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Ad Astra Per Aspera | To the Stars through Difficulties

Ad Astra Per Aspera | To the Stars through Difficulties

our team astra fertility

Our Team

Dr. Essam Michael

astra fertility dr. Michael


Dr. Essam Michael is the founder, Director, and CEO of Astra Fertility Group since 2004.

He is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He finished his residency training from Queen’s University in 1994. Dr. Michael has also been an active staff member in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at William Osler Health System, Etobicoke Campus, since 1994.

Dr. Michael held an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) position in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

He is committed to teaching medical students and residents. He is also the Founder and Director of the Astra Minimally Invasive Surgery Unit, which is currently the only Independent Health Facility (IHF) in Ontario providing ambulatory gynecological surgery. The unit offers a full range, advanced, minimally invasive gynecological surgery (MIGS).

Dr. Michael manages and treats a wide range of medical and surgical fertility problems. He is highly skilled in endoscopic procedures focusing on Reproductive Surgery. He is also very experienced in the full range of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments. His area of interest is focused on uterine anomalies and recurrent intrauterine adhesions and severe Asherman’s Syndrome.

He also manages fertility-related pelvic factors including tubal disease and endometriosis. He is actively involved in clinical research and has several publications, abstracts, and presentations in the field of Reproductive Medicine.

Dr. Amanda Michael


Dr. Amanda Michael is an active member of the Astra Fertility Group. She obtained her undergraduate and medical degree from McMaster University. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Amanda Michael is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also an active member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Dr. Michael has published numerous scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has also presented her work at national and international medical conferences.

Dr. Michael has special interests in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, reproductive endocrinology, and infertility. In addition to caring for fertility patients, she currently maintains a full-time obstetrics and gynecology practice at the William Osler Health System in Brampton.

astra fertility amanda

Dr. Rami Elias


Dr. Rami Elias joined the Astra Fertility Group in 2016 leading the Male Reproductive Health Division. Through a collaborative approach, male health conditions are properly diagnosed and appropriately managed under his care. Identifying underlying medical conditions contributing to male infertility is his primary goal. He is well versed and experienced in hormonal manipulation and surgical interventions related to male infertility. With direct access to on site surgical facilities, interventions are completed without delay.

He obtained his medical degree at the DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University. Subsequently, he completed his surgical training in Urology at McMaster University. He completed an additional Advanced Minimally Invasive Urology and Robotic Surgery Fellowship, enabling him to perform a variety of complex oncologic and reconstruction surgeries.

Dr. Rami Elias is an active member of the Canadian Urology Association, Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. His hospital privileges are through the William Osler Health System, Etobicoke Campus.

astra fertility remi

Dr. Alex Varghese

Dr. Varghese is the Scientific Director at Astra Fertility, since 2015. He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Calcutta, India for his thesis based on ART. Alex started his career in clinical embryology in 1996 and has since then been providing, embryology services, scientific guidance regarding the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and research for many institutes.

He was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and faculty of ART training at the American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, USA. He moved to Canada in 2010 and joined as Senior embryologist at the ORIGINELLE Fertility clinic. Alex has authored over 40 manuscripts and edited 8 books in assisted reproduction. He is well regarded for his passion to disseminate knowledge through online platforms and as a leader of embryology society. He has helped in establishing training programs in many programs and affordable batch IVF units in many South Asian Countries.

He also holds the Guest Lecturer position (for a Master’s course in Clinical Embryology) at JSS University, Bangalore India. His area of interest is in developing automated systems for assisted reproduction. He is an executive committee member of a special group in the Andrology of Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) and Past President of the Academy of Clinical embryologists-India. He participates on several advisory committees which review standards for ART Laboratories.

Dr. Varghese believes in “responsible reproduction” through ethical practices, low-cost IVF for the masses, quality management, and safe practices that safeguard the health of IVF children.

List of Research Publications:
List of Books Published:

astra fertility alex vargese

Maria Teresita Lao

BSc, MSc (Hons), MLT

Maria Teresita Lao (Teh) is Astra’s in-house Embryology Laboratory Director. Starting her employment with Astra Fertility in 2006, she transitioned from clinical technologist in Andrology to receiving training in Embryology, while obtaining a Master’s in Clinical Embryology.
With over 12 years of professional experience in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology, she has participated in several educational training courses including biopsy for preimplantation genetic testing in Madrid and cryopreservation and transplantation of human ovarian tissue: focus on fertility management and preservation in Belgium, to name a few.

She has been an active contributor in the implementation of analytical techniques and new innovative technology such as the time lapse system at ASTRA. She has co-authored several scientific abstracts, presentations and publications. She also is an active member and certified embryologist of Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. Her expertise lies not only in the technical aspect in the laboratory but also the overall operations that maintain the quality standard compliance and assurance system. Her dedication to this field is primarily focus on the improvement in medical outcomes and overall personnel and patient safety.

Teh always places patient’s interests first and is always ready to help her fellow colleagues. As she believes that working courteously and effectively with others would get any task done with the highest quality outcome.

astra fertility maria

Sarah Pereira


Sarah Pereira is the head of nursing at Astra Fertility, managing the department in all locations, overseeing all IVF related procedures, and assisting with the minimally invasive surgery unit procedures. She also oversees the government funding cycles and manages the patient flow, along with patient safety and ethics.

Graduating Conestoga college in 1986 with a diploma in Registered Nursing, she started her nursing career at the Peel Memorial hospital from 1986 to 2004, focusing on surgical and pre–operative, preceptor and resource nursing. In 2004, Sarah joined Astra Fertility to pursue her interests in the field of fertility. With over 15 years of experience, she manages and part-takes in monitoring, IVF, and overall nurse management.

Sarah uses her resources to train employees on the importance of safety, efficiency, and teamwork to ensure patients receive quality service that Astra Fertility strives for.

astra fertility sarah

Jenifer B. Figueora


Jennifer Figueroais the head of Phlebotomy, supervising the department overall functions in all locations, including planning and supervising Medical Device Reprocessing operations in both Clinics and the Minimally Invasive Surgery Unitat Astra Fertility. Joining Astra in 2006, Jeni was employed as a registered Medical Laboratory Technologist, then gradually transitioning into phlebotomy.

In 2018, she became Infection Control Officer, responsible for the development and implementation of IPAC Policies and Guidelines to ensure patient and employee safety. Earning her degree in Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. She is also a Certified Medical Laboratory Technologist and also holds a certification in Medical Device Reprocessing in Community Health Settings by CSA. She is a member of CSMLS, CMLTO and IPAC Canada.

Jennifer constantly refines her department to provide a safe, welcoming and highly patient centered environment at Astra Fertility.

astra fertility jenifer

Mansour Mikhail

BSc, MSc Winnipeg

Mansour Mikhail is the head of the Andrology/Endocrinology department, supervising quality controls in all Astra locations regarding all andrology and endocrinology related procedures. He has over 30 years of experience in managing and performing reproductive endocrinology laboratory procedures which include semen analysis, sperm preparation for IUI, DNA fragmentation and hormonal assays.

Mansour has a Bachelor and two Masters of Sciences degrees, accredited in both Egypt and Canada.
He started his work experience at the University of Manitoba then managed the fertility lab at the Care Centre, Med-Chem laboratories, The Women’s College Hospital and Tissue Bank Director at Xytex Canada.

Currently, he revises and routinely refines techniques and protocols used to manage patient samples, handling and processing methods, and the quality controls utilized to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

Mansour’s main objective is providing and keeping the highest quality of the work done in patient care to ensure the progress of patient treatments.

astra fertility mansour

Marta Melo Damasceno


Marta Melo Damasceno is head of Ultrasound, supervising the department overall functions in all locations Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, certified by the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario and has over 25 years experience in the field. Joining Astra Fertility in 2011, she has performed numerous Sonohysterogram procedures, assisted in Egg Retrievals and Embryo transfers during procedures, and also assisted patients during their treatment progress.
Marta also provides general supervision and evaluation of new ultrasound staff, and reviews current practices to assist in improving patient flow.

She is qualified to perform Abdominal, Small parts ultrasound, 3D, Infertility,OB/GYN exams, First, Second and Third trimester, Fetal anatomy, Growth, BPP and Obstetrical Doppler.
Highly accomplished in performing assessments and using clinical knowledge to determine diagnostic protocols.

Marta’s scope of focus revolves around providing leadership to ensure the delivery of safe and efficient patient care, as well as providing a compassionate environment.

astra fertility marta