Many people ask why our success rates are higher than other programs in New Jersey and around the US. The short answer is our IVF laboratory and the constant quality checks and state of the art improvements that we make. Our laboratory closes down twice a year for quality control inspections to ensure that conditions are optimal for embryo development for every patient.
RMANJ’s laboratory team has been at the forefront of several innovations and improvements in IVF treatment including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and extended embryo culture.
EMBRYO BIOPSY: ADDITIONAL DAYS, BETTER RESULTS
In October 2011, RMANJ presented data titled Cleavage Stage Embryo Biopsy Significantly Impairs Embryonic Reproductive Potential While Blastocyst Biopsy Does Not: A Novel Paired Analysis of Co-transferred Biopsied and Non-Biopsied Sibling Embryos that again demonstrated the significance of the IVF laboratory on successful outcomes.
The data demonstrated for the first time how the impact of when an embryo is biopsied for genetic testing can make a significant difference in outcomes. The impact of embryo biopsy on an embryo’s ability to develop and implant had never been studied as deeply and with as much scrutiny until 2011.
Historically, embryo biopsy for genetic disease screening prior to IVF has been conducted at day 3 (the cleavage stage) when only 6-8 cells have formed. Cleavage stage biopsy removes 1-2 cells or a proportionately large percentage of cells, reducing the embryo’s chances for implantation compared to Day 5, which uses a smaller percentage of cells for testing.
“More sophisticated techniques now allow biopsy on day 5, the blastocyst stage, when 200 or more cells are present. These data demonstrate that day 5 biopsy is much safer. The reason that day 5 biopsy does no apparent harm is that a dramatically smaller portion of the embryo is removed. Another reason is that the sample is taken from the outer layer of the embryo destined to form the placenta, called the trophectoderm (TE). The cells that form the baby are undisturbed, preserving the embryo’s true potential.”
Dr. Richard T. Scott, Jr., MD, FACOG, HCLD
RMANJ now only performs biopsy at Day 5 when 200 or more cells have developed, and cells are taken from then trophectoderm or outer layer of the embryo.
RMANJ Laboratory & Research Leadership
Kathleen Upham, BS
Supervisor, Embryology Laboratory
Kathleen Upham received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst. Kathleen began her embryology career in 1996 at Saint Barnabas, training under Jacques Cohen and Mina Alikani. She joined RMANJ as a lab supervisor in 2008 and was promoted to Director of Embryology in August 2009.
Kathleen is responsible for all functions of the clinical laboratory including in vitro fertilization, assisted hatching, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, testicular and epididymal sperm preparation, embryo biopsy, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, embryo cryogenics and the quality assurance and quality control programs. Kathleen has done extensive work in the area of stem cell research. She has co-authored numerous research journal articles in her field and is a member of both The New York Metropolitan Embryology Society and The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Kathleen’s unparalleled attention to detail combined with insightful and intuitive lab management assures the highest quality of care for RMANJ’s patients. She is recognized by her peers as a gifted leader and teacher.
Andrew Ruiz, BS, MS, TS
Manager of the REI Endocrinology and Andrology Laboratory
Andrew has a background in biology, chemistry and biochemistry. For the past 18 years, he has been involved in reproductive (gametogenesis) biology. He has extensive research skills in cellular and hormonal biology which includes the isolation of hormone receptor molecules and the functional interaction with the endocrine and reproductive system. His duties include managing and supervising the daily operation of the Endocrine and Andrology laboratories and maintaining compliance with local, state and federal standards using state of the art cellular, molecular and chemiluminescent technology. He has experience in electrophoresis, molecular/genetic isolation technology, cellular isolation and identification of reproductive cells, and extensive cell culture knowledge in mammalian organisms.
Nathan Treff, PhD
Director of Molecular Biology Research
Dr. Treff is the Principal Investigator for the REI division’s Molecular Genetics Basic Science Research Laboratory and an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Treff’s background is in biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics with emphasis in reproductive and stem cell biology. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Washington State University and conducted postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and The Serono Reproductive Biology Institute.
The bulk of his research is in molecular genetics including genome-wide microarray analysis of gene expression and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), chromatin immunoprecipitation, electrophoretic mobility shift, northern blot assays, quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, short tandem repeat and SNP genetic fingerprinting, protein-antibody array, western blot, ELISA, cloning and sequencing, protein and nucleic acid purification, single cell whole genome and transcriptome amplification, and systematic gene ontology analysis of gene expression.
Dr. Treff has a variety of research skills in cellular biology including embryonic stem cell culture and directed differentiation, magnetic activated cell sorting, stable recombinant cell line transfection and selection, and conventional tissue culture of eukaryotic cell lines. As the REI Division’s PI, Dr. Treff has developed and led a new molecular biology research team towards improving the treatment of infertility. His scientific contributions were acknowledged at the 2007 ASRM meeting in Washington, DC where the REI division received the “ASRM Prize Paper Award”. He is dedicated to education and advancement in reproductive medicine, and to facilitating basic and translational research using state-of-the-art molecular biology approaches.
Deanne Taylor, Assistant Professor Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Director of Bioinformatics, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey
Dr. Taylor is the Director of Bioinformatics and an Assistant Professor in the Reproductive Endocrinology Division in the Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Department at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ.
Dr. Taylor’s background is in biophysics, bioinformatics, computational biology and structural biology with emphasis on human genetics and translational medicine. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Pfizer. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry at EMD-Serono until moving to Harvard School of Public Health and then to Rutgers/RWJ. She also served several years as the Program Director of the Graduate Program in Bioinformatics at Brandeis University, where she still occasionally teaches a course in Computational Systems Biology.
Her main areas of research are in the development of mathematical and computational methods to better understand biological variation and the genetic contribution to disease, coupling clinical information with high-dimensional biomedical data from next-gen sequencing, microarray, PCR, and proteomics experiments. Some of her immediate research interests are in development of methods to better classify effects of genetic variation within interacting systems through effects in gene function and contributions to disease, developing mathematical genotype representations of variation in populations, and using machine-learning techniques to build classifiers in translational medicine research. Her scientific contributions were acknowledged with the rest of the Division’s research team at the 2007 ASRM annual meeting when the REI division received the “ASRM Prize Paper Award”, where her contribution was in developing databases, analysis systems and validated methods for high-throughput genotype analyses leading to the Division’s discoveries.