How to become a Clinical Embryologist: why an MSc could be the key

Are you considering becoming a Clinical Embryologist?

Do you dream of a career in a rapidly-advancing field that helps families achieve parenthood? Are you considering becoming a Clinical Embryologist? Studying MSc Clinical Embryology at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Care Fertility is a great way to get there. This specialised postgraduate degree is designed by world-leading embryologists and experts that equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a vital member of a fertility clinic team or researcher. 

What is Clinical Embryology? 

Clinical Embryology is an area of biology that focuses on the study of fertilisation and embryo development to help individuals and couples to get pregnant. Clinical Embryologists are specialised scientists who work in a field that is highly exciting and rewarding. Helping people to achieve their dreams of parenthood is a very unique and wonderful thing to be a part of. As a scientist you get to work with cutting-edge technology every single day, in addition to being in close contact with the patients you are helping. A Clinical Embryologist not only needs to be technically brilliant in the lab, but they also must have the interpersonal skills to communicate with patients about their results and treatment with compassion and care.  

Why do an MSc in Clinical Embryology?   

In the UK, to work in the field of assisted reproduction as a clinical embryologist, graduate scientists must undergo a Scientist Training Programme (STP). The STP leads to State Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which in short means clinical scientists are state registered to practise in the UK. An STP is a three year programme of work-based and university learning. Places on the STP are limited to 10-20 places a year and it’s highly competitive. Doing an MSc in Clinical Embryology is a great way to get further experience and knowledge to help improve your chances of getting onto an STP or undertaking an alternative route to registration.  

What does the LJMU MSc Clinical Embryology cover? 

As this field is highly specialised and works seamlessly alongside clinical colleagues, the basic knowledge and understanding required is not always covered by an undergraduate programme. An MSc in Clinical Embryology includes all the theoretical scientific knowledge required, such as egg and sperm development in the ovaries and testes, pre-implantation embryo development, cryopreservation of gametes and embryos, and laboratory culture conditions to maximise embryo competency.  

This scientific knowledge is supplemented with more clinical aspects such as investigating infertile patients, managing their treatment journey and individualising their treatment according to their specific medical background. To work in the UK there are also several important regulatory requirements that are taught throughout the across. All these aspects are designed and taught to improve a graduate's chances of gaining a training place in embryology. 

What should you look for in an MSc program? 

To improve your chances of gaining a place on an STP, it is important to gain as much practical experience as possible, alongside theoretical understanding. Care Fertility Manchester offers a unique experience to study for an MSc in Clinical Embryology in conjunction with LJMU. This unique collaboration between an academic institution and a fertility clinic provides both the scientific and clinical knowledge required, alongside the practical “hands-on” experience from professionals working in the field. The MSc is a partnership between LJMU and Care Fertility, with around 50% of the teaching taking place at LJMU and 50% at the clinic. Research projects are completed at Care Fertility either in the laboratories or using information from clinical databases.  

What are the advantages of being linked with a fertility clinic? 

  • The opportunity to observe live procedures such as egg collection, embryo transfer, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and embryo biopsy 

  • The opportunity to train in all andrology and embryology procedures in our state-of-the-art training laboratory on site, completing a total of nine days of practical sessions that include ICSI, embryo biopsy and embryo vitrification techniques 

  • The opportunity to follow a patient’s IVF journey through the clinic on two occasions 

  • The opportunity to be involved in research projects  

Following the IVF patient journey 

By directly following a patient’s journey through the clinic on two occasions during the masters programme, students get to see first-hand how all of the investigations and techniques available are managed on an individual patient basis. This insight into the emotional impact of assisted reproductive treatment on the patients themselves is an important part of being a great clinical scientist.  

Research opportunities 

The research projects that are part of the masters course are all based on current topics within the field and are supervised by experts in the area. The MSc Clinical Embryology programme aims to conduct a research project that can be submitted as an abstract to a fertility conference, providing an excellent opportunity for the student to be aware of current progress and to build their network within the field.  

At the 2024 Fertility conference in Edinburgh, one of our previous MSc students was shortlisted for the Pre-Registration Award for her abstract and subsequent oral presentation. All of the theoretical knowledge and practical experience gained as part of the MSc Clinical Embryology is aimed at improving students’ chances of being able to work in this remarkable and rewarding field in the future.  

Find out more and apply

Visit the MSc Clinical Embryology course page to find out more about this joint programme and to apply.  


Summer graduation 2024


Madeleine celebrates taking every opportunity at LJMU


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