Tagging IVF eggs, sperm and embryos

Never thought radio frequency ID (RFID) would get into this arena. Apparently a UK couple finally conceived a child by in vitro fertilization (IVF)–but the child turned out to be of mixed race while they were both Caucasian.

Employees at IVF clinics are just likely as any worker to make a mistake–except the consequences of mixing genetic material can be much weightier. The solution may be to apply electronic tags, a la RFID, that set off an alarm if the wrong eggs and sperm are brought too close together. They’re also considering using barcodes–talk about having to write small…

So with RFID all they have to worry about is whether the low-frequency waves might hurt the eggs or sperm–and/or whether the electronic alarm that’s loud enough to alert a possibly sleepy employee might harm the genetic material–or just plain scare the bejeepers out of the embryos.