Having undertaken a degree course in Biological Sciences at Plymouth University in England, which covered a wide range of biology topics but specialized in Cell and Microbiology, I decided that I wanted to pursue a laboratory career. Following my college degree course, I spent a lot of time searching for the right career and eventually I decided upon the field of clinical human embryology. I have worked in many different clinics over the past sixteen-year period and I have come to realize that I am much better suited to a smaller clinic environment. It is for this reason that I was very pleased to work with Dr. Kevin Johnson in this very personal clinic.
My previous position was in Leeds General Infirmary, England, where I worked for over three years. At the time Leeds was one of the largest IVF centers in the world. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), sets a code of conduct for clinics to follow, and licenses clinics in England. In order to be able to practice Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), it is necessary to follow an extensive training schedule including the injection of over 50 aged oocytes, followed by an inspection by a licensed inspector. It is only after this has been successfully passed that a person can carry out clinical ICSI injections. I have been inspected by the HFEA to undertake ICSI, and I have now been carrying out clinical injection procedures for many years. I routinely have very good survival and fertilization rates, resulting in good pregnancy rates.
Although I have received my certification as an Embryology Laboratory Director from the American Board of Bioanalysis (ABB), I still carry out the full range of embryology procedures within the laboratory. I feel that the best way to direct a successful laboratory is to work in the laboratory, as that is the best way to guarantee that the correct procedures are as valid today as when they were originally implemented. The only way for the laboratory to improve is to constantly evaluate the way it works, and quickly be able to evaluate and introduce new procedures as they become available.
A number of years ago I completed a course in Embryo Biopsy for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. This was followed by an extensive period of training ending in my ability to perform embryo biopsy and fixation. This has increased the availability of this exciting investigative tool for our patients, and this is an area that we will continue to evaluate so that we will always be able to offer the most current use of the procedure. To that end, we have achieved world-class success rates in our PGD program, and now offer 24 chromosome array CGH (comparative genomic hybridization).
Shaun also writes the occasional blog post about embryology and the IVF process. You can find his posts here!
“Although we may never reach 100% pregnancy rates with IVF, my goal is to continually strive for the best pregnancy rates possible. This is accomplished by keeping abreast of the very latest developments in the field, assessing them for clinical applicability and then bringing these advances to fruition in a state-of-the-art laboratory. However, it is also my responsibility to give the lab a human face, and interact fully with couples as they advance through the many facets of treatment.”