A leading Scots embryologist who won her whistleblowing unfair dismissal case is now working in a factory on the minimum wage with her 30-year career in tatters, according to her partner.

Ann Henderson, a senior embryologist, was sacked after she raised serious concerns about IVF practices at Scotland's only private fertility clinic.

She repeatedly warned about an "unacceptably high-level risk of errors" at GCRM Glasgow Fertility Clinic in Cardonald due to staff shortages, lack of staff skill and a workload that was too high, the hearing was told.

Ms Henderson, who was laboratory manager, claimed hopeful parents were also being "misled" over success rates.

The hearing was told that Mark Tomnay, then general manager at owners TFP Fertility, did not want to deal with the scientist's escalating concerns, as it would "impact negatively on patient numbers and therefore income."

READ MORE: What's next for reproductive science? From 'designer' babies to gene editing 

Instead she lost her job and is now in line for compensation after winning her whistleblowing detriment and unfair dismissal case at an employment tribunal, which, "was not satisfied that any element of her conduct was blameworthy".

Her belief that she was making protected disclosures that were in the public interest was said to be "genuine and reasonable".

The 56-year-old, who lives in Bishopbriggs, was represented by her partner Michael Lappin, at the tribunal, who is a former detective.

He said: "She spent £30k on a lawyer but ran out of money.

"It was me who was pushing it. She just wanted her name cleared.

"More importantly she wants them held to account and she wants the patients to know.

"They [the company] fabricated four reasons to dismiss her and they were all knocked out of the park."

He said raising concerns about working practices at the clinic had "wrecked her 30-year career."


He said: "She now works in a factory on minimum wage. She can't get a job.

"She is an embryologist, she has a child and she can't move. 

"I think they are now paying £70,000 a year for that job. She's had to get a lodger in her house so she doesn't lose her house.

"She's lost ten years of wages and her 30-odd career is over."

She had previously worked at a clinic run by private provider Nuffield and said the equipment used by GCRM was "older", there was a lack of properly trained staff and the workload was too high.

She was concerned that success rates at GCRM were lower than Nuffield and suggested the clinic should switch to their system of inseminating eggs freshly removed from the woman rather than frozen eggs.

She estimated that the survival rate of eggs after thawing fell below 50% in some cases.

She said the clinic's medical director, Dr Gaudoin, agreed that if the data showed particularly poor survival rates they should use fresh eggs and freeze embryos shortly after fertilisation.

She told  Mr Tomnay that "patients were not being offered the best service possible and were effectively being misled about their prospects."

READ MORE: Quarter of NHS whistleblowers say they wouldn't report concerns again due to stress 

She said there was a significant risk of fatigue impacting on the quality of work being undertaken and an increase in the possibility of accidents.

She told the hearing there were several incidents at the lab, including a mistake in handling patient eggs. She was suspended in August 2021 and sacked in February 2022 when she refused to negotiate her exit.

The tribunal found that Mr Tomnay and Ella Tracey, the TFP managing director who chaired Henderson's disciplinary were both "heavily motivated to discipline her."

Ms Henderson told the hearing: "[I] asked too many questions."

A hearing is still to take place to determine how much compensation the firm will be ordered to pay her.

The embryologist's partner said Mr Tomnay had been promoted to commercial director, overseeing all the firm's clinics across Europe.

He said: "Everyone we got as witnesses - the company told them not to appear. We had to go and cherry-pick a couple of witnesses and get orders for them to attend.

"Fertility is such a small world and they didn't want their reputation tarnished."