Medicover Fertility is amongst the first Fertility Clinics in India to launch RI Witness in its Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) laboratory. This technology will help ensure that not only the labs meet international standards, but also go beyond these benchmarks. RI Witness is a technologically advanced system that is based on RFID rather than the conventional barcode or human reliant systems.
It helps to lock a patient’s identity to their gametes that are eggs, sperm, or embryos at every stage of the treatment. This technology automatically tracks and records patient data, and creates a complete record of each patient’s samples, making ART management simple and completely human intervention-free. Once installed, lab management becomes practically automated, giving peace of mind to everyone right from the embryologists to the parents-to-be.
RI Witness is an electronic witnessing system which is used in the IVF/embryology laboratory. This system improves traceability and quality control and helps to reduce laboratory-based risk by decreasing the chances of human error in IVF procedure with electronic witnessing.
Since the launch of RI Witness in the year 2007, it has helped to prevent potential errors and manage activity in the IVF laboratories all over the world. Using RI Witness means reduced stress for embryologists, fertility clinics and IVF patients and making sure that there is no mismatch of samples. Other than that, there are additional benefits in terms of efficiency, reduced workload and potential cost savings.
RI Witness works by using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to detect and monitor all activity going on in the IVF Laboratory. This system helps to reduce the risk of human error in sample handling, which means that it locks the patient’s identity to the sperm, eggs and embryos at every stage of the IVF cycle. This way, the samples are continuously monitored every time they are moved from one dish or tube to another.
To have a clear understanding, let's discuss in detail how RI Witness works:
Tracking Samples: The first step is tracking samples:
Insemination Procedure: The second step is during the insemination procedure
Transfer Process: The third step is during the transfer process:
Is RI Witness compatible with multiple dishes and tubes check?
Yes, RI Witness is compatible with multiple dishes. All the tubes and dishes are instantly identified and checked for compatibility regardless of their number.
RI Witness uses RFID tags and a reader. The reader sends out electromagnetic waves, and the tag receives these waves. The RFID tag then draws power from the field created by the reader and uses it to power the microchip’s circuits. The microchip then modulates the waves that the tag sends back to the reader, and the reader converts the new waves into digital data.
The RFID tags are passive, with no internal energy source, so they are only activated when in a range of 1-5cm of a RI Witness reader. RI Witness RFID tags do not emit or receive radio waves when they are not on a reader or in the incubator. Embryos and gametes are only exposed to the radiofrequency fields for a short time.
RI Witness makes the laboratory stand out from the rest, be it on quality management or advanced lab technology. The electronic witnessing system also offers patients increased confidence that their samples are safe and will not be mixed up at any point during their treatment.
It also improves the efficiency of the lab by streamlining the working practice. The lab procedures are performed at the optimum time with a real-time witness. It benefits from a real-time overview of the lab, helps in managing staff training and schedules, analyses lab statistics and simplify audits.
For the embryologists and other lab members, it helps to handle cycle data efficiently. They can concentrate on their procedures with confidence and work with the best support system.
Sample handling is the most important aspect of any IVF laboratory. An embryologist or any lab-technician carrying on the procedure needs to be extra vigilant so that there is no mismatch of samples. Hence with the installation of RI Witness, the motive is to reduce human error so that there is no mixing of gametes.
A patient battling infertility and coming for IVF would always want a genetic child of their own. They are emotionally linked to the whole process from the day they enrol for IVF and go through various stages. In this case, a mismatch of samples can ruin their dreams. It can affect not only the patient but even treating doctors and embryologists. Here RI Witness comes as an assurance to the patients that they can take home their own biological child. This way, RI Witness helps to build up trust and transparency between the clinic, treating doctors and patients.
RI Witness can track patient samples when they enter and leave cryo storage tanks. The data is converted to cryo-suitable barcode identification labels by the RI Witness RFID system. Durable, laboratory-proven Brady labels are used to identify the vials or vitrification straws. On thawing, the barcode information is linked automatically with the embryo thaw dish.
What can happen if there is no RI witness in an IVF Laboratory?
If a laboratory is using a manual or barcode system, then two unrelated samples can be in the same work area and may get exchanged, without the operator being aware that the samples are incompatible. Moreover, if the operator is not able to avoid the mismatch of the samples, then whole of the IVF cycle’s security can be compromised.
RI Witness thus helps in excellent management of ART Laboratories. It is a type of security for IVF labs which enables a fertility clinic to offer an advanced & transparent service to their patients. It helps to streamline processes as self-adhesive RFID tags are attached to all the laboratory plasticware, it is possible to ensure that proper protocols are followed, and only compatible samples are worked on at any one time. It is automatic and helps to monitor the samples without being dependent on any human interaction. No time-consuming cross-checking or labour-intensive manual witnessing. It also helps in full documentation of each procedure as a RI Witness’s work area has a tablet computer connected to the server, integrated with the patient’s database.