A Day in the Life of Dr Jinjun Wang, Senior Embryologist and Laboratory Manager
We speak to Dr Jinjun Wang, Senior Embryologist and Laboratory Manager about running a successful lab and his passion for egg freezing.
My name is Jinjun Wang and I am the Laboratory Manager at the LWC Harley Street. I was born in Shandong in China and I originally studied to be a medical doctor at the Taishan Medical College. I moved to the Institute of Laser Life Scientific at South China Normal University in Guangzhou to do a master’s degree in Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer where I researched gene editing and protein creation. Whilst observing at Shenzhen Hospital of Beijing University IVF unit I discovered a passion for embryology. I started my early IVF training there and went on to study as an embryologist at the Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital in Shandong. After working and training in several hospitals in China and Kuwait I got a job as a clinical embryologist at the London Women’s Clinic at the end of 2008. Since then I have progressed to become a senior embryologist and I became the laboratory manager at the LWC in Harley Street in 2013.
A Day in My Life
My main responsibility is to ensure that the laboratory runs smoothly. My motto is “Simple, Easy, Efficient and Accurate”- “Simple” minimises the risk of making mistakes; “Easy” to follow procedures from junior to senior level to avoid deviation; “Efficient” because we are a busy laboratory and we need to work quickly; and “Accurate” as embryologists cannot be good without being accurate.
After taking control of the laboratory in 2013, I have been working on finding the right protocols to give good outcomes. Our current focus is on two of the most challenging techniques – egg freezing and embryo biopsy (which is used for embryo screening or PGT-A). We are trying out different protocols including changing the culture, freezing media, timings and temperature to see what will provide the optimum environment and conditions to give the best outcomes. Our goal in the laboratory is to have the best success rates, the latest technology and to have a team of experts that can give the best patient care.
One of my main interests in the IVF laboratory is egg freezing. Over the last ten years at LWC I have been working hard to optimise the clinic’s original egg freezing and egg thawing protocols that I created. The first baby following my egg freezing protocol was born in 2012 from eggs that were frozen in 2010. Since then we have frozen more than 20,000 eggs from nearly 3,000 egg freezing cycles at the LWC in Harley Street. We are now the largest provider of egg freezing in the country.
The success of our freezing programme has led to a change in the clinic’s approach to donor eggs. In conjunction with our partner clinic, the London Egg Bank, all donor eggs are now frozen. This makes the process for egg recipients so much simpler. No longer do the recipient and egg donor have to synchronise their cycles, treatment can take place when the recipient is ready to thaw the eggs. We now have an online donor egg catalogue with close to 100 donors available without a wait. Our success rates have also increased from 39% in 2014 to 49% in 2018.
So far more than 7,000 eggs have been thawed successfully at the LWC Harley Street laboratory. Our average survival rate is 94% from more than 1,000 egg thaw cycles. In the last five years we have also successfully and significantly reduced the average number of embryos transferred in frozen egg donation cycles from 1.6 in 2014 to 1.1 in 2018 per embryo transfer. Multiple pregnancy is the greatest risk in IVF treatment and by transferring a single embryo the pregnancy will be safer both for the mother and baby.
The best part of my job
The best part of my job is seeing the success of the changes I have made to protocols. When the protocols are right, our success rates improve which leads to better outcomes for our patients and more families created! I am particularly proud that so far more than 200 babies have been born from my egg freezing technique.
My ambition is to have the best success rates in the country. Our results have improved since I have become the laboratory manager and I’m pleased that the changes we have put in place have made such a big difference. We still have work to do and I am confident that our success rates will continue to improve.
We are also working hard to introduce embryology consultations. This will enable patients to meet directly with our embryology team to discuss their options prior to treatment and following unsuccessful treatment. We hope that these appointments will allow patients to learn more about what is happening to their eggs, sperm and embryos in the laboratory and to help them make decisions about future treatment.
In my opinion egg freezing is the future. Egg freezing is the fastest growing fertility treatment in the UK and I expect this to increase even further over the next few years. I believe that women will continue to delay childbirth for a number of reasons including their education, relationship status and career. Thawing eggs will be the future of IVF because most women will freeze their eggs when they are young. When they are ready to settle down and start a family good quality eggs are waiting for them. This is why it is so important that we work hard to improve the freezing and thawing techniques, so we can make sure that the survival rate of frozen eggs will lead to successful live births.