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Sammy Lee

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 19 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7678
  1. Lawrence Mascarenhas

Sammy Lee was a larger than life character, responsible for changing the lives of thousands of infertile couples. Sammy was a visiting professor in UCL’s department of cell and developmental biology and at the ABC Medical School, Brazil. He was particularly well known as an expert on male infertility and assisted reproductive technology, having been consultant scientist and lead intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) practitioner at the Portland Hospital for Women and Children (1995-2003), scientific consultant at SeronoLaboratories (1986-93), and scientific director at the Wellington Hospital in vitro fertilisation programme (1985-86). He was widely exposed to the media, wrote a book on counselling in male infertility and was the inspiration for the character in the novel One Life by Rebecca Frayn, after the author herself sought Lee’s help for IVF treatment. His biography, Willing to Die for It, by Frances Lynn was published in 2010.

Sammy Lee went to Mill Hill School and describes himself as a late starter. His chemistry teacher, despite being quite fond of him and keeping in touch after he left, repeatedly told him “a monkey can do better than you.” Sammy was proud to be doing A level biology in a school that had turned out Francis Crick, the molecular biologist Nobel laureate. He left school with two Cs and …

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