Electronic witness system in IVF – patients perspective

Marina Forte, Federica Faustini, Roberta Maggiulli, Catello Scarica, Stefania Romano, Christian Ottolini, Alessio Farcomeni, Antonio Palagiano, Antonio Capalbo, Filippo Maria Ubaldi, Laura Rienzi

Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, September 2016, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 1215–1222 – First Online: 07 July 2016



The objective of this study is to evaluate patient concerns about in vitro fertilization (IVF) errors and electronic witness systems (EWS) satisfaction.


The design of this study is a prospective single-center cohort study.


The setting of this study was located in the private IVF center.


Four hundred eight infertile patients attending an IVF cycle at a GENERA center in Italy were equipped with an EWS.


Although generally recognized as a very rare event in IVF, biological sample mix-up has been reported in the literature. For this reason, some IVF laboratories have introduced EWS with the aim to further reduce the risk of error during biological samples handling. Participating patients received a questionnaire developed through a Likert scale ranging from 1 to 6.

Main outcomes measure(s)

Patient concerns about sample mix-up without and with an EWS were assessed.


90.4 % of patients expressed significant concerns relating to sample mix-up. The EWS reduced these concerns in 92.1 % of patients, 97.1 % of which were particularly satisfied with the electronic traceability of their gametes and embryos in the IVF laboratory. 97.1 % of patients felt highly comfortable with an IVF center equipped with an EWS. Female patients had a significantly higher appreciation of the EWS when compared to their male partners (p = 0.029). A significant mix-up event occurred in an Italian hospital during the study and patient’s satisfaction increased significantly towards the use of the EWS after the event (p = 0.032).


EWS, by sensibly reducing the risk for sample mix-up in IVF cycles, has been proved to be a trusted strategy from patient’s perspective.


Embryo labeling IVF mix-up Traceability Witnessing system Patient’s perspective