Second baby born using maternal spindle transfer as part of the clinical research project conducted by Embryotools and the Institute of Life

A second baby was born through the application of the maternal spindle transfer technique in the context of the clinical research project that is being carried out by Embryotools and the Institute of Life in Greece. In the framework of this clinical research pilot trial, the effectiveness and safety of the maternal spindle transfer technique is being investigated as a means to treat infertility problems associated to cytoplasmic dysfunctions in oocytes – which manifest by a “massive” embryo development arrest in IVF cycles with conventional techniques – as well as to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial diseases.

The infant was born at 07:00 am on November 11th, 2019, to a Greek women with a long history of IVF failures with conventional techniques. Both the mother and the infant are well. The birth of the first baby through maternal spindle transfer in the context of this specific clinical research study had taken place last April 2019. The infant is now seven months old, is being follow-up, and is in an excellent condition. All results of this research project that is expected to be concluded within the next months will be made public after the acceptance of the publications in specialized peer-reviewed journals.

About the maternal spindle transfer Project

The maternal spindle transfer method involves the replacement of the entire cytoplasm of oocytes, fully preserving the nuclear genome of the woman who wants to reproduce. The proof of principle of the procedure has been extensively explored in animal models and pre-clinically validated with human oocytes donated for research.  Currently, the technique is being applied in a very restrict and carefully selected cohort of patients in the context of an ongoing research protocol that was approved and is being conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Greek Law 3305/2005. Based on current scientific data, the maternal spindle transfer method is still considered an experimental technique and is not an established infertility treatment nor a recognized method of medically assisted reproduction.

Embryotools achieves the world’s first pregnancy with a new nuclear transfer technique for treating infertility


Researchers from the Spanish centre Embryotools —with headquarters in the Barcelona Science Park (Parc Científic de Barcelona, PCB) — are participating in a landmark scientific event in Greece that will shape the future of assisted reproduction. In a pilot clinical trial conducted on women, which is being sponsored by the assisted reproduction centre Institute of Life in Athens, Spanish scientists have achieved the world’s first pregnancy that uses the Maternal Spindle Transfer technique to solve problems of infertility.




Investigadores de Barcelona y Atenas (Grecia) han logrado un embarazo en una mujer con problemas de infertilidad a la que se ha aplicado la técnica de Transferencia de Huso Materno (MST, en sus …


Investigadores de Barcelona y Atenas. Una mujer con problemas de fertilidad logra quedarse embarazada gracias a una avanzada técnica. Este es el primer embarazo registrado en el mundo con una …



The collaboration between Embryotools and Microptic begins with the objective of performing sperm analysis in our laboratory and providing training on CASA systems (Computer Aided Semen Analysis).

We understand that andrology is a vitally important specialty in assisted reproduction units. More specifically, if we focus on the analysis of semen, applying an appropriate protocol it is possible to arrive at the diagnosis of male sterility and thus be able to offer treatments. On the other hand, sperm tests are always helpful before IVF-ICSI treatments.


Microptic, specialized in the analysis of semen for more than 20 years, is one of the pioneering companies in CASA systems with the SCA – Sperm Class Analyzer ®. In addition, this company already provides training and practical workshops of different levels to professionals and distributors of the sector.

Unlike manual analysis, a CASA system increases the competitiveness of laboratories thanks to the standardization of the analysis and the recording of results.


CASA SCA system, by Microptic

Thanks to this automatic measurement software for the analysis of sperm samples, the following parameters can be analyzed, following the WHO criteria:

Research and Development

Our R&D centre receive support from CDTI to study new strategies to prevent prevalence of chromosomal abnormalities

Embryotools is currently involved in several research projects that aim to develop new technologies for the treatment of infertility problems.

Among them we highlight the project financed by the European Reginal Development funds (ERDF) Ref. RD 15-1-0011 that aims to develop a new technique for meiotic spindle replacement in oocytes affected by mitochondrial or other cytoplasmic problems.

Project title: Desenvolupament d’una novedosa tècnica de TRA: transferència de fus matern (MST). RD 15-1-0011.

Maternal spindle transfer overcomes embryo developmental arrest caused by ooplasmic defects in mice

Fourth Baby Born in 14 Months Using the Maternal Spindle Transfer Method as Part of Pilot Trial Conducted by the Institute of Life and Embryotools Scientific Team



Meet our team



Gloria Calderón, PhD
Dr. Gloria Calderón is a clinical embryologist who has been part of the team that managed to obtain the first pregnancies by IVF in Spain. With more than 30 years of experience in the field of assisted reproduction, Dr. Calderón is an international reference with extensive knowledge in clinical embryology, quality control and design of IVF laboratories. She has been the main internal scientific advisor for the IVI group between 2000 and 2013 (> 25,000 cycles / year) and is currently a guest lecturer in Master's programs at 6 Universities in Spain. Throughout her career she has provided consulting services throughout the world, and is frequently invited as speaker to the most important conferences of the sector in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Middle East. She is the author of more than 200 publications and abstracts in international journals and conferences, including Human Reproduction, Fertility and Sterility, ESHRE, ASRM, etc. and a member of the Human Reproduction Medicine Review Committee. In addition, Dr. Calderón is part of the panel of reviewers of reputed scientific journals.
Nuno Costa-Borges, PhD
Scientific director
Nuno Costa-Borges is an embryologist that has been involved in both research and clinical practice for over 15 years. As a PhD fellow of the Portuguese national funding agency for science, Nuno spent several years developing strategies to improve the efficiency of animal cloning, having accomplished the first animals successfully cloned in Spain in 2009. After finishing his PhD at the University Autonomous of Barcelona, he joined the embryology team of IVI Barcelona, where he has worked as a clinical embryologist. Later on, he co-founded Embryotools, where he has been devoted on offering training and consulting services to the IVF community worldwide. Additionally, as scientific director of Embryotools, Nuno has also been committed to the development of new IVF techniques, such as, the flicking method for the biopsy of blastocysts or spindle transfer for mitochondrial replacement in oocytes and embryos. Nuno’s work has led to several peer-reviewed publications and he has been invited speaker in numerous international conferences and scientific meetings, as well as awarded with prestigious prizes and grants.

General management


David Raga
Finance Department

Laboratory staff


Enric Mestres, PhD
Laboratory manager
Mònica Acacio, MSc
Alba Casals
Laboratory technician
Andrea Villamar
Laboratory technician
Queralt Matia, MSc
Laboratory technician
Carolina Castelló, BSc
Albert Martínez, MSc
Laboratory technician




Lara Pérez
Office Manager
Carles Ortega Ragull
Software Developer

External scientific advisors


Dagan Wells, PhD
Scientific Advisor
Dagan Wells has been actively involved in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and the study of human gametes and embryos for over two decades, conducting his first PGD cases in 1992. He spent several years developing novel PGD tests at University College London, accomplishing the first comprehensive chromosome analysis of cells from human embryos in 1998, using a combination of whole genome amplification and comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH). In 1999 Dagan moved to the United States and joined Reprogenetics, one of the world’s largest providers of PGD services. In 2003 he initiated Reprogenetics’ highly successful single gene PGD program, testing embryos for numerous serious inherited conditions. Dagan later joined the faculty of Yale University Medical School, where he spent four years running a research laboratory, before returning to the UK in late 2007. His research group is now located in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford. Dagan’s work has led to the publication of more than 120 peer-review publications and book chapters and has been recognized with the award of numerous prizes and grants. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and currently serves on the Editorial Boards of several international journals. Dagan also directs Reprogenetics-UK, an independent laboratory offering state-of-the-art PGD services to IVF clinics throughout the UK and internationally.
Klaus Wiemer, PhD
Scientific Advisor
Dr. Klaus Wiemer has an extensive clinical and scientific background and experience in cell and embryo culture, cryopreservation of embryos, embryo morphology and assessment, co-culture, blastocyst development, IVF lab design, and supervision. He has extensive experience in all aspects of clinical embryology. He received his doctorate in Reproductive Physiology (Embryology) in 1989 from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA. Dr Wiemer has over 20 years of experience directing IVF Laboratories and has been involved in over 10,000 IVF procedures. He was the Scientific Director of the Institute for Assisted Reproduction, Charlotte, NC, USA for 10 years, and Laboratory Director for NorthWest Center for Reproductive Sciences, Kirkland, WA, USA for 7 years. He currently directs several embryology laboratories and is a founding partner in the newly formed Poma Fertility Center. Dr Wiemer has published over 75 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics in the area of clinical embryology. His main interests are in embryo culture systems, improving laboratory outcomes and studying the effects of follicular stimulations on subsequent oocyte and embryo quality. He is currently conducting research on developing an embryo morphology grading system that can be used to predict rate and quality of blastocyst development. Other projects include various aspects of oocyte as well as blastocyst vitrification systems.
Klaus Rink, PhD
Scientific Advisor
German physicist, specialized in experimental physics, fluent in English and French. He is renowned for research and development of laser products for medical applications in the fields of in vitro fertilization, tissue welding and the treatment of kidney stones. In 2000 he co-founded OCTAX Microscience GmbH in Germany. OCTAX develops and manufactures IVF medical equipment, ranging from therapeutic to diagnostics appliances. OCTAX is reputed worldwide for producing the most reliable and accurate laser equipment, researched and developed by Dr. Rink since 1992. Scientific achievements: /1st birth after laser assisted hatching (1.48 μm) /1st birth after laser assisted blastomere biopsy and PGD /1st birth after laser assisted polar body biopsy /1st birth after laser assisted immobilization of spermatozoa /1st pregnancy after laser assisted zona drilling for ICSI /1st pregnancy after laser assisted removal of necrotic blastomeres from cryopreserved embryos
Etienne Van den Abbeel, PhD
Scientific Advisor
Etienne Van den Abbeel obtained his MSc in Chemical Engineering in 1974. In 1983 he moved to the reproductive biology research group of the Dutch-speaking Free University to work with Professor Andre Van Steirteghem. His research focused on cryobiology and cryopreservation, optimizing gamete and embryo selection and in vitro culture. Etienne Van den Abbeel was a principal investigator and copromotor of several research projects granted by the Belgian government (FWO and IWT) . In 1987 he became a Senior Clinical Embryologist and expert research scientist at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine of the University Hospital of the Dutch-speaking Brussels CRM which was directed by Professor Andre Van Steirteghem and Professor Paul Devroey. The Brussels CRM, famous for its landmark research in reproductive medicine became one of the most successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) units worldwide. In 2006, at the Brussels Free University, he defended succesfully a thesis to become PhD in Medical Sciences. He obtained the ESHRE Certificate of Senior Clinical Embryologist in 2008. In 2010 he moved to the Centre of Reproductive Medicine of the University Hospital of Gent, Belgium and took the position of IVF Laboratory Director. He also holds the title of Professor in Clinical Embryology at the University of Ghent. His research topics continued to be on cryobiology and cryopreservation, culture and selection of mammalian gametes and embryos. Etienne Van den Abbeel has authored or co-authored over 80 peer reviewed papers and chapters in books. Etienne Van den Abbeel has been more than 200 times an invited lecturer and presented some 250 accepted oral and poster communications at scientific meetings and seminars. He is a reviewer for 15 different scientific journals. He is currently also a member of several national and international professional organisations, a past coordinator of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Special Interest Group in Embryology and from 2009 till 2013 has been a member of the Executive Committee of ESHRE .

Business Advisor

Søren Leth Ankerstjerne, MBA
Business Development Advisor
Former COO for Unisense FertilITech A/S and strategic Advisor for Esco Medical, Søren Leth Ankerstjerne has joined Embryotools as an advisor within business development. Søren will also support Embryotools partners and customers with knowledge of the rapid changes within the technology field of IVF and provide guidance for clinics which are considering investments into Time lapse systems, bench top incubators and workstations. As former COO of Unisense FertiliTech A/S, Søren was part of the successfully market introduction of the EmbryoScope Time-lapse System and the great change process which the company went through, going from a small research company in Denmark, to a globally known IVF supplier in more than 30 Countries. Before his duties in Unisense FertiliTech A/S, Søren was the Sales & Supply Chain Director in one of Europe’s largest IT infrastructure companies and a board member of several Danish and European companies. Søren got his Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Aarhus and Officer in the Danish Armed Force. His expertise varies from designing and implementing global strategies for Medical devices and services, to strategic sourcing and supply chain management. Søren have received several honors for his work. In the year 2000, he received the “Honorary Prize” from the Danish Officer Association. In 2007, Mr. Ankerstjerne was selected to “Berlingske Business”, list of the 100 most promising business talents in Denmark below 35 years. Søren have participated in a numerous of acquisitions and been actively involved in 3 exit processes. He is a member of the Danish Management Society, (VL-grupperne). Besides being a strategic advisor for MedTech companies Søren is involved as a partner in a emerging technology company. Søren is looking forward to supporting Embryotools and finds the idea and concept very promising and a “perfect match for the future needs of an IVF clinic and their suppliers”.