BY Dr. Carol Curchoe, 7/22/2019
World Embryologists Day is July 25th. It celebrates the profession of Embryology on the birthday of Louise Joy Brown, the world's first IVF baby.
Embryologists are a unique and interesting group of medical professionals, and we are integral to the success of your cycle. IVF clinics vary widely in their deployment of embryologists: at some clinics you may have no interaction at all with your lab team, in some clinics the embryologists do the majority of patient updating and counseling throughout the lab- portion of the cycle.
Many embryologists, like myself, have a PhD in reproduction, plus additional board certifications. I’m a “doctor” but NOT “that kind of doctor”! I’m not “your” doctor... but rather, your embryos are my “patients”. The highest levels of education and training are required for embryologists. I am not only your embryo's first surgeon, but I am also your embaby's first babysitter. I am a part of your family, although you will probably never meet me.
As a patient, you may be asking how you can know how much education and training the staff of an IVF practice has. There are so many rules and regulations around this exact issue from the professional society’s that govern IVF. (and enforce the federally mandated CLIA88 regulations). Until now, we have not had comprehensive digital education and training programs in the U.S. After all, the science of IVF is only 42 years old!
I’m the founder of the ART Compass platform, which does just that! A clinic’s investment in the education and training of staff, as well as a digital tool like ART Compass to manage staff competency, indicates its commitment to providing you the best patient experience possible. We also provide a single dashboard for REIs, embryologists, and patients to “meet” on. All your data - from embryo images to PGT results, can be at your fingertips.
One of my favorite procedures to perform is embryo freezing (vitrification). I feel as though I am putting your babies safely to sleep (on ice!) until you can come pick them up again. I do this with as much care and love (and science), as if I was putting an actual child to bed.
Patientswork so hard to reach the egg retrieval. Then they hand off their precious reproductive tissues- their eggs and sperm to us. The IVF lab is literally and figurativelya "black box". It is a windowless world, kept dark warm and humid- just like a human fallopian tube (the site of human embryo fertilization.)
It is a great joy in my life (and a great honor) to be able to reach out of my dark-windowless world to people TTC, with a LOT of love AND a little bit of science. You can ask me your Embryology question a on the FertilityAnswers app, and reach our educational content directly on our instagram @artcompassivf.
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