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Case study: Embryo transfer simulator in eleven months

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In October 2015 we unveiled a virtual reality simulator for embryo transfer, developed together with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The simulator is our answer to the ever growing demand of IVF procedures and the poor availability of high quality training for fertility professionals.

I've been coming to ESHRE for 20 years and this was the best thing I've done!

–A doctor after an ASRM embryo transfer training session in Helsinki, July 3rd, 2016

Why we did it

  • Embryo transfer is a very delicate procedure: patients typically pay USD 10,000-20,000 out of their own pocket. Furthermore, as patients receive no anesthesia and as both parents-to-be are usually present during procedure, the physician works under high stress.
  • Success rates of different practitioners vary between 15-60%, and procedures often need to be repeated.
  • Only few fellows get trained to perform an embryo transfer, and residents get no training whatsoever.
  • According to an ASRM survey of over 100 fertility specialists, there are no well defined best practices or standardized approach.

How we did it

  • We were fast: project duration from kick-off to product launch was 11 months.
  • We worked hard but efficiently: we spent altogether 100 work weeks, 75 weeks on software and 25 weeks on hardware.
  • We worked together with two main external partners, ASRM and the ETH Zurich.
  • We organized four milestone meetings.
  • We had a lean team of 10 developers.
  • We developed over 10 hardware prototypes.
  • We performed 840 software tasks.
  • We created two related publications.

Results so far

  • The simulator was introduced to the market in October 2015 at the ASRM annual meeting, resulting in the integration of feedback from over 350 new users.
  • In July 2016, ASRM offered its first European embryo transfer course at ESHRE, training over 70 fertility specialists.
  • "I've been coming to ESHRE for 20 years and this was the best thing I've done." –A doctor after an ASRM embryo transfer training session in Helsinki, July 3rd, 2016
  • In October 2016 ASRM will introduce a large simulation pavilion as the main attraction of its Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City. The pavilion will feature five embryo transfer simulators, available for testing throughout the conference.
  • Click here for high resolution pictures and other resources.

Do you have questions?