The International IVF Initiative - i3


International IVF Initiative



Webinar and extra footage from real life disaster situations ( unabridged):

Tuesday, 24th October (3 pm EDT / 8 pm UK / 9 pm CET)


The webinar "When Disaster Strikes: Your Embryology Lab's Survival Guide" focused on helping IVF clinics prepare for and respond to emergency situations that could impact their operations. Moderated by Drs. Fadi Choucair, Tricia Adams, and Chelsey Leisinger, the webinar featured lessons learned from past disasters, steps for developing emergency and continuity plans, assessing potential costs and liability, and advice from clinics that experienced real-life catastrophes. Presenters Natalie Hesketh, Kristen Ivani, Steve Katz, and Drs. Hiromitsu Hattori, Michael Baker, Bhushan K. Gangrade, Ellen Stringfellow, and Ineabelle Collazo covered key topics like risk assessment, contingency protocols, safeguarding embryos and equipment, and budgeting for preventative measures. The webinar provided practical guidance to IVF clinic staff on disaster preparedness strategies to minimize risks and ensure their labs are ready to handle the unexpected. There was also a Q&A session with the audience. Overall, the webinar emphasized proper planning and protocols to enable IVF clinics to continue operations and recover quickly when disasters occur.

Dr. Fadi Choucair

Dr. Fadi Choucair is the scientific manager and the lead clinical embryologist at Sidra Medical and Research Center, ESHRE certified senior embryologist. He has 13 years of experience as an embryologist. Dr. Choucair is also the chair of the Middle East Fertility Society embryology special interest group. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Translational Medicine. Dr. Choucair is actually a lecturer at the Lebanese University. He also provides lectures for medical residents at the American University of Beirut.

Tricia Adams

Tricia L. Adams M.S., T.S, (ABB), is a Laboratory Manager with Ovation Fertility, in Central Louisiana. She participates in the organization and success of two neighboring laboratories who play a role in active research for the Ovation Network and in aiding families on their reproductive journey. Tricia has worked as an embryologist for several years and has obtained her Technical Supervisor Certification and progressed her career within the Ovation Network.Tricia earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Southeastern Louisiana University. As an undergraduate, she participated in transgenic research at the Louisiana State University Reproductive Biology Center. This research led to her acceptance into the LSU Graduate School program. She then completed her Master of Science in Animal Sciences with a focus in Reproductive Physiology and Biotechnology. Tricia is currently pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Clinical Sciences program at LSU.

Dr. Chelsey Leisinger

Chelsey Leisinger, PhD, HCLD/CC earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University, and her Master’s degree at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in reproductive physiology.
She obtained her PhD in biomedical and veterinary medical sciences, with a focus on reproductive physiology, at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.
Over the years she has worked with several domestic species including cattle, sheep, alpacas, and horses. For the past 10 years Dr. Leisinger has been working in human IVF. She began as an embryologist in Kansas City, then worked batched cycles at a busy lab in Seattle before joining Ovation Fertility where she is currently a laboratory director and oversees 4 laboratories.
She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine where she assists in the education of graduate students and the operation of an ART lab for domestic animals.

Natalie Hesketh

Natalie has had over 20 years’ experience in the IVF industry. She began her career in Embryology and has worked at multiple centers across Australia in roles ranging from Team Leader, Laboratory Manager, Clinical Trials Coordinator and Principal Scientist.
Natalie’s current role is Fertility Laboratories Director for the Genea wide group. She is responsible for compliance, QA, development and implementation of novel technologies and science into the Genea laboratories to ensure the best success rates for Genea patients. Her current interests include optimization of efficiency in the laboratory, safety in the laboratory and cryostorage management.

Dr. Kristen Ivani

Kristen Ivani completed both her BS and MS degrees in Animal Science with an emphasis in reproductive physiology. She earned her PhD degree in Physiology with the Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology group at Colorado State University. Kristen served as the IVF Laboratory Director at the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area in San Ramon, CA for over 30 years before recently turning over the reins and being promoted to part-time embryologist and consultant.

In her free time, she enjoys sharing her love of embryology, studying the legal and ethical aspects of ART, and doing anything outdoors. She also enjoys her “other” director job as a volunteer camp director at Two Sentinels Girl Scout camp which has provided backpacking experiences in the Sierra Nevada mountains for over 80 years.

Steve Katz MD

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.

Thank you to Dr. Hiromitsu Hattori, Dr Michael Baker, Dr. Bhushan K. Gangrade, Dr. Ellen Stringfellow and Dr. Ineabelle Collazo


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