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Ken Drury, Ph.D., Editor

This year the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) will be held in Washington DC. We all know that DC is well recognized for the best and worst of American culture; partying being the best and politics being the worst. The Clinical Embryologist would therefore like to introduce you to the best of Washington and ASRM. Of course ASRM is a challenge in and of itself. For the younger crowd it is advised that you pace yourself. For the older ones of us, pace yourself even more. ASRM can test your stamina as well as your brainpower with the overwhelming array of activities. Getting up early is fine for one day but to think you can do it five days straight is pure folly.

The tendency during this meeting is to overbook yourself. Double and triple overbooking is common, but a big mistake. Many people have the misperception that in order to ensure getting the most out of this conference and, as well, meet all the people on your “to-do” list, you must spread yourself as thin as possible. You may even toy with the idea of sequencing events one after the other; and that’s only to attend all the evening dinners. Other night time activities seem to snowball out of control until the alarm alerts you to the next day’s schedule.

One or two of the things you may wish to consider spending some inter-presentation time visiting while in DC may include the National Museum of Health and Medicine (http://www. roadsideamerica.com/attract/DCWAShealth.html) where you can see and appreciate state of the art medicine during the Civil War era. Or, visit some of the local politicians having a quiet power lunch at the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel in the “Round Robin Bar” or the “Willard Room”. Find it at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave nw Washington, DC 20004 two blocks from the White House (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hotel/WASHA/welcome). 

Before you leave home, take a virtual tour of DC and map out your course of action (The Virtual Tour of Washington, D.C., http://ahp. gatech.edu/dc_map.html).

What should you expect from this year’s meeting? Well, one thing that is sure to spread controversy (again) is the question of whether or not PGD-AS (Aneuploidy Screening) is truly helping patients become pregnant. The Winter issue of The Clinical Embryologist will be presenting perspectives from some of our most noted embryologists who have a great deal of experience on this and related subjects. We may find that considerable technical expertise and experience on the part of the laboratory staff might hold the key to successful chromosomal aneuploidy screening.

Next is an article which reminds us to acknowledge and appreciate the information we obtain from our animal science colleagues. Dr. Brad Stroud, DMV presents important information on the handling and storage of frozen sperm and embryos. Every human IVF lab will appreciate the potential hazards involved when not taking the necessary precautions to protect the integrity of frozen samples. Dr. Stroud, along with Dr. Stan Leibo, has also developed a DVD cryopreservation teaching aid called The Guide to Handling Frozen Semen & Embryos. Please contact Dr. Stroud for further information.

As promised, The Clinical Embryologist brings you a periodic review of some of the latest text books published in our field. In this issue, Dr. Barry Bavister gives you his expert observations on a text entitled “In-Vitro Maturation of Human Oocytes – Basic science to clinical application”. This title could not be more timely to a clinical embryologist. At the same time, please check out Dr. Bavister’s bio on The Clinical Embryologist’s website under editorial board members. You’ll appreciate his major ongoing contributions to the field of reproductive biology.

In an article just released in time for publication, we hear from an unnamed source about a startling new influence on embryo culture in the laboratory. Read how embryologists can control this force to the benefit of all members of the IVF lab (see Music of the Spheres).

Any issue of The Clinical Embryologist wouldn’t be complete with out the serial installment of the StatChat (III) by Dr. Norm Dubin. Check out our 2007 back issues to catch up if you haven’t been following along. This time, Dr. Dubin brings you up to speed with Categorical Data: Numbers in boxes which we can shake up.  Find out how to get more “Power”.

Again, visit our new website (www.clinicalembryologist.com) and give us your feed back as to how it can be improved and help meet your clinical and professional needs.