The International IVF Initiative - i3

Session 97: Legacy Part 1

International IVF Initiative

Session 97: Legacy Part 1

Session 97: Legacy Part 1: Recruitment, training, talent management and succession planning.

Tuesday, 21st June at 3pm EST, 8pm UK, 9pm CET

Description: International IVF Initiative I3- Online Session 97-LEGACY PART 1 June 22, 2022
Course outline/synopsis:

Embryologists and stake holders in the IVF industry talk about the current need for embryologists globally. They discuss the changing challenges and demands of the embryologists, the demographics of the people working in an IVF laboratory and ways to retain, train and recruit embryologists into the workforce as more of the veteran embryologist retire.
An introduction by Eva Schenkman sets the scene for current demands in the workforce, while CEO of the Inception group of clinics, TJ Farnsworth, describes ways that a clinic can manage talent and plan for continuation of services through succession.
UK Embryologists Andrew Thomson and Alison Campbell describe the career routes and the challenges faced by trainee embryologists in the UK and a unique scheme to increase the number of trained embryologist by alliances with UK IVF clinics with Universities.
Dr Anderson explains the need for better recruitment in N. America and describes ways to accelerate training and attract graduates into a career of clinical embryologists.

The session was interspersed with video testimonials from embryologist around the world describing how they started in the field highlighting that there is no active recruitment or awareness of the profession of embryologist worldwide with perhaps the exception of Spain where, as Dr Gloria Calderon explains in detail in her lecture about the growing IVF market and dominance of Spanish led clinics
Together, the speakers and moderators formed a round table discussion centred around the recruitment and training of new embryologists with live questions from attendees of this webinar.

Giles Palmer, Bill Venier (W.E.S.T), Andrew Thomson and Dr. Gloria Calderon

Eva Schenkman: "Staffing-current demands"

TJ Farnworth: “Creating career pathways and retaining our talent in the lab”
Inception Fertility

Andrew Thomson “The UK perspective on training embryologists”

Dr. Alison Campbell: "Industry and academia-how we operate!"
Liverpool John Moores University  and CARE Fertility    Video

Dr. Tony Anderson: "What everybody needs to know"
IVF Academy USA

Dr. Gloria Calderon: "The Spanish Armada of young embryologists"

Q and A and wider discussion


Eva Schenkman, CLT (NY) TS (ABB), MS, PhD (cand), has been an Embryologist since 1992. She completed her undergraduate in Animal Science at Cornell University, where she trained with Robert H Foote, an early pioneer whose research led to in vitro fertilization in agricultural livestock, animal cloning and the discovery that female mammals are born with a finite inventory of eggs. She obtained her MS from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Embryology and Andrology and is currently working on her PhD in Reproductive Clinical Laboratory Science at EVMS. She holds an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Clinical Bioethics from Hofstra University and is licensed as a Technical Supervisor by the American Board of Bioanalysis as a Clinical Laboratory Technologist by the NYS DOH. She is affiliated with Mellowood Medical as a Business and Scientific Consultant for their EMR IDEAS, the World’s Premier provider of Fertility Clinic Management Software. As President of ARTLAB Consulting, she provides IVF laboratory services, teaching and training to IVF clinics and IVF workshops around the world.


Mr. Farnsworth is the CEO and Founder of Inception Fertility.

Mr. Farnsworth and his wife welcomed a baby after a two-year infertility journey, however the process left them frustrated. As a serial entrepreneur, Mr. Farnsworth recognized an opportunity to reshape the industry and improve the patient experience, and he launched Inception in 2014.

Today, Inception is the largest provider of comprehensive fertility clinics and services in North America and one that bridges together the latest science and technologies with a commitment to enhancing the patient experience.

Inception’s family of brands include The Prelude Network™ , the largest provider of comprehensive fertility services in the US; MyEggBank®, one of the largest donor egg banks in North America, and Bundl Fertility™ (Bundl), a multi-cycle fertility service bundling program.
Prior to Inception, Mr. Farnsworth founded SightLine Health in 2005, one of the largest providers of radiation oncology services in the US, with clinical operations in California, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, and Washington. For five consecutive years, SightLine Health was listed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the US. In 2010, it was named the fastest-growing company in Houston by the Houston Business Journal and the fourth fastest-growing healthcare company in the US by Inc. Magazine.

In addition to his active role as Founder and CEO of Inception, Mr. Farnsworth sits on the board of directors of CureDuchenne, a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In 2011, Mr. Farnsworth was named one of Houston’s 40 under 40 and was awarded the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Healthcare award.


Andrew is the Director of Embryology for the CRGW Group overseeing three embryology laboratories in Cardiff, Plymouth and Exeter as well as two andrology laboratories in Swansea and Bristol. He is the founder of IVF Scientific Advisory Service known as IVF SAS.
He has adopted a quality management heavy, evidence-based approach to ART and is passionate about patient access to care. He is actively involved in training reproductive
scientists to the highest standards.
He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2020 and subsequently, was appointed as an examiner for the college. He was awarded associate status of the National School of the Healthcare Science in 2022 due to his contributions as a training offer and final examiner for both the STP and HSST programmes as well as accrediting multiple laboratories to be approved national training
He has presented his research both nationally and internationally on multiple occasions and is a frequently invited speaker on a wide variety of topics including training and further
education. Andrew lectures at the University of Bristol each year and has also lectured at
multiple prestigious universities including the University of Oxford. Previously, he was the workplace supervisor for a PhD student at Cardiff University investigating devitrification and time lapse imaging algorithms after successfully applying for KESS2 funding.
In January 2020, he was awarded the Claire Gillott prize by the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists for outstanding contribution.


Dr Alison Campbell is the Chief Scientific Officer at CARE Fertility, an expanding and leading clinical group consisting of 14 embryology laboratories and around 150 Scientists, in the UK and Ireland. Alison has over 25 years experience in the field in Reproductive Medicine and has played a key role in establishing and integrating new laboratories, driving standards and best practice, and leading scientific research and development across the CARE group. Alison is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, an Associate Editor of Human Reproduction, a Section Editor of RBM Online and a member of the Alpha Scientists in Assisted Reproduction Executive Board. Alison has recently established a Masters degree course in clinical embryology in partnership with Liverpool John Moore’s University Masters degree in Clinical Embryology (starts Sept 2022).
Find out more in this video


Giles is a clinical embryologist, skilled in laboratory, business, and quality management. After graduating in Genetics at Leeds University, UK he worked as are search officer at London's Hammersmith Hospital's acclaimed IVF unit working with Professors Lord Winston and Alan Handyside. In the following years he worked as laboratory manager and clinic director in IVF clinics in Greece while consulting in several countries including Iceland, Nigeria, and the Balkan states. His research collaboration with St. Sophia' s Children's Hospital (Athens University) resulted in the first births in Greece following embryo-biopsy and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. He has published in leading scientific journals on a variety of topics including pre-implantation genetic testing for Cystic Fibrosis and B-thalassaemia, Morpho-kinetics, and Quality Management. He is a certified HCPC clinical scientist in the UK and has been accredited with Senior Embryologist Status by ESHRE. More recently, Giles, has become a consultant for IVF clinics, Institute of Life, Athens and Nordica Fertility Centre in Lagos and product developer in a wide range of areas within the industry. He is honorary lecturer at the University of Bristol MSc Reproduction and Development where he teaches quality management and careers advise.
He is the executive director for this non profit global educational project in Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), the International IVF Initiative.


Dr. Tony Anderson completed his Masters in Clinical Embryology studies at Leeds University, Leeds England under the direction of Professor Alan Handyside and Helen Picton. Tony’s studies focused on cryopreservation and non-invasive methods of predicting euploidy in early embryos. Tony completed his doctoral studies at a Nova Southeastern University, a private university in South Florida.
His studies included comparison of cryopreservation methods of oocytes and pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) of embryos for optimized outcomes.
Founder of IVF ACADEMY USA  and Embryo Director IVF Academy


Gloria was part of the first IVF team in Spain obtaining the first IVF pregnancies in Spain.
She has more than 40 years in the IVF scientific field, with expertise in clinical embryology, laboratory quality control and laboratory design with more than 200 publications and abstracts.
Her accomplishments include main Internal Scientific Advisor for IVI group since 2000 until 2013(25,000 cycles/year), member of the ALPHA-ESHRE consensus in Embryo morphology, lecturer of Master degree in Reproduction in 6 universities in Spain.
She and her group Embryotools provide consulting services in Spain, UK, France, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Hong Kong, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, China, Jordan, Bulgaria, India, Austria, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc, since 1991.


Nuno Costa-Borges is an embryologist that has been involved in both research and clinical practice for over 18 years. As a PhD fellow of the Portuguese national funding agency for science (FCT), Nuno spent several years developing strategies to improve the efficiency of animal cloning, having accomplished the first animals successfully cloned in Spain in 2009. After finishing his PhD at the University Autonomous of Barcelona, he joined the embryology team of IVI Barcelona, where he has worked as a clinical embryologist. Later on, he cofounded Embryotools, where he has been devoted on offering QC tests, training and consulting services to the IVF community worldwide. Additionally, as scientific director of Embryotools, Nuno has also been committed to the development of new IVF techniques, such as, the flicking method for the biopsy of blastocysts or the maternal spindle transfer technique to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial diseases or to treat infertility problems related to poor oocyte quality as alternatives to conventional oocyte donation programs. Nuno’s work has led to several peer-reviewed publications and he has been invited speaker in numerous international conferences and scientific meetings, as well as, awarded with prestigious prizes and grants. Stands out two recent awards, the PaperPrize of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in 2017 and the IVI foundation award in 2019. He produced the embryos that resulted in the first world’s babies following maternal spindle transfer for the treatment of infertility associated to poor oocyte quality.


Bill is certified by the American Board of Bioanalysts as an Embryology Laboratory Director. Bill has trained with some of the top industry professionals in the clinical IVF field in the US, UK, and Australia.

He has been the laboratory director at San Diego Fertility Center for 20 years. SDFC is a high volume laboratory with impressive success rates that rank at the top of the US. He has trained many embryologists over the years and has a reputation for training depth of knowledge in conjunction with benchtop techniques which is essential for an embryologist to develop troubleshooting skills. Bill has been a speaker at the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society and an invited expert guest on the Inside Reproductive Health podcast. He has served as a board member for the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) and is the founder of the Southern California Assisted Reproductive Biologists (SCARB).
Co-founder of W.E.S.T., World embryology skills and training


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