The International IVF Initiative - i3


International IVF Initiative



This webinar is kindly sponsored by TMRW Life Sciences

More details on the TMRW solution mentioned in the webinar here:

Description: International IVF Initiative(I3)- Online Session 104: BEST PRACTICES IN CRYOSTORAGE

Tuesday, 18th October at 3pm EST, 2022. [ 133mins]
Course outline/synopsis:

Moderated by Senior Embryologist Dr Mina Alikani, President of Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine and British patient advocate and broadcaster Natalie Silverman this online session dealt with issues concerning the problems faced by clinics around the world with the increasing rising inventory of frozen specimens after IVF.
The moderators were joined by an experienced panel consisting of a senior embryologist from Europe, Christianna Makri, lab managers from two large UK clinics Charissa Watchorn and Anastasia Mania and the vice president of clinical strategy of the TMRW group, embryologist Cynthia Hudson.

Mina Alikani introduced the session describing the demands and dilemmas facing IVF clinics that host cryostorage in their clinics and discussed a recent abstract that Christianna Makri had presented at Fertility 2022 on a policy of detailed auditing Dewars and management of returning patients for frozen/thawed cycles.
Dr. Michael Collins, presented his companies published data on the practises of current specimen retrieval and handling times of frozen samples when using the traditional manual way to store biological material in Dewars while Glenn Proctor, Chief Operations Officer for Conceptions Reproductive Associates of Colorado, an early adopter of an automated system of storing frozen samples after IVF described his experience and his impression of new technologies being used to track and secure samples safety and presented how his clinic manage new and “legacy” samples in an efficient and modern manner.
Dr. Steven Katz introduced the topic of insurance into the webinar by illustrating how a clinic is appraised and what are risk factors that should be addressed. He describes examples of ways to mitigate risk including storing offsite the cryopreserved specimen from IVF which was followed by the final talk by Robert Perkinson, an expert in biorepositories, describing the process of off-site storage for IVF patients and clinics.
The webinar was concluded by a question-and-answer section including all of the speakers, moderators and panelists.


Dr. Mina Alikani
Natalie Silverman

Christianna Makri
Charissa Watchorn
Anastasia Mania
Cynthia Hudson

Dr. Michael Collins: The perils of manual specimen retrieval from IVF
Glenn Proctor: Banking the future?
Dr. Steven Katz: Can you insure an IVF Clinic?
Robert Perkinson: Transforming off-site storage for IVF patients and clinics

Panel discussion and Q and A.



Michael has 25 years of reproductive health experience spanning medical affairs, clinical development, drug discovery, scientific communication, regulatory affairs, and managed markets and business development. He has also played an important role in the expansion of the reproductive health business units at both Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Organon Inc.

While at Ferring, Michael held various positions, including Director of Scientific Training, before moving to Director of Strategic Accounts, a role in which he built and led a strategic account team in the successful execution of several high-profile programs and projects.

Michael holds a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Reproductive Physiology from Louisiana State University and has published work on many different levels within scientific literature. He is a member of ASRM, The Endocrine Society, and the Society for the Study of Reproduction, where he was appointed to the Annual Meeting Industry Relations Committee in 2013.

At TMRW, Michael spearheads the development, design, and execution of laboratory studies, and then helps to communicate the findings. As a non-clinical scientist, Hs primary goal is to continue to scientifically define the TMRW platform.




Natalie Silverman is a born talker, having started her radio career as a 16 year old. She has worked in commercial radio and as a professional voiceover artist and launched. The Fertility Podcast in 2014 once pregnant after ICSI. To date The Fertility Podcast has shared over 9000 hours of patient stories and expert advice and Natalie works as a patient advocate on a mission is to empower, educate and support people in her community. In January 2020, Natalie co-founded Fertility Matters at Work (FMAW) alongside Becky Kearns and Claire Ingle, all three women have lived experience of fertility struggles and managing their treatment and work. Since launching its education and training tools in November 2021 FMAW has received ongoing mainstream press coverage with Natalie being interviewed recently by BBC News about an upcoming Parliamentary Bill proposing statutory rights for fertility treatment.


Christianna is a Clinical Embryologist with 8 years of experience in the field. As a member of the Institute of Life’s lab, which is one of the most technologically advanced IVF units in Europe, she has developed an innovative mindset and has gained great experience in all IVF techniques.
She holds a M.Sc. in Reproductive and Regenerative medicine and is about to start her Ph.D.
She is head of cryostorage for the 6000 cycle a year clinic which houses the latest technologies in Greece and recently presented her findings on legacy samples using detailed auditing as a tool to determine clinic policy on sample management and ongoing demands at Fertility 2022. She is a natural communicator and also holds a special interest in the quality management and ISO certification demands of an IVF clinic. Other hobbies include photography and dancing.


Charissa is the Laboratory Manager and a Senior Embryologist at Southampton’s Complete Fertility Centre, a member of the Virtus Health global network of Fertility Clinics.

She is HCPC registered, ACE and ESHRE certified, and is currently working towards Fellowship with the Royal College of Pathologists after her completion of FRCPath Part 1. With over 15 years of experience as an Embryologist, Charissa was nominated to join the Association of Reproductive Scientists – ARCs (formerly ACE) as an Executive Committee member and served as Committee Treasurer.

Having built her leadership expertise in UK private and public health sectors, Charissa is now leading on the relocation of Complete Fertility and developing a brand-new IVF lab for 2023.


Anastasia Mania has been actively involved in fertility treatment and research since graduating in Molecular Biology at University College London (UCL) in 2004.
She joined the clinical team at UCL working on preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening (PGD and PGS) whilst at the same time obtaining her MSc in Pre-implantation Genetics and Fetal Medicine (2007).
During her time at UCL she got her first taste for research when investigating chromosomal changes in embryos. Spurred on by this, she began her clinical training in Embryology at a large NHS teaching Hospital in London, where she coordinated the PGD service until 2013. During this time, she became ACE and HCPC registered and taught as an honorary lecturer at Imperial College London’s Masters in Reproductive Biology.
Anastasia then joined a very successful private London unit as a senior embryologist where she became very proficient in oocyte vitrification and blastocyst biopsy. Whilst there, she became team leader for the research group and has published several papers.
Anastasia is passionate about improving pregnancy outcomes and applying the latest research to her clinical work while caring for the patient. Now at King’s Fertility, she is excited about the road ahead.


Mina is a Clinical Embryologist, certified as a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director (HCLD) and Clinical Consultant (CC) by the American Board of Bioanalysis. She obtained her PhD in 2006 from Monash University under the mentorship of Professors Alan Trounson and Steen Willadsen. During her 35+ year career, she has focused on improving IVF laboratory performance and outcomes via meticulous practice, detailed observation, embracing of new and bold technologies, and teaching and training of others to do the same.
Mina has lectured worldwide on ART topics and has authored and co-authored more than 80 articles and book chapters on laboratory aspects of assisted reproduction. She is an editor of RBMO and currently the President of Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of TMRW Life Sciences.


Glenn Proctor has been very involved in the fields of IVF and genetics for over 20 years. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina and earned a Masters in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina. His science career began at the Greenwood Genetic Center, where he was trained in procedures for diagnosing genetic conditions. Glenn’s passion for helping patients eventually propelled him into the unique field of embryology. He has had the privilege of working with world-renowned embryologists throughout his career, which has enhanced his skills and knowledge in the field. Glenn is drawn to the daily challenges that each IVF case presents; and ultimately the reward of seeing patients achieve their dream of building their family.
Glenn has been with Conceptions Reproductive Associates of Colorado since 2010 where he currently operates as the Chief Operations Officer and is an owner in the company. Glenn Is also still very involved in the daily procedures and decision making in the Embryology and Andrology laboratories.
In Glenn’s spare time, he likes to spend quality time with his family and participate in all the various outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer. Glenn is an avid hunter, fisherman, camper, and skier, so Colorado is the perfect playground.



Rob’s career spans over twenty years of demonstrated success in academia and biotechnology with a particular focus on improving cell handling, monitoring & safekeeping. He has designed and operationalized four state-of-the-art biorepositories at leading life science companies. Additionally, Rob led Glaxo Smith Kline to become the first biotech to automate & validate cryogenic storage & retrieval at the tube-level. Prior to GSK, Rob led biorepository, cell banking and scale-up operations at Centocor & Johnson and Johnson. He holds patents in cell culture media and therapeutic antibody formulation and has authored several scientific publications. At TMRW, Rob directs a concerted and conscientious effort to provide a robust off-site solution for IVF patients and clinics. Working collaboratively with the entire TMRW team, his mission is to provide licensed, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities that enable IVF clinics to ship, deposit, monitor, and request their irreplaceable cells.



Steven L. Katz, MD has focused his career solely on advanced reproductive care since 1995. A distinguished undergraduate at Cornell University, he received his medical degree with honors at Cornell Medical College in 1989, completed his residency in OB/GYN and a specialty fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of California, San Francisco. Over the past 20+ years, Dr. Katz has developed 4 unique IVF programs and maintained countless relationships with physicians, embryology lab directors and industry. In developing these IVF programs, he came to realize the lack of appropriate medical malpractice risk management and claims prevention and management in the REI practice environment. Dr Katz has now dedicated his professional life to creating REI Protect, LLC. REI Protect is the only risk management and medical professional liability program fully dedicated to REI practices and IVF laboratories in the US.

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