Synopsis: The International IVF Initiative recently conducted a webinar focused on the latest advancements in fertilization techniques. Hosted by experienced embryologist Kimberly Kienast and Junior embryologist Neringa Karpaviciute, the session aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of current methods in conventional insemination and fertilization. The esteemed panel, featuring expert panelists Prof. Gianpiero D. Palermo and Dr. Caroline McCaffrey, shared invaluable insights and tips derived from their extensive experience in the field. The webinar explored various topics, granting behind-the-scenes access to state-of-the-art labs and uncovering the intricacies of molecular mechanisms driving fertilization. Dr. Caroline McCaffrey commenced the presentations with an insightful exploration of conventional insemination versus ICSI, and her experience with a microfluidic device for sperm preparation, setting the stage for an in-depth discussion. Dr. Zuzana Holubcová contributed a talk titled "Perfect date – uncovering the molecular bases of human fertilization," presenting new data on the molecular basis of human sperm-egg fusion. The webinar delved further into practical tips and insights from leading laboratories. Xavier Gonzalez addressed the crucial topic of "Improving sperm preparation," emphasizing advancements in this critical aspect, using techniques such as PICSI, AI, and sperm integrity tests for optimal results. Chaya Rothschild's presentation, "Vitrification of Sperm- Sounds like a Plan," explored innovative approaches to sperm preservation,. Dr. Debbie Montjean shared her expertise in "à la recherche du spermatozoïde parfait/ the perfect sperm," discussing the significance of enhanced sperm preparations including the use of techniques like AI. The session concluded with a dynamic question and answer segment, providing a platform for the audience to engage with the panelists and further explore the intricacies of fertilization.
Moderators: Kimberly Kienast Neringa Karpaviciute Panelists: Prof. Gianpiero D. Palermo and Dr. Caroline McCaffrey
Introduction by Dr. Caroline McCaffrey
"Perfect date – uncovering the molecular bases of human fertilization"- Dr. Zuzana Holubcová
“Improving sperm preparation” - Xavier Gonzalez
“Vitrification of Sperm- Sounds like a Plan” - Chaya Rothschild
“à la recherche du spermatozoïde parfait” - Dr. Debbie Montjean
Q and A
Kimberly has been the Laboratory Director at Fertility Center Hamburg since 2018. She has worked in IVF for 8 years now, after having obtained her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences from St. Georges, University of London and her Bachelor’s Degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. During her time at Fertility Center Hamburg she was responsible for introducing time-lapse imaging and ZyMot into routine practice. She is a ESHRE certified senior clinical embryologist since 2022 and completed the national embryologist certification in 2018.
Neringa Karpaviciute is an STP trainee clinical embryologist at Care Fertility Bath, UK. She obtained a BSc in Pharmacology from Queen Mary University London and an MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Biology from Imperial College London. Currently, she is completing her second MSc degree in Clinical Science (Embryology) as part of the STP training programme.
Her previous roles include being a research associate at the first virtual fertility clinic Apricity which focused on the decision-making of the number of embryos to transfer, 3D embryo reconstruction and a novel embryo classification system based on intracellular contact points. She also has experience in fertility clinic marketing, and scientific writing and is a passionate STEM ambassador. She has organised a series of events on fertility topics called Fertile Discussions, presented at international conferences and supervised master’s students’ thesis projects.
Prof. Gianpiero D. Palermo
Professor Gianpiero D. Palermo is a renowned figure in the field of reproductive medicine and andrology. He is the director of assisted fertilization and andrology at The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility and an associate professor at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Palermo is the developer of the revolutionary intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure in 1991, which has helped many men with severe forms of infertility to become fathers. He has personally performed thousands of successful ICSI procedures, which have resulted in many successful pregnancies and births. Dr. Palermo has continued active academic research in all fields of gamete and embryo biology, and has led to more than 12,000 ICSI cycles completed at the CRMI. He is a Blavatnik Family Professor of Reproductive Medicine at The Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine of Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Palermo's contributions to the field of reproductive medicine have revolutionized treatment for male-factor infertility and provided hope for couples struggling with infertility.
Dr. Caroline McCaffrey
In 2018, NYULFC joined the Prelude Network, a network of top-tier fertility centers across the United States offering comprehensive fertility care. Dr. McCaffrey is an active member of many national and international organizations including ASRM, the Fertility Preservation Special Interest Group, ESHRE, American College Of Embryology (ACE) as well as the NY Metropolitan Embryologist Society and has served on the Board of SART. Dr. McCaffrey has presented at national and international meetings as well as authored and co-authored many peer reviewed publications including several book chapters on various topics related to IVF.
Dr. Zuzana Holubcová
Dr Zuzana Holubcová obtained her Ph.D. for her work on the genetic instability of human embryonic stem cells. During her postdoctoral training in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK), she studied mouse and human oocyte development and pioneered live imaging techniques enabling visualization of chromosome segregation in maturing human oocytes. She pursues her research interest in oocyte and early embryo biology as a principal investigator at the Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University Brno. Here, she helped to design a master´s degree program in clinical embryology and lectures courses in medical and experimental embryology. Besides her academic role, she holds a position of a scientific advisor at the assisted reproduction clinic Reprofit International (member of the FutureLife consortium). She also served as a national representative in 2020-2023.
Xavier is a Senior embryologist who has developed his career over two countries and is now a Laboratory Manager at Aria embracing new embryology processes in order to deliver high success rates with a focus on patient care and experience. Aria's fully digitized setting has enabled the integration of AI to select gametes and embryos, while also embracing new technologies to enhance workflow efficiency.
Together with his laboratory-based embryology, Xavier is an active member of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists. His research has been shared with professionals after having been invited to speak at national and international conferences in the field of human reproduction, where he has shared his interest in reproductive genetics and non-invasive assessment of gametes and embryos. Academically, Xavier is a lecturer for the postgraduate degrees in women’s health, prenatal genetics and fetal medicine at University College London.
Chaya began working in an ART laboratory in 2015 and joined Maze Men’s Health in 2019 to oversee the implementation of Extended Sperm Search and Microfreeze (ESSM). She and her team collaborate with 30 IVF centers throughout the US and Europe to use their unique experience to address severe cases of male factor infertility. Chaya holds the AAB certifications in Embryology and Andrology Laboratory Sciences and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Biology.
Dr. Debbie Montjean
ospital (1994-1999) and he is presently a Chief Consultant at the National Hospital, Abuja. He was the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) at National Hospital from 2002 to 2004.
Dr. Debbie Montjean received her doctoral degree in 2011(University Paris VI) after she had graduated from a master’s degree in physiology and physiopathology with a specialization in reproductive and developmental biology (University Paris VII). Her PhD research project dealt with genetic and epigenetic anomalies associated with male infertility. Dr Debbie Montjean worked during 9 years as a clinical and research embryologist in France and she currently works as the IVF laboratories director at Fertilys fertility clinics (Canada).