Introduction and Information

The ARCS Competency Portfolio is designed to provide a flexible training framework for HFEA-licensed centres to deliver externally-assessed training for their support staff. Three core modules are compulsory for all those choosing to undertake the ARCS modular training. These core modules cover key underpinning knowledge required as a member of the multidisciplinary team within a licensed centre. Upon completion of the three core modules, candidates and their employers can “pick and mix” from the task based modules as required. A summary of each module can be found in the ARCS Competency module summary.

Activities are designed to give the candidate a sound base on which to build their professional practice. The balance between taught and self-directed learning will be set by the supervisor in line with the candidate’s existing knowledge and aptitude. In each module, the candidate is invited to use a range of methods to demonstrate their understanding, such as diagrams, tables, bullet point lists or discussions with their supervisor. Use of reflective learning, case studies, participation in or observation of activities such as consultations or treatment events and undertaking practical tasks can all contribute to a rounded learning experience to meet the candidate’s training needs.

Both candidates completing the modules and their supervisor must be registered members of ARCS.

Entry Requirements:

Candidates will require a minimum academic achievement at A level (including at least one science A level) or relevant level 3 vocational qualifications in healthcare science and some relevant experience of working in healthcare science.

Please refer to the ARCS Workforce recommendations which provides professionally-agreed guidance on the academic requirements and employment banding for the roles and responsibilities for laboratory tasks within the HFEA-licensed clinic.

For more information including module costs and rules and regulations please see the ARCS Competency Portfolio application form.  To apply, download and complete the application form and email to

For examples to show curriculum guidance and the assessment requirement in core modules please click here.

Modules Available:

Core Knowledge themed units:

Module 1: Introduction to Laboratory Practice in the HFEA-Licensed Reproductive Science Laboratory

Module 2: Principles and Organisation of Services in the HFEA-Licensed Fertility Clinic – for Assistants

Module 3. Reproductive Science – Human Body Systems

By understanding the fundamentals of reproductive science, it allowed laboratory procedures to become clearer and gave an understanding of why we carry out some techniques and the process we follow.

Additional task-based units:

Module 4: Procedures for Witnessing in the HFEA Licensed Fertility Clinic

Module 5: Monitor and maintain the cryopreservation facility in the HFEA-licensed Fertility Clinic

Module 6: Identify and instruct individuals providing semen samples in the HFEA-Licensed Fertility Clinic

Module 7: Check documentation of consent in the HFEA-Licensed Fertility Clinic

Module 8: Check documentation of test results

Module 9: Semen assessment in the context of the HFEA Licensed Fertility Clinic

Module 10: Prepare culture systems for gametes and embryos in the HFEA-licensed Reproductive Science laboratory

Module 11: Prepare documents for the transport of gametes and embryos to and from other Fertility Clinics

Module  12: Monitor air quality in the HFEA-Licensed Fertility Clinic

Quotes from students:

The module was really interesting to complete.


A refresher for the reproductive biology that has been previously studied, while adding practical embryology questions.


The module covered all vital aspects any person working in an embryology lab should have.