Happy World Embryologist Day!
Liesl Nel-Themaat & Thomas Elliott25 July 2018
July 25th 2018 marks a very special day. The birthday of Louise Brown, the first IVF baby. Since then more than 8 million IVF babies have bought unimaginable happiness to parents who might other wise never be able to know such joy. As we all celebrate 40 years of IVF there will be many articles reliving the history, progress and future of assisted reproductive technology. I wanted to take a look at this special moment through the eyes of some very special people, the embryologists who make this all happen.
Being an embryologist is in my opinion on of the most unique and fulfilling careers in existence. You literally hold life in your hands every day and see new future human beings come into existence. No other profession can say the same. Sometimes I just want to stare at the eggs after ICSI in awe of the miracle that is unfolding right in front of my eyes (of course I don’t, as they need to back into the incubator…but it is always tempting!). I thank God every day for giving me the career that I have and the privilege to be entrusted with new life where it begins. I always thank my patients for giving me the honor of being their first baby sitter. They LOVE that!
I have been an embryologist 23 years now and it has been a truly wonderful experience - Embryology is my life. I have had the great pleasure of talking to Bob Edwards and many of the great people who pioneered this field. I work with truly unique people of whom I have great respect. I love the challenge of trying to perfectly execute each embryology task. I have a life and career that has been exciting, dynamic and fun, but most of all I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of a team giving happiness that only a child can bring.
25 years this October and counting. I've been fortunate and blessed to have been trained by some of the first embryologists who made the move from animal to human IVF. I've met some wonderful people with solid integrity and ethics and have seen the opposite, as well. I can't imagine doing anything else, especially in a field that continues to grow and amaze me. The long hours, frustrating cases, and forever late doctors make it all worthwhile when the family returns and reintroduces me to that blastocyst I transferred many months previously.
After almost 30 years in the IVF lab I am still amazed daily that these tiny cells make beautiful babes!! I still love to see a nicely arranged 8 cell and a beautiful blastocyst makes me smile!!😁
25 years and counting, I get to see miracles everyday! My daughter wants to follow in my footsteps. The long hours and weeks without a day off are forgotten when our patients are successful 😍
Julie Romero Dupre
Human embryologist since 1999. The collaboration in this field and the connection we have with other professionals to create better outcomes for patients still impresses me. Industry is filled with brilliant, caring, nurturing and passionate professionals! I am proud to be part of this secret society of scientists that are content without recognition or glory. Just knowing I played a role in building families makes the long hours and personal sacrifice worth it.
Ashley Haine Wong
I’ve only been an embryologist for 9 short years but I don’t know any other profession that is more rewarding than ours. The long days, the TESE samples that we spend hours looking for that one sperm, and the difficult biopsies are all worth it when your patient comes to the office with their precious child and you see the giant smile on their face and realize you helped them make their dreams of becoming a parent a reality.
This is me holding my newborn nephew...that I made!
An embryologists perspective on the care we give and the stresses we experience! This could be an all day event. For me, one word sums it up, PASSION. Many of us “true embryologists” we have an unexplainable passion for what we do. We understand the depth of not only knowledge, but also emotion and psychology in everything we do. In any given day we experience joy, sadness, stress, pressure, anger, frustration, laughter, and happiness. We break out in a cold sweat with the mistaken notion that we may have made a mistake, but then realize we already triple checked that and it was correct all along. We lay in bed at night hoping for fertilization from that awful TESE case and praying all of that QC does not fail us and the alarms do not call our phones. We are anxious to get to work in the morning to see if we have blasts to biopsy for the patient that had all aneuploids last time. We are not just bench technicians following a protocol. And our job does not stay in the lab when we leave. We hear the stories behind these cases and we take to heart that everything we do has profound meaning and impact. Different personalities may see this job differently, but if you’re an embryologist, you are likely type A, and you are likely anal! Even though we perform these amazing procedures every day, we don’t lose perspective or become desensitized to it because we also see or talk to the patient that belongs to those eggs or embryos or sperm and we see how desperately they want to have this child and how all of their hopes and dreams are in our hands, literally!! The years they have gone through to get to this point, and we walk into the room with their catheter “confirming one embryo for Suzy and Joe”. We watch the ultrasound screen and glance over at the patient to see the tears running down her cheeks as she holds her partners hand. How could we not feel the incredibleness of what we do each day. With that, comes immense pressure and stress, but the reward of a pregnant patient and seeing them visit with their baby far outweighs all of the stress, anger, long hours, weekends, PITA patients, PITA docs, and even the sad stories and unsuccessful cases. It’s a passion that I have not seen anyone else have for any other job. Friends often ask, “what is your dream job?” Well, i have it! There is nothing else i would rather do! I was fortunate enough to teach applied embryology for 10 years and many of my former students are now successful embryologists and share my passion. What an amazing feeling when my students would text their excitement when they performed their first ICSI or first transfer! They share my passion and it’s an awesome feeling. Bring on the stress. We can take it.
Debbie Bazzett Venier
To me being an embryologist means being amazed every time I look at an embryo and realizing it may one day be a human....and I was part of making it possible.
I’ve been an embryologist for 18 years. When I explain to people exactly what I do, they often exclaim “That’s such a cool job!”
That’s being an embryologist in a nut shell - it’s an amazingly cool job.
I’m often humbled by the level of trust and responsibility our patients bestow upon us. The ability to create the potential for a new life during my work day never ceases to amaze me.
What we do, and the fact that we can do it is incredible. There are few experiences more rewarding and affirming than holding a sweet baby that you helped to create in your arms. Helping couples to become parents has been one of my greatest honors.
This honor wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work of pioneer embryologist and the continued efforts of current day embryologists. To all my colleagues and pioneers in our field I thank you for your dedication and passion. I wish everyone 100% fertilization on World Embryologist’s Day!
Lareina F. Welch
29 years and counting! I got into this unsung hero profession by an accident. Not one day go by where I regret working holidays, weekends and long hours leaving my family at home because I know I am helping others what I have at home! I just saw this afternoon a beautiful 2 year old girl that I was part of her life! I can not smile enough and very thankful that I have stumbled into this profession 29 years ago!
It’s mind blowing to realize I’ve been in this field since it’s infancy! 30 years and counting. Can’t imagine doing anything else. When your job performance shows In a soft bundle of joy 9 months later who couldn’t think “this is the most rewarding job imaginable!” 🤓
Michelle McShane Gaona