Embryologist fatigue surveys conducted in Spain, the United States, and the international survey of embryologists from 85 countries reported that embryologists experience work-related fatigue, stress, and burnout. They named those as contributing factors to decreased efficiency, cynicism, and emotional exhaustion, which, together with having to handle the increasing cycle volume using conventional, manual protocols of cryomanagement, can lead to human error and IVF incidents. The known IVF incidents resulted in lost, damaged, or misplaced embryos and gametes, lawsuits, and reputational damage to patients and providers. In the absence of a “better than” cryopreservation storage solution, many programs just turned to buying more tanks and alarms and/or added expensive staff. The more effective solutions should focus on optimizing workflows by adopting innovation like automation and a digital chain of custody, organizational changes that will lead to a more productive, collaborative, and rewarding work environment, allowing embryologists to focus on patient care, scientific research, innovation, and career planning, and fewer incidents and lawsuits.
The purpose of this cross-sectional study using a web-based survey is to determine physical and mental health issues of U.K. embryologists related to their occupational characteristics, and how workplace fatigue and burnout may affect their quality of life, cynicism, interactions with patients, attention to detail, and lead to human error, the cause of the most severe IVF incidents that often make headlines and result in costly litigation. It will also correlate how the current manual workflows contribute to these health issues, and what measures can be taken to improve both working conditions and embryologists’ health, and, therefore, improve patient care.
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