Diana Thomas, M.A.
President & CEO
In 1985, Diana Thomas graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in architectural history. Ms. Thomas held a number of leadership positions in the study and preservation of large historic preservation projects in the US and Canada. Ms. Thomas was responsible for significant innovations in her field.
However, throughout her career, Ms Thomas struggled with infertility for fifteen years. She was told she needed an egg donor, and at the time, just a handful of fertility practices across the US provided egg donor services. Ms. Thomas found her own egg donor, and gave birth to a healthy child in 1996. Ms. Thomas saw the need for an affordable service to provide egg donors to other women, and opened one of the first egg donor agencies in the US. Her prior career gave her the business acumen to start and operate the agency, and her personal experience gave her first hand knowledge of the industry, compassion to develop a ‘patient focused’ philosophy, and vision to help other woman. Since 1997, her company has matched thousands of couples and donors world wide.
In 2004, Ms. Thomas, Dr. James Akin and Dr. Jeffry Boldt opened the first commercial egg bank in the world, and the first baby conceived using these banked eggs was born in 2005. They recognized the immense benefit for both women in need of donor eggs to select vitrify donor eggs from a bank, which could be shipped to the patient’s physician when needed. The World Egg Bank has been shipping donor eggs world-wide since 2005.
Dr. Steven F. Mullen
Dr. Mullen completed his Ph.D. studies in the field of fundamental cryobiology in the laboratory of Dr. John Critser at the University of Missouri. Dr. Mullen is one of only a handful of individuals in the world that were specifically trained as fundamental cryobiologists AND reproductive biologists. Dr. Mullen has participated in collaborative research on human oocyte cryopreservation in several human fertility clinics, including the clinic at the Shandong Provincial Hospital in Jinan, China.
After completing his postdoctoral studies at the University of Missouri, Dr. Mullen joined 21st Century Medicine, Inc.(a private biotechnology company based in Southern California) and lead the Reproductive Cryobiology laboratory. The scientific teams at 21st Century Medicine are led by Dr. Gregory M. Fahy, preeminent vitrification cryobiologist, and co-author of the work that introduced practical vitrification to reproductive biotechnology.
During his time at 21st Century Medicine, Dr. Mullen developed a research program designed to improve human oocyte vitrification in an effort to make it an easy-to-adopt methodology, and also a more robust technology that that currently being utilized.
Dr. Mullen has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of The World Egg Bank since 2009, and in 2011 accepted the position of Scientific Director of The World Egg Bank, where he continues to develop improved technology for the vitrification of human oocytes.
Dr. Mullen has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters on basic and applied cryobiology, including the most recent work on the fundamental aspects of vitrification as a method for cryopreservation of reproductive cells, tissues, and organs.
Patricia M. McShane, MD
Dr. McShane has been working in the field since 1985. She completed her clinical fellowship at Harvard University and served as an associate professor at both Harvard University and University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Dr. McShane served as the Medical Director of IVF at the Brigham, and soon thereafter at the Reproductive Science Center of New England, during the introduction of many key clinical services, including embryo cryopreservation, oocyte donation and ICSI in the mid 80's and 90's. Later she would be involved in the launch of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and screening and an early trial of oocyte maturation. Dr. McShane was listed as one of Boston's top doctors. She is one of the first reproductive specialists to bring in-vitro fertilization technology to the US.
In 2007 Dr. McShane moved to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where she spearheaded the oocyte vitrification clinical trial involving immediate thawing and transfer of vitrified oocytes for infertile couples, showing equivalency with the fresh oocytes. One of her current projects involves developing CME materials for oncologists to increase acceptance of fertility preservation options including oocyte and embryo vitrification. She is the Associate Director of Fertility Preservation at the University of Colorado Hospital.
Dr. McShane has served on the Board of Directors of Integramed, a management company for fertility practices, and the President of the New England Fertility Society. She is an active member, serving in leadership roles of multiple industry organizations and is the author of numerous medical reports, reviews and book chapters.
Our Scientific and Medical Advisory Board
Dr. Akin has practiced infertility for 20 years in both an academic university setting as well as in private practice. He is board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He has published numerous medical articles on infertility in peer-reviewed journals and continues to do clinical infertility research. He is currently in private practice in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, and is owner and Medical Director of Bluegrass Fertility Center, Inc.
Dr. Boldt is one of the early US pioneers in early egg freezing technology. Dr. Boldt has lectured extensively and authored many national and international articles on infertility, and serves as both Program and Scientific Director, Assisted Fertility Services for Community Hospital-Indianapolis and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine.
Ana Cobo, PhD, has been a member of the embryology staff at Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad (IVI), Valencia, Spain, since 1995 and is currently in charge of the Cryobiology Unit. She obtained her Master of Biological Sciences degree in Biology of Reproduction at the University of Chile in 1994, a Masters degree in Human Reproduction in 1998, and a PhD degree at the University of Valencia, Spain, in 2003.
Dr. Cobo’s major areas of interest are female fertility preservation through oocyte and embryo cryopreservation. She is active in investigating novel treatments, including vitrification as a new approach to oocyte banking, preserving fertility in cancer patients, and novel approaches to safe cryostorage.
Dr. Fishel began his research career at the University of Cambridge where he gained his PhD under the supervision of Professor Robert Edwards.
During these early years Dr Fishel, amongst other research work, was the first to demonstrate that the embryo ‘communicates' with its environment; and, later, was the first to publish on the secretion of HCG by the human embryo.
Concomitant with his appointment as a don at Churchill College, Cambridge in 1978, was the award of the prestigious Beit Memorial Foundation Fellowship; and he also became a Cambridge University Lecturer.
Subsequently, in 1980, while maintaining his University position, Dr Fishel became Deputy Scientific Director at the opening of the world's first "test tube baby clinic" at Bourn Hall in Cambridge continuing his work with Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe.
It was at Bourn Hall that Dr Fishel was renowned for his scientific publications of a number of seminal papers on the early work of IVF and human embryology. He had been working with Robert Edwards for a number of years before the birth of the world's first test tube baby, Louise Brown.
Dr Fishel is one of the world's most experienced practitioners in the field of Assisted Reproduction Technology/ Assisted Conception, and after almost 30 years, is the “longest-running” practitioner of clinical human embryology/IVF. He has been dubbed "the father of more than 10000 babies" and has established IVF clinics all over the world, including being part of the first team invited by the W.H.O. to introduce IVF to mainland China. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of in vitro fertilisation technology and specifically the use of micromanipulation techniques for sperm injection and embryo biopsy.
Few scientists and physicians enjoy an international reputation of the scale of Dr. Mark Hughes' stature. Best-known for his work on single-cell analysis and pre-implantation diagnosis, Hughes screens externally fertilized human eggs for a specific hereditary disease before transferring them to the mother's womb, eliminating the possibility of passing the disease to the child.
A native of Minnesota, Dr. Hughes earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, then was a postdoctoral fellow in cell biology at the Baylor College of Medicine, where he also earned a medical degree. Hughes completed a residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina in 1986, and a fellowship in medical genetics at Baylor.
Dr. Hughes has also held various teaching, medical and administrative positions at the Institute for Molecular Genetics, the Prenatal Genetics Center at Baylor Affiliated Hospitals, the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health and the Georgetown University Medical Center.
He currently holds several titles at Wayne State University in Michigan, including director of basic research at the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics; director of the division of translational research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology; and director of the Diagnostic Genetics Laboratories in the department of pathology.
Dr. Hughes has used pre-implantation diagnosis to screen for several genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, factor VIII deficiency, Tay Sachs disease, myotonic dystrophy, Huntington's disease and Lesch Nyhan syndrome.
Dr. Hughes founded Genesis Genetics Institute to provide expert laboratory services for families world wide who are affected by inherited diseases.
Dr. Kovacs is a world renowned specialist in the fields of reproductive gynecology, endocrinology and infertility. He has over 30 years experience in IVF, ovulation induction, male subferfility, donor insemination and microsurgery. Dr. Kovacs currently serves as the International Medical Director of Monash IVF. His postgraduate credentials include, MD, FRCOG, FRANZCOG, CREI, FAICD, Graduate Certificate in Management from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
He has been President of The Fertility Society of Australia, Family Planning Australia, Family Planning Victoria, and Chairman of The IVF Directors' Group of Australia. Professor Kovacs was a Councilor of the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for a period of six years having chaired its Continuing Education and Women's Health Committees. He is a director of ACCESS, Australia's national infertility network.
He is professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Monash University and has published more than 150 scientific papers, over 30 chapters in textbooks, and has written five books for the public and edited seven textbooks.
Our Psychology Department
Dr. Ray Lemberg
Dr Ray Lemberg,Clinical Psychologist, in practice for 32 years, provides psychological screenings for egg donors and surrogates.
Dr Lemberg's doctorate is from the University of Maryland. His adult internship was from Sheppard-Enoch Pratt and Springfield Hospitals (Baltimore, MD.) and child internship from JFK Institute, Pediatric Hospital at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, MD) He is in private practice in Arizona.