When did you know that you wanted to be a reproductive endocrinologist?
When I started medical school, I knew I wanted to practice in the area of reproductive health, but my choice of Reproductive Endocrinology evolved over time—as did the nature of our subspecialty. IVF was just in its infancy when I chose to do a fellowship in REI. The complexity of the female hormonal system and the challenges of reproductive surgery appealed to me as well as the opportunity to make such a difference in people’s lives. Fertility care through IVF has become the dominant theme in our field— I have loved watching its success increase and impact people’s lives in such a positive way. I was so fortunate to make the choice when I did!
Why do you believe coverage, like Progyny is important?
I believe that part of being a physician is to embrace equitable delivery of health care. Why the coverage of fertility services has been excluded from most health care plans is unclear, but this has left so many of our patients dealing with a huge financial burden, in addition to the emotional burden, of infertility. To know that one’s care will be covered is so important, even transformative, for the mental health of our patients. Along with RESOLVE, ASRM and other Washington State physicians, I am part of a coalition that has been working for the past couple years to make insurance coverage of infertility available to all in our state.
What does family mean to you?
To me family means having other people in your life that you love unconditionally. My daughters will be quick to say that I believe my best job ever was being their mom. Part of what I do is also to help people see all the different ways a family can be started or expanded—and how fulfilling treatment options like donor egg or surrogacy can be.
What advice would you give to someone starting their fertility journey?
Smart, powerful, resilient people often tell me that their fertility journey was the greatest challenge they have ever faced. Consider all your options, make a choice on the path you will take and embrace it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your fertility physician or nurse. I have come to believe that a focus on relaxation and positivity during your treatment is an important factor in the best outcomes—and ask your partner and others to help you through this when you need them!
How do you think the field of reproductive endocrinology will change in the next 5 years, in the next 10 years?
I am hoping that fertility services will be available to all in 5 years! I am also hoping that collaborative reproduction such as egg donation and surrogacy will be better accepted and routinely covered when they are needed. From a science standpoint, in 5 years we will be even better at selecting the best embryo for transfer using non-invasive testing, in order to achieve ultimate pregnancy outcomes. In 10 years, we should be able to make artificial eggs and sperm, and maybe even correct serious genetic diseases in an embryo.