Joseph Lee ’08 brings leading-edge science to infertility research
As Superstorm Sandy chased tens of thousands of New Yorkers from Lower Manhattan in October, Joseph Lee ’08 played a role in an altogether different human drama less than two miles from surging floodwaters.
At the Midtown offices of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York (RMA), where Lee is research project manager, live incubated embryos awaiting uterine implantation suddenly were at risk when much of the island lost power. So were the childbearing hopes of as many as 10 women scheduled for fertility treatments that had to be performed within a 48-hour window. In the end, the power held, even as stress levels spiked.
“There was a lot of confusion and nerves were high. The phones were ringing off the hook,” says Lee, who was unable to return to his Queens home because of the storm. “We tried to answer everyone’s questions, and we were on 24/7 alert to make sure everything was OK.”
There was good reason for vigilance. Sixty blocks south, NYU Fertility Center not only lost power, but its basement flooded and generators failed, forcing frenzied staff to safeguard embryos in liquid nitrogen. No embryos were lost at either center, and RMA of New York was able to provide transportation and lodging to patients with scheduled appointments.