Intensive Comprehensive Course in Assisted Reproduction (IVF/ICSI)

Course Description

The commonest forms of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and embryo transfer (ET). These techniques have revolutionised the field of reproduction and has attained a central importance in the treatment of infertility as well as its potential to answer fundamental questions in reproductive biology. Recent advances in biomedical knowledge of events in reproduction processes make it evident that there is a need to create permanent continuing education programmes for professionals in the field of human ART.

This is a lecture and laboratory-based course that exposes students to all the theoretical aspects of ART and hands on training, including embryo culture, oocyte retrieval, semen collection, sperm preparation for IVF and ICSI, fertilisation assessment and embryo grading, and embryo transfer, as well as basic evaluation and treatment during an IVF cycle and third-party reproduction.

Course objectives

This is an intensive 8 weeks course designed to enable participants acquire perquisite knowledge and skills in techniques associated with ART. Through a series of compulsory modules, the students will learn about:

  • cell and molecular biology of human reproduction, fertility, andrology and embryology
  • management and efficient running of an ART laboratory
  • the principal procedures from oocyte collection and sperm preparation for IVF/ICSI through to culture techniques, embryo selection and transfer.
  • advances in cryobiology and its application to gamete and embryo freezing and fertility preservation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of all the modules in the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the requisite theoretical knowledge on the biological and technical aspects of ART.
  2. Identify patients who, based on clinical parameters, require either in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
  3. Advise patients on their treatment pathway through discussion of the different insemination methods. Perform the different methods of routine (not ICSI) insemination.
  4. Handle gametes correctly to maintain viability.
  5. Undertake oocyte stimulation protocols, recovery procedures and identify stages of oocyte maturity.
  6. Perform the different methods of sperm collection and preparation techniques.
  7. Evaluate signs of normal fertilisation and identify indicators of fertilisation quality and abnormal fertilisation.
  8. Demonstrate skills for procedures of embryo selection, grading and transfer; and cryopreservation of gametes and embryos; and
  9. Explain the quality control and assurance in an ART Setup.

Target Audience

This intensive course is open to participants from different countries around the world and is available exclusively to graduates in medicine, nursing and biomedical sciences (Biologists, Veterinarians, Pharmacists, Biochemists, Anatomy, Physiology, Molecular Biology, Embryologists and similar groups) wanting to develop skills in clinical embryology and have interest in understanding the mechanisms of fertility, causes of infertility and techniques used to combat it by means of assisted reproduction.

Teaching and learning strategies

The course is delivered using a blended learning approach, which combines didactic online lectures, seminars, demonstrations, interactive group discussions, and presentations. Theoretical online training is complemented by hands-on laboratory training sessions (module 9) under the direct guidance of clinical embryologists and will be taught in a two-week residential workshop at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre, Kampala. The main focus of the intensive 2-weeks hands-on training session is on observation and participation in ovarian stimulation protocols for IVF/ICSI, oocyte retrieval techniques, in vitro fertilisation (IVF/ICSI), embryo culture and transfer techniques, andrology, and basic cryobiology. Training will be done using animal models (bovine/cow oocyte and embryos).

Accreditation

The course is planned and implemented jointly with the Women’s Hospital International & Fertility Centre (WHI) in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Continuing Professional Development Accreditation Committee (CPDAC) of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC). The WHI is accredited by the UMDPC to provide continuing medical education for physicians and other healthcare professionals. The course is accredited for 112 CME credits.