Happy World Embryologist Day: July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013Carole 2 Comments »

Last October, a few embryologists led by Liesl Nel-Themaat of Colorado Reproductive Endocrinology organized a survey of embryologists to see whether they’d like to organize a holiday to celebrate the profession of IVF technicians (embryologists and andrologists) . The survey is available on-line here.  Anyway, the results of the survey were:

Name of holiday: World Embryologist Day (the plural s was dropped to make it easier to pronounce) (43.75%) 

Date to celebrate: July 25, Louise Brown’s birthday (43.71%) The first IVF baby was Louise Brown and she is 35 years old today!! Happy Birthday Louise Brown!!

Celebrated by: All who work in IVF (48.76%)

How to celebrate: Clinic celebrations (lunch, drinks, gifts) where the clinics recognize the value of the scientific staff.  (Other suggestions for a  way to celebrate, “Have a world-wide web conference” received only 11% of the votes and and “Raise money for a fertility related charity” only garnered 18% of the support. Oh well, who doesn’t want a chance to party –especially at work.)

Here are some of the comments from IVF lab personnel who participated in the study. Some comments are thoughtful, some are sad and some are humorous. It reveals that embryologists are a diverse group of people, just like in any other profession.

Comments   #0 writes: Thank You.#0 writes: most other team members (i.e nurses, secretaries all already have their own ‘days’, we should restrict to embryologists.#0 writes: Love the idea#0 writes: Celebrate by having clinic celebrations and raise money for a fertility related cause!#0 writes: It is true that nurses and physicians have their own day. However lab personnel (embryologist and andrologists) don’t have. I strongly believe that andrologists should be recognized as well. IVF day is more suitable in my opinion.#0 writes: Both embryologists and andrologists should celebrate.#0 writes: waiting for the final result#0 writes: Why not have a day for embryologists, and a different day for IVF (including patients). Celebrate with 13, 14 and 15. Also, walks to raise awareness of ivf....#0 writes: world ivf day – aim should be to increase awareness among public to educate them regarding safety and global success rates. Conferences, press releases and other mass media activities can then be launched regionally to educate general public. Gives more importance to people working behind the scene… Who are literally non existent!#0 writes: Really?#0 writes: Not only should we encourage clinics to hold celebrations recognizing their embryology staff but I believe that embryology needs more public exposure. This can be achieved by having noted embryologists appear on radio/TV shows on the said day, have embryologists give lectures in colleges… (just a thought)..#0 writes: For survey question What should it be called. I hope everyone realizes that #2 (International Embryologists Day) is abbeviated IED. Not something that I want to be a associated with. Just a thought.#0 writes: My belief is that the Nobel prize was the official recognition of our relevant profession. Can be considered the apex of the embryology career. We embryologists need to claim for recognition, so, I prefer to save a day only for us. I would like to suggest that we adopt a mascot: The Australian Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) This bird builds its own incubator for the eggs. Then it controls and maintains the incubation conditions (temperature) for months. I’ve always seen it as a colleague!#0 writes: I was a bit disappointed to see that a majority of respondants selected Louise Brown’s birthday as the proper date to celebrate. I think it discriminates on the basis of species quite strongly; animals have made invaluable contributions to embryology (zebrafish, xenopus, chicken…need I continue?) in all fields whether research based or in the pursuit of clinical applications.#0 writes: Doctors, nurses and secretaries already have their own days. Andrologists as well as embryologists also deserve their day!#0 writes: I would suggest removing World from the name “World Embryologists Day”. An annual “Embryologists Day” will be easy to pronounced and recognized. How Should We Celebrate It? A combination of clinic celebrations and recognition by Reproductive medicine societies such as ASRM, ESHREE and other to recognize the value of the scientific staff.#0 writes: 1. Name: I would like World IVF Day. 2nd would be International IVF Day. IVF instead of embryology because I’m an Andrologist#0 writes: I like all three ideas of celebration#0 writes: We have a yearly “Baby Reunion”, which I actually dread attending. I am an embryologist. None of the patients know who I am. I see them give their love and gratitude to their doctor, their nurses, the financial specialist, and all the clerical staff who have greeted them over the days of their cycles. Again, no one knows who I am. And I’m of the opinion that the rest of the staff assumes we reside in the laboratory 24/7. In the evening, we just “power down”. How about a day just for us!#0 writes: Can someone define an “embryologist” or “scientist” for me?#0 writes: I would have said an embryologist only works in the embryology laboratory but a scientist may also include those who work in the Embryology, Andrology, Endocrine, Genetics or Ultrasound departments or any combination of the above.#0 writes: Charities that raise money for fistula operations such as the Fistula Foundation I think would be a very worthy cause. Becoming aware of this third world problem has made me appreciate how lucky we are in countries like Australia and the access we have to excellent medical facilities including ART treatment.#0 writes: I would like to know what the distinction is between embryologist and scientists? Really many people working in the IVF laboratory make it run. There are andrologists, bench technicians performing retrievals and other duties, micromanipulators, etc. I guess I just don’t understand what makes someone an embryologist? Aren’t embryologists scientist?#0 writes: Love the idea#0 writes: I do agree with the idea that `Embryologists Day` should be more easy to pronounce and recognized and that the Australian Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) is a suitable mascot to the embryologist work!#0 writes: No#0 writes: Very good idea to be recognised world wide#0 writes: embryologists exchange programmes between different institutes for upgradation, training to the upcoming embryologists.#0 writes: A work so special deserve a special day!#0 writes: GREAT IDEA HOPE TO BE CELEBRATING IT NEXT YEAR !#0 writes: ART scientist day#0 writes: Make it a whole embryologist week!#0 writes: Thanks for creating another Hallmark Day/Holiday. How about something more substantive? How about organizing embryologists so that they could get a better share of their contribution, both financially and intellectually!!!#0 writes: It will be great day!!!#0 writes: An opportunity once in a year to be cherished about and to feel proud of the profession one is dedicated to.#0 writes: I trained with Bob Edwards at Bourn Hall and Cambridge University. I was therefore one of the first ever clinical embryologists. Any funds raised should go to the Edwards Steptoe Trust.#0 writes: We should have a day so our work will be appreciated!#0 writes: When Dr. Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize I tried to get the local news (both print and electronic) to pick up the AP feed and add a local piece recognizing the monumental honor and the influence he and Dr. Steptoe have had on our professional lives and our community. The media outlets had no clue or interest. This designation and worldwide promotion and backing would go a long way to help us be more than that guy behind the sliding window. We are all honored and privileged to be such a special part of these families lives but professional recoginition would go a long way to make us all feel that we have a legitimate role in outcomes!!!! Nurses get their due and Docs maybe too much – let’s keep this distinction for our own.#0 writes: it has to be a world embryologist celebration day. A online conference or surveys in different topics would be useful to get the ideas and future developments to passed on to all the embryologists around the .#0 writes: In line with the other ‘days’ celebrated, such as world heart day, we can agree on a theme for each year and the clinics, respective societies etc can celebrate in such a spread awareness and if possible collect funds for fertility related researches.#0 writes: Mas conferencias internacionales….#0 writes: how to clelebrate? couldnt agree more 🙂 Clinic celebrations (lunch, drinks, gifts etc) where the clinic recognise the value of the scientific staff (always busy in an isolated laboratory).#0 writes: Great idea!#0 writes: I believe who working in IVF clinic should be more important. this is a good idea. thanks a lot#0 writes: It is called world embryologist day…. Not world ivf day!!!

Anyway, if you are going through IVF now, don’t forget to thank your embryologist and andrologist. The vast majority of them work very hard with very little recognition. Your appreciation, no matter how small, goes a long way to putting a spring in their step.  Happy World Embryologist Day!!

© 2013, Carole. All rights reserved.

2 Responses to this entry

  • Debra Says:

    As a patient I would like to choose my clinic based upon the most proficient embryologist and andrologist professionals in the United States. Which are the top 5 labs in the US? Who are the current and practicing gurus?

  • Carole Says:

    Hi Debra,
    IVF is a team effort so the net quality of the outcome is dependent on having excellent lab staff, nursing staff, physicians and compliant patients. Although flawed, one indicator of quality is a high pregnancy rate- at least better than the national average. This indicator is flawed because high pregnancy rates can come at the cost of high multiple gestation- not a healthy outcome in many cases- but pregnancy data is what is publicly available. This site ranks clinics- http://fertilitysuccessrates.com/report/United-States/women-under-35/data.html. AMong these top 25 programs, I would discount those programs that do very few cyc1es (say less than 100)because you want to see a high rate sustained over many cycles (say 200-500 or more). You can check out the clinics in your area from this link http://www.sart.org/find_frm.html.and also find the national average rate. The other problem with the CDC/SART reported rates, is that they are two years old so much can change in program in a couple of years. SO these stats are the beginning. As a patient , the next step is for you to be well-informed about IVF – why I write this blog- and then “interview” the programs and docs you think might be good until you are satisfied with your choice. Good Luck!! Carole

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