In BioNews 556 we reported that:
‘In order to avoid potential mix-ups, clinics such as the Hewitt Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Liverpool use a bar coding system to track sperm samples, eggs and embryos. Whenever the samples are used in procedures, the tags are read to confirm they match the patient’s. If they do not, the system sounds an alarm to alert the embryologist’.
Research Instruments, manufacturer of the IVF Witness security system used by the Hewitt Centre, tells us that its system does not use barcodes to check patient’s ID as they are notoriously unreliable and also do not have a ‘forcing function’, as described by the HFEA.
Instead, IVF Witness uses a RFID (Radio Frequency ID) system to automatically read all labware in the work area. Research Instruments tells us that this ensures no two patient cells can be in the same work area at the same time without the system alarming (something barcoding cannot guarantee).
10 May 2010: CORRECTION: IVF blunders doubled in one year