This is particularly so during ICSI where the embryologist has to coordinate between two joysticks, one in each hand, to inject the sperm into the egg.
“It takes a certain kind of character to fit this role,” Chan smiled. You also need to be tidy and meticulous, what she describes as “a bit of OCD”, referring to obsessive compulsive disorder, a term often used to reflect one’s tendency to repeat certain behaviours.
“Some people think an embryologist’s job is very glamorous, but I always tell people that we’re like a kitchen: We are creating a recipe, cooking the broth, then later we put it in the oven before the final product is ready,” said Chan.
RIGOROUS TRAINING ON THE JOB
All embryologists come from biology backgrounds and the minimum qualification is a degree in science – there isn’t a basic degree course in embryology, said Chan. The embryologists in Singapore are trained in-house, in the laboratory. Depending on how long one takes to master specific technical expertise for certain tasks, training could range from three to five years, she said.