The International IVF Initiative - i3

Session 71: About Time

International IVF Initiative

Session 71: About Time

Session 71: About Time

Tuesday 13th July, 2021. 3PM EST/ 8PM GMT / 9PM CET  

A session with a mix of short talks and lively discussions about staffing levels, workload and the changing role of the embryologist.

Dr. Thomas (Rusty) Pool
Dr. Rita Vassena
Dr. Julius Hreinsson

"Generations" Dr, Thomas (Rusty) Pool

"Recalculation: How Many Embryologists Do I Need?" Andrew Thomson

"The Nature of What We Do…Or The Excuse" Staci Lyn Wyatt

"Minding the Gaps: Reflecting on the State of Embryologists" Dr. Fadi Choucair

"Making Time for Compliance" Cassie Miller


Thomas B. (Rusty) Pool, Ph.D., HCLD(ABB) is the Scientific Director of the Fertility Center of San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA, a position he has held for 34 years. Prior to this, he was an Associate Professor of Cellular and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio where he worked on culture and cryobiology of non-human primate embryos. He is board member of the Pacific Coast Fertility Society and serves on the editorial boards of Fertility and Sterility and the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. His research interests have centered upon the physiology of the preimplantation human embryo and improvements to embryo culture technology.


Dr. Rita Vassena is the Scientific Director of the Eugin Group. In this position, she directs the group's international research, and directly supervises the basic research laboratory in Barcelona. She has more than 20 years of research and management experience in reproduction with more than 100 publications in international journals and book chapters; her main research interests are preimplantation embryo development and human ART policy. Dr. Vassena is Associate Professor of Translational Medicine at the University of Barcelona and Co-Director of the Master's in Human Assisted Reproductive Technology at Pompeu Fabra University.


Julius has a BSc in Biology from the University of Iceland and a PhD in Medical Science from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. His thesis work focused on in-vitro maturation of oocytes, culture of ovarian follicles and cryopreservation. Active in human embryology since 1991, Julius has worked as a laboratory director in both university and private clinics as well as working as a consultant embryologist and auditor for the Swedish and Danish Boards of Accreditation. He has been ESHRE certified as a senior clinical embryologist since 2008.
Julius has frequently presented research data at international congresses, courses and meetings and is currently a guest lecturer in embryology courses at the Karolinska Institute and the University of Toronto. He has chaired the Swedish Society of Reproductive Medicine and has authored over 40 research papers and book chapters. He is currently working as senior embryologist and operations developer at Minerva Fertility in Uppsala, Sweden.


Andrew joined the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine, UK in May 2021 as a Consultant Clinical Embryologist having previously led the scientific team and multiple laboratories at London Women’s Clinic.

He is one of just fourteen Reproductive Scientists to have attained Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, the highest accolade attainable in the UK. He is actively involved in training reproductive scientists to the highest standards as an assessor for both, the Royal College and the National School of Healthcare Science.

Andrew has lectured at multiple prestigious universities and is also the workplace supervisor for a PhD student at Cardiff University. He has presented his research both nationally and internationally on multiple occasions and is a frequently invited speaker on a wide variety of topics in the “webinar era”.

In January 2020, he was awarded the Claire Gillott prize by ARCS for outstanding contribution.


Staci is a trained senior embryologist, with twenty years of experience in the laboratory. She has worked for 4 practices, and is currently both an embryologist and a consultant for Meditab Software. As a consultant she is involved in Development, Sales, and Implementation for Fertility EHR, a specialized practice management tool and EMR for fertility practices. Aside from her professional work, Staci is also a mother of two and an enthusiast of all things health, fitness and wellness.


Dr. Fadi Choucair is the chair of the Middle East Fertility Society Embryology Specialty Interest Group and the lead embryologist at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. He holds a PhD in the field of transcriptomics and reproductive epigenetics from the University of Cote d’Azur, France. Dr. Choucair is a lecturer of Biology for graduate studies at the Lebanese University teaching pathophysiology of male sexual function, embryo cell signaling, research methodology and cell cycle. He also provides lectures for medical residents at the American University of Beirut. His research interests include sperm epigenome and oxidative stress..


Cassie Miller, Ovation® Fertility’s director of risk management, helps Ovation’s IVF labs maintain regulatory compliance while creating opportunities for next-level information and data sharing to drive performance improvement and reduce risk across the organization.

Miller’s primary focus is ensuring that Ovation’s employees have what they need to work safely, that embryos are protected, and that patient identification and privacy are maintained. By gathering, analyzing and sharing organization wide quality management data, she proactively identifies risks and implements appropriate preventative actions to minimize, mitigate or eliminate issues before they occur.

Miller joined Ovation in July 2019 as compliance manager, ensuring that each of Ovation’s laboratories were in compliance with all rules, regulations and laws that relate to the fertility care field. In this role, she standardized Ovation’s regulatory response and helped Ovation labs address ever-changing standards for privacy and safety, helping to ensure delivery of high-quality patient care.

Before joining Ovation, Miller served as Midwest territory manager for Irvine Scientific. She also has more than 20 years of hands-on clinical laboratory experience, including three years as an embryologist, andrologist, endocrinology specialist, and interim supervisor for Bennett Fertility Institute in Oklahoma City.

Earlier in her career, she spent more than a decade as a laboratory supervisor, lead medical technologist and blood bank supervisor for OU Medicine, Inc., in Edmond, Oklahoma. Prior to that, she worked for nearly nine years as a lead medical technologist for AllianceHealth Deaconess in Oklahoma City.

Certified as a medical technologist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), Miller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in clinical laboratory science and medical technology from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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