Select Page



Posted by: tinchy

Dear doctor,

I would like to know if it is possible to swap semen samples during IVF/ICSI procedure if several couples are doing aspiration at the same time. How can this be prevented? Does the partner give a semen sample before, during or after the patient undergoes aspiration? What happens after that?

Are the couples’ samples sent to the lab at the same time? I am a bit unclear on all of these and I would appreciate if you could understand my concerns and explain. Thank you. Tina

Answer by: Martina Bračun, MD

Dear Tina,

In laboratories that have a large number of patients’ samples coming in and out, there are strict rules which are vigorously obeyed and monitored in order not to swap the biological samples. Let me list only a few of them:

Samples coming in are marked using waterproof ink or barcodes. Name, surname, and year of birth (or a similar unique identifier such as new barcode) of both partners are written on the lab container containing genetic material.

All containers with biological material, as well as all papers, are marked like this in order to prevent the samples from swapping. Computer files and data also contain newly generated unique identifiers thus making sure that a couple’s data doesn’t end up in the wrong place.

Male partner can give a semen sample before aspiration, but we usually do the retrieval first so we can confirm that the retrieved material contains an egg.

The patient needs to confirm her identity loud and clear to the lab staff („My name is…“) before undergoing aspiration or any other procedure. When the retrieved material containing eggs is handed over to the lab, the operating room staff will once again loudly confirm the identity of the patient. Cryopreserved material normally has three or four identifiers in the containers where the material is frozen.

By following these caution measures, the possibility of swapping biological material is very low.


Ask a question