Ken Drury, Ph.D., Editor
Like many of you working in IVF laboratories, my lab has no panoramic window views of lakes or mountains and the sunlight is kept safely hidden behind two foot thick cinder block walls. Even my office bears an eerie relationship to the protectiveness of my lab, unless you believe the enlarged wall poster which lets you overlook the Venice Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge! However, the scene never changes and neither does the constant demand to “save the embryos”! That’s why I love ASRM. The annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine is to laboratory personnel as Cancun is to spring breakers; a time to let down, meet friends and discuss events. Everything else is taken care of by pharmaceutical reps and equipment vendors. A fairy tale event, full of Cappuccinos, raffles and a mind-boggling array of pens and markers, the likes you have never imagined. Just wait until you get them back into the lab (or show to those unlucky enough not to have been able to attend) and put them to good use.
Unfortunately, that may all be coming to an abrupt end. It seems that there may be an enormous conflict of interest between you and a patient’s gametes if a vendor has the possibility of seducing you to buy his wares with after-hour beers. I know we have all heard of lavish and extravagant parties and weekend getaways provided to laboratory personnel, all coming at the expense of the sick and elderly. However, for most of us, this has been obtained by third and fourth hand information. I know of only one embryologist who ever related this kind of treatment just for maintaining a huge inventory of non-mouse tested culture dishes. He possessed a massive number of trinkets which he placed in his lab for good luck; even though his pregnancy rates were unable to reflect his efforts. So, where does that place the rest of us?
Our profession has always been subject to ethical dilemmas in one form or another, and in the end, there are individual decisions to be made. Ethical Codes of Conduct are usually enacted in order to help those individuals who continue to struggle with these difficult questions to find their way. In this manner, our lawmakers (elected or otherwise) have decided it is best to keep professional health care providers and unethical pharmaceutical sales personnel from interacting in the guise of providing advanced scientific and medical care to infertility patients (consult: (Medscape J Med. 2008;10(6):137 http://journal.medscape.com/viewarticle/575699 ). I am certain there are sufficient randomized, double-blind, change-over, statistically-significant studies available to verify this conclusion.
So, at this year’s ASRM, tell your favorite sales reps how much you have enjoyed knowing them and how much fun it has been being able to see and touch all of the different devises and tools available to our labs in one great location; then get as many flashing pens as you can, because it may all be coming to an end.
What will not be coming to an end in the foreseeable future are the great articles and information made available to you in the Journal of Clinical Embryology which is brought to you courtesy of these very vendors. This issue of JCE is dedicated to our faithful advertisers. Give your vendor a Hug and thank them for their years of service to the ART laboratory!
Now, here is what you will find in this issue of the JCE.
Have you ever wondered what lies in the future? Kepler Johnson, ELD gives you a look into the futuristic “Paperless Lab” and how to get there.
To those of you who do not have ready access to library journals, “Open Access” is the wave of the future in scientific publication. From the on-line journal “Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction” (made possible by BioMed Central). Drs. Nanassy and Carrell bring you a review entitled Paternal effects on early embryogenesis (http://www.biomedcentral.com/).
Additional abstracts, presented at the Annual College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) conference in May, are included in this issue. They give a good indication of the interest and scientific activity taking place within this program.
Lastly, the editor is always seeking the “novel” as applied to the ART laboratory. In our section entitled “ART Lab Comments”, laboratory director Shaun Kelly relates his program’s incorporation of The IVF Witness System into the laboratory. It’s always good to have someone looking out for you.
Please send your manuscripts containing your latest research results to the Journal of Clinical Embryology for publication. You may receive a bauble-head pen.