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Embryologist

Position Overview

Embryologists within the ag industry study life and reproduction of animals; this position requires extensive education beforehand. While some embryologists focus specifically on research, others, such as clinical embryologists, assist with reproductive services, including in vitro fertilization, embryo creation, and the production of transgenic animals. They must maintain all reproductive records and run a variety of tests on animal's eggs and sperm that they retrieve. Embryologists must continuously keep all equipment and devices cleaned and maintained. They need to be able to handle liquid nitrogen when storing embryos and sperm. Due to the precision involved in this line of work, embryologists should be highly organised and have excellent attention to detail. They usually work with, and assist veterinarians.

Embryologist Duties

  • Record and maintain all embryo and reproduction records, including temperature, current inventory, etc.
  • Travel to different farms, coordinating with farmers and understanding their animal reproductive needs
  • While on the farm, collect eggs or sperm from various animals
  • Freeze embryos in liquid nitrogen
  • Refill nitrogen tanks when required
  • Precisely grade embryos based on protocol
  • Perform artificial insemination, IVF, and embryonic transfer
  • Label and clean all collection vessels
  • Complete oocyte selection before IVF

Typical Employers

  • Research companies
  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • Animal health companies
  • Consultancy agencies

Required Education and Training

An embryologist should have their PhD in molecular biology, reproductive science, animal science, or animal reproduction. With relevant job experience, a master's degree would also be acceptable. However, a PhD is advised as it gives candidates a competitive advantage.

Key Skills and Qualities

  • Highly organised
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent research skills
  • Good written communication skills
  • Ability to provide sound advice
  • Excellent decision maker
  • Manual dexterity
  • Excellent record keeping skills
  • Good problem solver

Average Salary

  • Entry level embryologists make an average of £30,000 in the United Kingdom
  • Embryologists with 5 years of experience or more make £35,000 - £40,000
  • Senior embryologists who act as consultants can make over £100,000