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Blastocyst Grading Study

Dean Morbeck, PhD, MBA

Fertility Associates

22 March 2018

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You are invited to take part in an experimental study looking at the decision-making process involved in blastocyst viability grading.


Title:    Decision Making Processes in Blastocyst Grading

Faculty Researcher:     Professor Nathan Consedine

Student Researcher:    Taylor Burns

We are recruiting currently practicing embryologists who are fluent in English to take part in a study investigating whether personal or contextual factors impact embryologists’ professional opinion of the viability of blastocysts. Approximately 30 minutes in a single session, without interruption, is required to complete several on-line questionnaires and grade a number of images of blastocysts.

The on-line questionnaires include questions about professional history, decision-making style and dealing with uncertainty, as well as requiring you to grade several images of blastocysts for their viability. Example items include: “My intuition played a major role in dealing with my diagnostic uncertainty”, “I make decisions in a logical and systematic way” and “I explore all my options before making a decision”. There are approximately 80 questions and 8 images to be graded, and should take no longer than 30 minutes. All cases are hypothetical, and are likely to be similar to your day-to-day responsibilities, and no sensitive information will be collected.

Participation is entirely voluntary (your choice). If you do wish to take part in the study, follow the link provided which will connect you to the questionnaires. No researchers or industry professionals will know whether or not you have participated in this study. All responses and information relating to you will be kept completely confidential. No identifying information will appear on questionnaires or other materials.  No contact information will be collected unless you choose to provide it on the consent form, and you will not in any way be contacted by the researchers unless you indicate you would like to receive the results of the study. Data will be completely anonymized, and reported in summaries of research findings, including research journals, and will be presented as group averages and percentages. Due to the anonymization process, once your data is submitted it cannot be removed as you cannot be identified. As such, once you have submitted your answers, you will not be able to withdraw your data from the study.

The data obtained from this research will be saved securely on to the researcher’s computer at the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland. The file will be password protected, with only the researcher (Prof Nathan Consedine) and the student researcher (Taylor Burns) having access to this file. Hard copies will be stored in a locked cabinet. The data will be destroyed after a period of seven years. This will be done by shredding/deleting according to whether the data has been stored in an electronic or hard copy.

Fertility Associates New Zealand are providing funding for this study, however at no stage during the study will any employee of Fertility Associates be directly involved with data handling or analysis, nor will they know who has or has not completed the study.

A debrief and summary of the study results may be provided to interested participants. If you would like a summary of study results in January 2019 please indicate in the appropriate section of the questionnaire or e-mail Taylor Burns at .

If you wish to participate, please click on the link at the bottom of this page and you will be directed to the online survey.

Decision Making in Embryology Survey

Thank you very much for your time and effort in making this study possible. Please feel free to contact A/Prof Nathan Consedine or Taylor Burns if you wish to know more about the study, or if you have any queries.

Researcher: Professor Nathan Consedine

Department of Psychological Medicine

The University of Auckland

Private Bag 92019

Auckland 1142

+64 9 373 7599; extn. 85976


Student Researcher: Taylor Burns

Department of Psychological Medicine

The University of Auckland

Private Bag 92019

Auckland 1142


Head of Department: Associate Professor Sally Merry

Department of Psychological Medicine

The University of Auckland

Private Bag 92019

Auckland 1142

+64 9 373 7599; extn. 86531


For any queries regarding ethical concerns you may contact the Chair, The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee, The University of Auckland, Research Office, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Telephone 09 373-7599 ext. 83711. Email:







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Date Added: 22 March 2018   Date Updated: 22 March 2018
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