The better repair of human tissue is an urgent medical goal and in order to achieve a safe outcome there is a parallel need for sensitive, non-invasive methods of assessing the quality of the engineered tissues and organs prior to surgical implantation. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) can potentially fulfil this role. The current status of OCT as an advanced imaging tool in clinical medicine, developmental biology and material science is reviewed and the parallels to the engineering of living tissue and organs are discussed. Preliminary data are also presented for a tissue engineering bioreactor with in situ OCT imaging. The data suggest that OCT can be utilized as a real time, non-destructive, non-invasive tool to critically monitor the morphology of tissue-engineered constructs during their fabrication and growth.