I think it goes without saying that making a good choice of physician and laboratory is extremely important.
But even more so, it’s crucial to have a great working relationship with your physician, who should naturally be up-to-date on all the current reproductive technologies and research.
Your physician should really be your partner in the process. They need to be willing to come up with a plan for the long term, not give up on the first or second try.
You need to be willing and able to have a frank discussion with your doctor if you do have a failed cycle to try and identify potential factors behind an unsuccessful cycle/pregnancy. Perhaps it’s a change in medication or protocol, or possibly a change in lifestyle such as cutting out caffeine or quitting smoking.
Maybe it’s a more difficult conversation such as looking at an egg donor or a sperm donor. But ultimately, you need to find the right physician partner who will be straightforward and honest with you and vice versa.
Tom Turner grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He went on to the University of Tennessee where he earned a master’s in zoology, after which he took a job at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in the Department of Obstetrics. He worked as a technologist in their laboratories, mostly in the area of egg transport. Back then, it was everything to do with the oviduct.
This is where he worked with a lot of embryos including those of monkeys, baboons, rabbits, rats, and so on.
Like most people back in the early days of IVF, he sort of fell into the field because there were so few people in the sector and very few programs. He attributes some of it to simply being in the right place at the right time and working with a great mentor.
In 1983, Tom was asked to join an IVF clinic at its inauguration based on his experience in handling a lot of embryos.
At that time, there was no such thing as a “clinical embryologist.” Given his training with animal embryos, he was chosen to be a part of their IVF program.
It was a time when everyone was struggling to achieve a pregnancy. People weren’t sure what to use in the laboratory, so he was part of a team trying a variety of things, ultimately landing on GIFT, or Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer. This procedure took the laboratory factor largely out of the process since IVF wasn’t doing very well.
In 1986, Tom took a job in Orlando, Florida, where he was able to mentor with Dr. Jacques Cohen, who came from Edwards and Steptoe’s clinic in England, and was one of the best embryologists in the world. Under his mentorship, Tom developed his knowledge and skill as an embryologist.
In 1993, Tom had an opportunity to move to Austin to work with Dr. Thomas Vaughn and Dr. Kaylen Silverberg at Texas Fertility Center, where he stayed for over 22 years. In addition to running several successful IVF laboratories, Tom has served in national leadership positions and as a consultant to IVF programs worldwide.
Email: tomturnertx [@] gmail.com
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