What is the most rewarding part of being a reproductive endocrinologist?
Being able to work with smart and motivated individuals who wish to have a child (either now or in the future) is the most rewarding aspect of mt job. Even though I have been a reproductive endocrinologist for 20+ years now, it never gets old when a patient comes in to introduce their baby to our team or when she completes an egg freezing cycle and tells me that “it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be — your team was super helpful and supportive.” I love the educational aspect of my job as well— helping patients better understand how their body functions and how to optimize their health as they work toward their goal of growing their family … that never gets old.
Why is access to care important to you?
Because having a child or growing one’s family should not be considered a luxury.
What does family mean to you?
Though not always perfect, a unit of one (or sometimes two or three) potential parent(s) and child (or children). To me, a family does not always require a blood/genetic connection. Oftentimes (especially when people come to me for assistance), there is choice in the matter, meaning choosing a sperm source/choosing an egg donor at times and/or choosing (if needed) a gestational carrier to carry a pregnancy. What is remarkable to me and something I have realized over the years is that there are many, many ways to build a family. The traditional “Leave it to Beaver” family unit is only one of multiple ways to establish family ties nowadays. There are single parents using donor gametes to conceive and carry their much desired child, two parents carrying each other’s embryos, single parents using donor eggs and donor sperm with a gestational carrier to conceive a child, etc.
What advice would you give to someone starting their fertility journey?
To try and learn as much as possible so they are educated about themselves (their body, their health) as well as how to optimize their natural fertility. I want them to understand how age impacts efforts to grow a family later in life so people better understand why it is important to try and not delay too far into their future.
If fertility treatments are indicated, it is super important (given the intensity and time commitment at times) that the person feel comfortable and supported by his/her/their reproductive healthcare team — that his/her/their physician has a network of support in the clinic (nurses, medical assistants, lab team, financial team) as well as a willingness to work with “holistic” practitioners (acupuncturists, nutritionists, therapists etc.). This ensures comprehensive support for the individual on their journey towards parenthood.
What is one word to describe the impact you have made on a patient’s life?
Overused but true—GRATITUDE. As I’ve become more experienced and seasoned, I have come to increasingly recognize that medicine is not 100%, meaning that it doesn’t hold all the solutions for me and for my patients. I try my hardest (alongside my fantastic CCRM NY teammates) to help people reach their goal of having a healthy child/of preserving eggs/embryos so they may have an opportunity in the future to have a child & I am grateful that individuals trust my team enough to come to us and ask us to work with them on their fertility journey.