“Ok, ok, I hear you, one second.” I said to one of our incubators one morning as it alerted me to its dissatisfaction of its door being opened.
“Oh she’s really an embryologist now; she’s talking to the incubators.” Our Lab Director, Mary said to me.
My name is Anya Hein and as I have come to find during my first seven months here as USC Fertility’s Junior Embryologist, when you spend 8 hours a day, five to six days a week with these little machines you realize they aren’t just little machines; they’re much more than that.
They are little life-making machines, embryo protectors and nurturers. And, strangely true, they have personalities. So when we got our five new tri-gas incubators, using numbers to identify them just didn’t seem adequate. They needed names. But what kind of names? Something dignified, comforting, and motherly….hmm. Then it dawned on us; why not name them after fertility goddesses and gods? How appropriate! We already have one fertility goddess’s statue perched at the entrance to our lab; why not bring them inside, have the incubators channel some good juju from their namesakes? Everyone likes good juju. So we did some research and settled on six goddesses and one god from cultures all over the globe.
-Aphrodite, the well-known Greek goddess of love, beauty, and fertility.
-Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and fertility; known as the most beautiful and propitious of the goddesses.
-Haumea, the Hawaiian earth mother goddess. Haumea gave form to the first land dwellers; children sprang from different parts of her body, validating her power and control of fertility.
-Mami, the Babylonian goddess who created the first seven embryos from blood and clay. (not exactly how we do it around here, haha)
-Ixchel, the Mayan protector of women during childbirth. They call her the Moon Goddess since the moon is associated with fertility and procreation.
-Yemanja is a goddess from the African Yoruba people, whose tales were brought to Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood and the protector of children.
-Kokopelli, our lone male god amongst goddesses. He is a Native American fertility deity who presides over childbirth. He represents the spirit of music and carries unborn children on his back.
They are all very pleased to meet you!
Animal lovers talk to their animals. Plant lovers talk to their plants. Car lovers talk to their cars. And, well, Embryologists talk to their incubators. (Ok I talk to my animals and car too, shh)