Shawn Zimmerman, PhD

Lab Director

Dr. Shawn Zimmerman is the Lab Director and strives to help patients achieve their dreams of having a family. He holds both a Master’s of Science and Doctorate in Reproductive Physiology with a focus on molecular pathways and continues to help advance our understanding of human reproduction.

His primary interest is determining what sequence of events allows for proper fertilization in the human body. His research has focused on what parts the sperm plays during the process of fertilization and how this understanding can help infertility couples. He has written several scientific papers on how sperm are able to bind and properly fertilize eggs in vivo and continues to research this area of human reproduction.

Dr. Zimmerman works side by side with the physicians to provide the best experience possible for each and every patient that comes for treatment.

Shawn Zimmerman, PhD Q & A

What do you like best about being a Lab Director in reproductive medicine?

I think what I like best about working in reproductive medicine is the look on a couple’s faces when they finally achieve their dream of starting a family or expanding their current family. So much of what I do is behind the “magic curtain” that one can easily forget why we do what we do. That’s why I always enjoy the opportunities to meet the patients and hear their stories because I feel that gives them a better idea of who is watching their future children.

Why did you choose to work in the field of reproductive medicine?

Understanding how reproduction happens always came easy to me, from both human as well as an animal aspect. As I worked my way through college I had multiple opportunities to observe all of the major events that occur during a successful reproductive cycle. My curiosity began to stir when I started my PhD work at the University of Missouri. It was there that I got the opportunity to see my first IVF case while rotating through the medical school.

What I had seen many times before work, resulted in no pregnancy and it was then that I started to think “maybe I can figure out why this didn’t work”. Since then I’ve dived head first into trying to understand how I can better attempt to recreate the uterine environment inside of my lab and give all patients that come through a fighting chance at achieving their dreams of having a baby.

What’s the most memorable experience you have had as a Lab Director?

I would have to say it was shortly after I had started working in the reproductive field. I was finishing up a cycle of patients and was on one of my last transfers. The patient asked me if I had a picture of the embryos we were about to transfer, I said yes, and she then stated that she wanted a picture taken with me holding the picture of the embryos. The cycle was a success and once she had delivered her healthy baby girl she returned and asked that I take another picture this time holding her newest addition. It was then that I knew all the hours I put in for each and every patient is well worth it and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

What does it feel like when you have helped a couple to become a family?

It’s very rewarding. While what I do doesn’t always get the lime light I always enjoy seeing pictures of the families I’ve helped create especially in those cases where the parents have been trying for a long time.

What is something most patients don’t know about you?

What most patients may not know about me is that I really enjoy the outdoors. Whether is hiking, bike riding, taking my dog for a walk, playing sports, you name it I’m game. Beyond the outdoors I really enjoy wood working, more specifically refinishing antique furniture. There’s something about bring back old pieces to life again that is relaxing and rewarding.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to spend my free time with my family. I have a 6-month old daughter who is always up for playing with dad and then I also have a 15 yr old step daughter who keeps me on my toes with all of her activities. So between them and our 2 dogs I’m always doing something with someone and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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