Jianming Li, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at UT Southwestern.  He is the Laboratory Director of Embryology, Andrology, and Endocrinology, and an embryology specialist.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in animal science at North West Agriculture University in China, Dr. Li earned a Master of Science degree in animal science with a focus on reproductive physiology at Cornell University.  He also received his Ph.D. from Cornell.  Prior to joining UT Southwestern in 2014, Dr. Li was on-site Laboratory Director at New Hope Fertility Center in New York.

An embryology specialist plays a vital role in the journey to pregnancy for women struggling with fertility.

With more than 30 years of experience in embryology, UT Southwestern's Jianming Li, Ph.D., HCLD, has performed many successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, helping thousands of patients become pregnant.

For the past two decades, Dr. Li has been an embryologist and an IVF/embryology laboratory director for a number of successful IVF centers.  Since joining UT Southwestern's Fertility Clinic in 2014, he has continued to enjoy successful IVF outcomes.

IVF consists of three main events.  First, it requires personalized ovarian stimulation to produce good-quality eggs.  Second, eggs are retrieved and combined with sperm in the laboratory to become an embryo.  The embryology laboratory, a place where eggs, sperm, and embryos are cultured, is an extremely important part of the IVF process.  Third, the embryologist places the embryos in a catheter that will be used by the fertility physician to transfer the embryos into the uterus.

The Fertility Center at UT Southwestern specializes in patients with diminished ovarian reserve and/or advanced reproductive age who may have failed previous treatments elsewhere.  Dr. Li works closely with Orhan Bukulmez, M.D., Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) and Medical Director of the IVF program.

Dr. Li is highly experienced in IVF skills and micromanipulation techniques that ensure good-quality embryos.  Additionally, he is an expert in blastocyst stage embryo biopsy for preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening (PGD and PGS) and has a strong pregnancy track record in egg freezing.

His embryology team at UT Southwestern is extremely proficient in conventional IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), egg and embryo freezing with vitrification, laser-assisted trophectoderm blastocyst biopsy for PGD and PGS, and other advanced techniques.

In order to create a patient-oriented, best-in-class in vitro fertilization laboratory, we perform strict quality control and quality assurance programs. We always attempt to develop solutions or steps to make every egg into a potentially viable, good-quality embryo."

–Jianming Li, Ph.D.


Dallas embryologist Dr. Jianming Li answers questions about embryology.

Q: What is the role of embryology and an embryologist in fertility treatment?

A: Embryology is the study of embryos.  As an embryologist, I work with sperm, eggs, and embryos with the goal of helping women have babies.  While I do many other things, in vitro fertilization is a lot of what we do here, and I am involved from start to finish.  I am responsible for ensuring the optimal conditions of the embryology lab, testing sperm samples, collecting eggs, fertilizing eggs with sperm, and helping zygotes progress to the nest stage.  I also assist the fertility specialist with the embryo transfer procedure.

Q: What is important for patients to look for in an embryologist who is helping them?

A: It's important to ask about experience and success rates.  I have more than 30 years of experience and have helped thousands of patients become pregnant.

Q: What are some of the most exciting developments in embryology?

A: Egg freezing is very exciting. It allows a woman to delay pregnancy for whatever reason of her choosing, including if she is undergoing cancer treatment that could harm her eggs.  We have discovered that the amount of time the eggs are frozen is not a problem.  It can be 10 or even 20 years, if necessary.