Embryology Staff

The embryology and andrology laboratory at RCC has the highest possible accreditation in the United States, by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), since 2001 and continues to maintain certification through CAP administered inspections and proficiency testing. Since 2001, the laboratory has maintained a Certificate of Compliance with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA). CLIA was formed by Congress to establish quality standards for all laboratory testing to ensure the accuracy, reliability and timeliness of patient test results.

The laboratory is part of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). SART was established by member IVF clinics to set and maintain standards for assisted reproductive technology centers. This was done in an effort to better serve members and their patients. One of the key functions of SART is to help patients view national and individual clinic IVF success rates. Our success rates have been reported to SART since 1998.

Benjamin Sessions, PhD, HCLD, ELD, TS, CC

Lab Director

Benjamin R Sessions, PhD, HCLD/ELD/TS/CC, is the RCC Laboratory Director.  Dr. Sessions earned his BS in Biology and Chemistry in 1999, and obtained his MS (2004) and PhD (2012) in Animal Science from Utah State University.  After completion of his PhD, Dr. Sessions worked as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences at Utah State University where he taught laboratory based biotechnology courses for both undergraduate and graduate students in addition to being a member of the USU somatic cell nuclear transfer team where he assisted in producing clones of cattle, sheep, goats, and mules.

While at USU he gained extensive experience performing oocyte aspiration and maturation, in vitro fertilization, in vitro embryo culture, and embryo cryopreservation in the bovine model. He has published numerous abstracts and scientific papers and presented his research findings at many national and international scientific conferences. Dr. Sessions’ research focused on improving the embryo culture conditions of bovine nuclear transfer and IVF embryos as well as elucidating the key signaling pathways involved in oocyte activation and characterizing the epigenetic reprogramming profiles of key genes required for proper bovine embryonic development.

Dr. Sessions desired to use his knowledge and experience to assist patients in obtaining their dreams of having a family and as a result joined RCC in 2014. He is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the European Society of Human Reproductive and Embryology (ESHRE), and is also a member of the College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) administered through the American Association of Bioanalysts’ (AAB).  Dr. Sessions helped design and establish the Idaho IVF lab in 2016 and has provided the embryology and andrology support for the Idaho IVF batches.

Lab Director Benjamin Sessions

Douglass Brown, MS

Embryologist

Doug Brown is an embryologist at RCC. He obtained his BS degree in biology from Brigham Young University, where as an undergraduate, Doug helped to research and develop genetic markers for the South American lizard genus, Liolaemus. He also published work on the evolution and population genetics of North American Xenodontid Snakes.

Following his graduation in 2012, he began work on a MS degree in genetics and biotechnology, also at BYU. For his thesis, Doug focused on sequencing and characterizing starch biosynthesis genes in plant family Chenopodium, which includes the South American crop, quinoa. He graduated at the top of his program in the summer of 2014.

Doug has been employed at RCC since the fall of 2014 when he was brought on to work in the Andrology and Endocrinology Lab in the RCC Clearfield office. While in Clearfield, Doug was responsible for the day to day operations of lab, which included performing semen analyses, sperm preparations for IUI, and blood hormone assays. Doug was recruited to join the embryology lab in 2016.

Embryologist Douglas Brown

Katie Hayes

Embryologist in Training, Andrologist

While studying Animal Sciences/Pre-Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University, Katie took her first reproductive physiology course and instantly knew that was the field she wanted to pursue. She graduated with her BS in 2010 and immediately began research in the reproduction laboratory, also at OSU in the Animal Sciences Department. In 2013, Katie completed her master’s program course work and research in Animal Sciences/Reproductive Physiology at OSU.

Katie was a part of a team researching the role of plasminogen and hepatocyte growth factor in bovine embryo hatching, trophoblastic attachment and cellular outgrowth. Further research looked more in depth at hepatocyte growth factor increasing plasminogen activator production and how it stimulates cellular division.

Katie has been a part of the RCC team since 2016 when she was brought on to work in the Andrology and Endocrinology Lab in the Clearfield office. She was responsible for the daily lab operations, which included IUI sperm preparations, semen analyses and blood hormone assays. Katie was recruited to join the embryology lab in 2018 and is currently in training.