the report published in 2019, the Indian IVF services market is expected to reach $1.45 billion by 2026, portraying a compound annual growth rate of 14.7 per cent from 2019 to 2026. With changing lifestyles and external factors like pollution, stress, etc., the rate of infertility is predicted to rise with time. Moreover, India has one of the largest populations of young adults, providing a sizeable concentration of target customers for the industry. 

Currently, India has over 1750 IVF centres and there are over 700 embryologists, out of which an even smaller section has an MSC in embryology. The biggest reason being less awareness of embryology as a career option and even lesser options of colleges providing a Master’s degree in ‘Clinical Embryology’. Most people have to go abroad to pursue their masters.  The scarcity of experienced embryologists with respect to the rising cases of infertility has created a high demand for such specialists. 

What it takes to excel

Infertility is still considered a weakness, rather than a disease across most of the country. Hence, the treatment requires a great deal of focus and empathy. The job of an embryologist prominently defines the success of the infertility treatment and there are several instances when the patients require continuous affirmations and support. 

The satisfaction in helping couples overcome medical obstacles and witnessing them celebrate parenthood can be rewarding. There are a few practices that should be imbibed to become a more reliable and successful embryologist. Providing the best possible treatment to a patient can only be enabled by perfecting the skills. This career has great demand for attention to detail and empathy while treating patients. An embryologist must be very mindful while working inside the laboratory as the stakes are very high. Also, it is important to keep building your knowledge as this is still a very growing field.

As Indians are becoming more familiar with the alternative medical solutions to treat infertility, doctors, embryologists and other medical practitioners servicing such patients have a key role to play in building faith in infertility treatments. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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