SGF now uses RI Witness™, by CooperSurgical, to advance safeguards at every step of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle with the most sophisticated technology available to protect patient samples.

Rockville, MD – Shady Grove Fertility (SGF), a founding partner within the US Fertility network, has one of the most stringent, long-standing chain of custody protocols in the industry that was developed and continuously refined over the last 30 years.

The system uses three unique identifiers along with two embryologists independently confirming the provenance of the sperm, eggs, and embryos in each case. Additionally, chain of custody at SGF is maintained using an electronic witnessing system, RI Witness. Developed by CooperSurgical, RI Witness is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) management system. This technology enables every sperm, egg, embryo, test tube, and petri dish to be electronically connected to the specific patient.

Electronic witnessing creates a detailed, time-stamped log of the step-by-step movement of a patient’s genetic material and has an unignorable alert should there be a possibility of an incorrect mix. This alarm occurs prior to a potential mix-up. Final approval and validation are performed by the physician or embryologist performing the procedure.

SGF’s Rockville embryology lab, home to the largest freestanding IVF lab in the U.S., marked RI Witness’s 300th lab installation. SGF expects to complete the rollout in all 11 of its embryology labs, including its newest in Denver, CO, and Norfolk, VA, by the end of 2021.

“The RI Witness electronic tracking system provides patients with even greater peace of mind that their genetic materials will remain safe and exactly where they should be,” explains Michael J. Tucker, Ph.D., HCLD, Chief Scientific Director of SGF’s IVF and Embryology Laboratories, and Scientific Director of US Fertility.

“At the same time, physicians and lab staff benefit from the time savings and efficiency the software offers. Improved workflows, streamlined processes, and reduced manual witnessing means we can provide optimal embryo conditions and help more patients become pregnant faster, all while reducing human error and removing procedure bottlenecks,” Dr. Tucker continues. “It’s a win-win-win.”

Commenting on the installation, Holly Sheffield, President, CooperSurgical, Inc. said, “We are delighted to be partnering with SGF in our shared goal of raising the standards of fertility care through the optimization, standardization, and automation of workflows and protocols. RI Witness is the perfect example of CooperSurgical’s commitment to offering market-leading, high-quality embryology products that ensure repeatability and ultimately peace of mind for IVF patients.”

How RI Witness Works for Safeguarding Genetic Materials

SGF chose CooperSurgical’s RI Witness offering for two main reasons. First, because of its dedicated development and support team, comprised of software, mechanical, and electrical engineers, regulatory officers, and product management professionals. And secondly, for RI Witness’ 24/7 documentation of key lab procedures and processes, which is useful for productivity analysis and improving SOPs.

With RI Witness, Shady Grove Fertility (SGF) is taking further steps to ensure confidence, efficiency, and trust throughout the fertility journey by offering clinicians and patients the best-in-class tracking technology. Since CooperSurgical launched RI Witness in 2007, it has elevated its reputation to one of the most trusted systems in the fertility market, having been installed in over 300 clinics across more than 30 countries, tracking more than 1M embryos to date.

RI Witness allocates each SGF patient a unique reference code that is linked to their personal details (name, date of birth, and unique patient number). RI Witness transfers this ID sequentially to each dish or tube their genetic material is moved to. Only once a match between the patient and specimen is confirmed can an embryo transfer take place.

“Because of our commitment to these procedures, SGF has never had an incorrect identification in our almost 30-year history,” remarks Jim Graham, SGF Laboratories Director. “Creating the most secure laboratory and procedures for our patients is always our top priority. Electronic witnessing allows for humans, and their potential for error, to be removed almost entirely from the chain of custody procedure.”    

To learn more about SGF’s state-of-the-art embryology, andrology, and endocrine laboratories, visit SGF’s laboratory page on its website.

About Shady Grove Fertility (SGF)
SGF is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence with more than 100,000 babies born and 5,000+ 5-star patient reviews. With 47 locations, including new locations in Colorado and Norfolk, VA, as well as throughout CO, FL, GA, MD, NY, PA, TX, VA, D.C., and Santiago, Chile, SGF offers patients virtual physician consults, delivers individualized care, accepts most insurance plans, and makes treatment affordable through innovative financial options, including 100% refund guarantees. More physicians refer their patients to SGF than any other center. SGF is among the founding partner practices of US Fertility, the largest physician-owned, physician-led partnership of top-tier fertility practices in the U.S. Call 1-888-761-1967 or visit ShadyGroveFertility.com.

About CooperSurgical
For more than 25 years, CooperSurgical has been a leader in manufacturing, marketing a wide range of trusted and innovative brands that have assisted clinicians in advancing the standard of health care for women and families worldwide. CooperSurgical is at the forefront of delivering innovative assisted reproductive technology and genomic solutions that enhance the work of ART professionals to the benefit of families.

CooperSurgical is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CooperCompanies (NYSE: COO). CooperSurgical, headquartered in Trumbull, CT, produces and markets a wide array of products and services for use by women’s health care clinicians. More information can be found at fertility.coopersurgical.com.