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By Beth Bacheldor

Aspire Fertility Clinics Adopt RFID

Fertility clinic Aspire Fertility is using RFID technology to track, record and create a comprehensive record of each patient's eggs, sperm and embryos throughout the duration of their fertility treatment. The clinic is using an RFID-enabled solution called RI Witness, provided by Research Instruments (RI), a U.K.-based in vitro fertilization technology firm. RI Witness uses high-frequency (HF) RFID technology to pair specimens with the appropriate patient automatically, thereby ensuring that an alert will be sounded before a mistake can be made. The service helps eliminate the risk of mixed or improperly handled samples, according to Aspire Fertility, by providing an extra layer of security.

Aspire Fertility's assisted reproductive technology (ART) labs in Houston and Dallas are utilizing RI Witness to automatically track and record every piece of patient data. It creates a record of each patient's samples and is a component of the ART management system. It uses RFID tags to track the samples, with tag readers integrated into workstations where samples are transferred between containers, thereby providing the controls necessary to ensure eggs, sperm and embryos are correctly matched and treated, the company reports.

The RFID reader's design ensures that clinicians are working on only one set of samples at a time, that correct samples are being used and that appropriate protocols are being followed. If RFID-tagged samples of incompatible origin come into contact at any stage of the cycle, Aspire Fertility explains, the system activates an alarm and prompts the embryologist to halt the procedure and respond. The readers also ensure that samples are continually maintained at the appropriate temperature.

Other non-manual witnessing systems typically rely on embryologists to request a sample check, Aspire Fertility notes, but these samples give only a tiny snapshot of the sample's whereabouts when they are out of the incubator. In contrast, RI Witness automatically identifies all samples, so that no tagged container goes unchecked.

The Genera Center for Reproductive Medicine has been using RI Witness since 2012 at its clinic in Rome, and since 2014 at its Naples clinic (see Italian Reproductive Medicine Center Uses RFID to Track In Vitro Fertilization).

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