Just Married

Posted on October 11, 2005 by Inception Fertility
![](http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertilityflash/vol3-9/Ireland3.jpg) I grew up in Ireland in a small fishing town on the North West coast called Killybegs. My parents were keen for me and my 4 brothers to have a good education so we were all marched off to boarding school at age 12 where we were indoctrinated with a good classic Catholic education. At University I studied Biology and Agricultural Science, much to the disappointment of my parents who wanted me to become an accountant. ![](http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertilityflash/vol3-9/Hammersmith.jpg) After graduation I applied for and secured an embryology job at London's Hammersmith Hospital. The training was hard, and we were a small team doing a lot of IVF cycles. Other than the lab director, there was just one other embryologist - an andrology technician - to handle and process all sperm samples - and me. It was 1988 and the medications that prevent patients from spontaneously ovulating during an IVF cycle were just coming on line. Without these medications, we were doing oocyte retrievals at all times of the day and night, and occasionally patients ovulated before we could get to do their retrievals. Retrievals were performed laparoscopically in the operating room, but if emergency surgeries tied up resources through the night, cycles were lost. During this time, Hammersmith's lab was performing groundbreaking work on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). The lab collaborated with USA's PGD pioneer Mark Hughes, MD, PhD. Over the years Dr. Hughes and I have continued to collaborate. (PGD has come a long way in over a decade!) After 3 years as an embryologist, I enrolled in a PhD program at the University of London where I studied embryo metabolism and development. I continued to work as an embryologist on weekends to fund my studies and was finally done by the end of 1994. I was very fortunate to make the acquaintance of Professor Roger Pedersen from UCSF during my final summer in London and he invited me to come to San Francisco to join the IVF team at the University of California, San Francisco. As luck would have it, I had just won a Green Card in the immigration lottery that the US government holds each year, so I was keen on a move to the US. The IVF program at UCSF was small at the time but over a period of 5 years, under the direction of Dr. Schriock and Dr. Givens, we built it into one of the largest and successful IVF programs in the country. I particularly enjoyed learning and working with Dr. Paul Turek, one of the nation's leading male fertility physicians. We had enormous satisfaction making Dads out of guys that had been told that they would never have kids, and after 5 years we had outgrown our space. Dr. Schriock and Dr. Givens invited Dr. Ryan and me to join them in a new adventure with Drs. Herbert and Chenette. Pacific Fertility Center was purchased late in 1999 and San Francisco Center for Reproductive Medicine (SFCRM) and Pacific Fertility Center merged. For 3 years, we ran both offices, but in 2003 decided to consolidate and close the SFCRM office. Having all five physicians in one office and one laboratory to run was a wonderful change and made life easier on all of us. Running the laboratory at Pacific Fertility Center is a fascinating and interesting job: there's never a dull moment. I am fortunate to have one of the country's most experienced and qualified groups of embryologists working here and we are a close-knit group of talented people. Our job best suits individuals with a compulsive nature, extraordinary manual dexterity and a positive work ethic. As a group, we like to have fun and we socialize a lot outside the office, but we also take our work very seriously. In addition to running the lab here, I have many extra curricular activities that I enjoy. I am a faculty member at San Francisco State University where I teach Reproductive Technologies to graduate students. Together with other members of the lab staff, I inspect other IVF facilities on behalf of our accreditation authority, the College of American Pathologists, but I also enjoy informal visits to other labs for educational purposes. I do some consulting for smaller facilities that don't have access to good resources and I sit on a couple of scientific advisory boards. I am a member of the board setting the embryology, andrology and laboratory director certification examinations that ultimately allow individuals to become High-complexity Clinical laboratory Directors (HCLD). ![](http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertilityflash/vol3-9/Hawaii-Wedding.jpg) On a more personal note, I was married in Hawaii this past September and I now live in Half Moon Bay with my son Tom (7), my wife Leslie, and her daughter Julie (4). Leslie teaches Advanced Placement Biotechnology at San Mateo High School. We are very happy with our busy Bay Area lives. In January, I'll be entering my 13th year here, which is longer than I've ever lived anywhere. This is home now -- Joe Conaghan, PhD, HCLD

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