Dr. Zev Williams: Aiming to Revolutionize IVF at Columbia University Fertility Center

Jennifer "Jay" Palumbo
2 min readApr 23, 2024

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Dr. Zev Williams, Director of Columbia University Fertility Center, is working to be at the forefront of groundbreaking innovations in IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). His team’s cutting-edge technologies are striving to transform the fertility journey, making it less stressful and more accessible for patients. Let’s explore some of the pioneering advancements Dr. Williams and his team spearheaded.

At-Home Painless Blood Collection Device for IVF

One of the most significant developments at the Center is the introduction of an at-home, painless blood collection device for monitoring hormone levels in women undergoing fertility treatment. This device eliminates the need for multiple blood draws using a traditional needle and phlebotomy setup, reducing patient stress and discomfort. Additionally, only 1/10th of the amount of blood is required, making the process more convenient and less invasive.

Automation in the IVF Lab

Columbia University Fertility Center is hoping to lead the way in IVF lab automation, using a robot to handle precise and repetitive tasks. This robot prepares specialized plates with media essential for sustaining embryos during their growth. Robotic technology works alongside embryologists in a sterile environment, providing 10 times more precision and accuracy than manual preparation. This automation reduces the risk of human error, ensuring better consistency and reproducibility in the culture conditions, ultimately optimizing embryo growth and development.

New Prenatal Test (STORK)

Another potentially groundbreaking development is the STORK (Short-read Transpore Rapid Karyotyping) prenatal test, which can determine if a fetus or embryo has the correct number of chromosomes in less than two hours. This test is faster and about ten times less expensive than some other clinical genetic tests. The rapid results of the STORK test provide crucial information to expectant parents early in the pregnancy, allowing for informed decisions and personalized care.

At-Home Sperm Collection Kit

Originally developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the at-home sperm collection kit is now a permanent offering at the Center. This kit includes a sterile plastic cup with proprietary fluid media housed in a custom-designed recyclable foam container. The container holds the cup at an angle, allowing the sperm to pool while maintaining temperatures. Not only does this kit lower costs, but it also improves patient safety and access. Additionally, men are less stressed when collecting sperm in the comfort of their own homes, resulting in better-quality samples.

Dr. Zev Williams and his team are revolutionizing the field of IVF with their innovative technologies and patient-centered approach. These advancements are improving the success rates of fertility treatments and making the journey more comfortable and affordable for patients. Dr. Williams’ dedication to advancing reproductive medicine is truly changing lives and shaping the future of fertility care.

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Jennifer "Jay" Palumbo

CEO of Wonder Woman Writer, Freelance Writer & Women’s Health Advocate. Has written for Parents Magazine, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, and ScaryMommy.