My Journey to Becoming an Embryologist
While pursing my degree in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I enrolled in a summer course in the animal science department, Lab Techniques in Mammalian Gamete and Embryo Biology. Although not part of my program requirements, the course description piqued my interest as an exciting complement to the rather tedious work that I was doing in a Drosophila (fruit fly) genetics lab.
opportunity for me to work in a reproductive physiology research lab using bovine eggs as a model system. Twice a week we received a delivery of fresh cow ovaries transported in retro wide mouth coffee thermoses to keep them warm. We carefully grasped each slippery ovary in one hand and aspirated the fluid from the follicles using an 18-gauge needle, trying not to puncture our own hands in the process. Once the follicular fluid was collected we searched for the eggs under a microscope, similar to what we do in the IVF lab here.
A visiting graduate student in the lab gave me information on internship opportunities through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, specifically for a program focused on reproductive research for the preservation of endangered species. I was accepted for an internship after graduation, packed up my car, and moved to Virginia where I joined a team working to improve the breeding program for the clouded leopard, a vulnerable species native to Southeast Asia.
These experiences led me to pursue a career in human reproductive biology and I first worked at a small IVF clinic in the Bay Area. I was thrilled to later become part of the team at PFC where I received my training as an embryologist. While at PFC I have witnessed much advancement in the field and have actively been involved in the evolution of our vitrification program. I have been fortunate to share our successes and protocols at educational meetings and workshops and with other IVF labs around the country and the world.
The expertise, integrity, and ethical standards at PFC are unparalleled and I am proud to work with our team of physicians. It is a unique work environment, a place where we all come together to reach an altruistic common goal, to help patients create families.
- Erin Fischer