The Witness system in assisted reproduction clinics
The witness system is an innovative system that assisted reproduction clinics are beginning to implement within their facilities, to avoid the rare cases of confusion between biological samples that may be given. Although these types of errors rarely happen, the experience can be traumatic for parents when they do occur.
With the aim of reaching the highest quality standards, clinics offer this system to patients so they can stay calm and sure during the whole process. In the process of assisted reproduction treatment, a patient can visit the clinic to be artificially inseminated with her partner’s sperm, or to have her egg fertilized in vitro (in a test tube) and then implanted in her uterus. In any of these procedures, the couple may worry that the sperm or egg could accidentally be switched with another person, with the result of baby that may be not biologically theirs. This is why biological samples must have an exhaustive control to avoid any possibility of error and this system achieves it.
How does the Witness system work?
Before starting the process, patients receive a card with their personal data that is always used to verify their identity before obtaining any sample. Each tube, plate or container used with these samples is labeled with electronic tags that are associated with the patient’s card.
This system has receivers that verify the data independently in each phase of the treatment and are capable of detecting any alteration in the protocol used to identify the samples and can interrupt the process if necessary.
Additional control of clinic staff
In addition to the Witness system, professionals must carry out a visual control of the identity of each patient and samples, thus achieving a double security guarantee. Clinics used to rely on the diligence of their employees to ensure that samples were not mixed up, but now they can also rely on this system to ensure that identity errors are not made during assisted reproductive treatments.