Over the past three years serving on the RBPG Board, two years as Chairman, I have come to respect the efficiency and dedication of the ASRM organization and its staff. This year, however, processes moved slower due to changes that took place to upgrade the internal communication system at ASRM with the latest technology. Going forward, this should enable information to be disseminated more readily and in the most effective and efficient manner. Last winter, Alexis and I realized that both professional groups desired a stronger voice to the ASRM Board. In the early 1990s, with the formation of the RBPG, the American Fertility Society realized it needed the input of Ph.D.s to enhance the research quality of its scientific programs and sessions. As the ASRM evolved, forming more than 20 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Professional Groups (PGs), our strength in numbers has diminished. Furthermore, with the growth of the IVF industry in the early to mid 1990s, the importance of applied technologies and its specialists (Ph.D. and non-Ph.D.) magnified and resulted in the formation of a second group, the RLTPG.
Today, we constitute two of the larger SIG/PGs within ASRM, sharing a combined total of some 1,450 members (581 of which are physicians). Over time, our two professional groups have become more similar; the RBPG becoming less basic research-oriented and the RLTPG more Ph.D.-populated. What we share in common is the knowledge that laboratory specialists (embryologists and a variety of technologists) are a valuable asset to the IVF Industry, the current backbone supporting the ASRM, and that non-Ph.D.s and Ph.D.s alike are important to technological advancements and the ASRM. In turn, we, the Board members of the RBPG and RLTPG, believe the time has come for us to join together and attempt to become an affiliated society within the ASRM. Now is the time for our members to unite, get involved, and have a voice, so that we as lab specialists will have an active role in the future development of the ASRM and our place in society. To date, a few prominent lab members have integrated into the ASRM Board over the years; but to secure our voice within the ASRM long-term, and our role in the industry, we need to coalesce as a single group. The cost of controlling our own destiny as a new society is active membership with dues. However, our goal would be to keep membership dues to a minimum, which is dependent on the number of members we maintain. To reiterate, realize that with an improved electronic communication system and qualified support staff within the ASRM infrastructure, a society membership due in addition to an ASRM membership due, will enable us to have a direct link into the future of the ASRM.
-- Mitchel C. Schiewe, PhD, HCLD