Episode 90: 1 in 4 Struggle with Infertility: The Doctors
We talk a lot about the statistic that 1 in 8 struggle with infertility, but the thing is, that number represents the general public and not specific demographics within it. Take physicians, for instance. The people on the front lines, helping others with infertility, COVID, and any other medical issue. Their infertility stat? 1 in 4.
As elucidated in Physician Fertility: A Call to Action and One in Four — The Importance of Comprehensive Fertility Benefits for the Medical Workforce, doctors struggle with infertility at higher rates because their family planning takes a backseat during their extensive schooling and residency programs. Even those who work directly in the fertility space often need ART for family building.
In today’s episode, three doctors in the Progyny Provider Network share their stories with infertility, ART, and parenthood. Their experiences straddle both sides of the examination table, calling on a need for both fertility coverage and education.
Guests: Dr. Dorette Noorhasan, CCRM Dallas – Fort Worth, Dr. Ravi Gada, Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates, and Dr. Roohi Jeelani, Vios Fertility Institute.
Host: Dan Bulger
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Perspective from Both Sides of the Exam Table
3:10 – 5:21
Dr. Dorette Noorhasan: I spent a lot of time studying to pursue my career and become this doctor that people are happy with today. But it took a lot of time and energy. And so, I didn’t meet my husband until my very late 30s. And at that time, it’s more difficult to conceive. So, in the general public, one in eight couples struggle with infertility. So it’s very, very common. And as in this article that Marshall so nicely wrote, it’s actually one in four female physicians that are impacted. I’m not shocked at this statistic because female physicians spend a lot of time pursuing our career, trying to measure up and trying to get to the next step and the next level. And all of a sudden, we’ve placed our own fertility or own future or personal future, I should say, on the backburner. And then next thing we know, we’re in our 40s and can’t have a baby.
It’s very interesting that you’re interviewing me about this article, because it’s the life that I’ve lived. So I know it’s all too well. I already had been in private practice for several years. When I was going through fertility treatment, I would come to work during the day, and that morning, I got up, I did my shots, I went home, I did my shots at night. And I would have an egg retrieval on one day and the next day go back to seeing patients routinely as if nothing had happened. I did fine throughout the process. But it certainly does make you understand what your patients go through when you’re doing all these injections and you’re going through the hopes that this cycle will work and then find out a few weeks later that it didn’t and you’re starting back at square one. You really understand what patients go through in terms of that rollercoaster ride. So, it does provide a unique perspective to see it from both sides of the exam table.
Some of the Lucky Ones
16:29 – 18:12
Dr. Ravi Gada: Ultimately, we ended up with 42 eggs. And that’s a lot and that has to do with PCOS. She stimulated really well. And the good news is we got 42 eggs, but the downside is she did end up developing a little bit of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, OHSS. But we managed that fine and she got through it, but it was definitely uncomfortable. But that was a little bit uncomfortable time. But in the end, we ended up with six or seven good blastocyst embryos that we were able to freeze them. And we did the first embryo transfer and it took right away. And that resulted in our son, which is our oldest child, then he’s now five years old. And then a couple years later, we did the second embryo transfer, which was still from that same batch of embryos that we got from that first egg retrieval. And it took right away and we were fortunate enough that it actually ended up being a girl. And for us, we were some of the lucky ones where it worked right away on the first try. And then the second pregnancy it worked right away again.
Waiting for Results
20:18 – 20:55
Dan Bulger: Dr. Jeelani finally found success with IVF. And if you’ve experienced IVF, I think you’ll enjoy this next part. It concerns that annoying thing where doctors tell you not to do a home pregnancy test after the transfer
Dr. Roohi Jeelani: I can definitely tell you that I was one of those neurotic patients that kept checking every single day for the line to get darker and darker. Even though I tell my patients don’t cheat, I 100% get it! Like I was a cheater!
Dan Bulger: But don’t. Really, she advises that you don’t do a home pregnancy test, if you can avoid it!
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Dr. Dorette Noorhasan is the Medical Director and Co-Founder of CCRM Dallas – Fort Worth. She is board certified as a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist.
Dr. Noorhasan grew up in the United States Virgin Islands. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of the Virgin Islands and attended medical school at Boston University School of Medicine. While in medical school, Dr. Noorhasan did medical missions to Guatemala and Mexico. She is conversant in Spanish. After medical school, she completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at the University of Texas, Houston, and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at New Jersey Medical School.
She has published in numerous journals including Fertility and Sterility, Human Reproduction, Women’s Health Issues, Journal of Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology International. Additionally, she wrote the chapter entitled “Does Psychiatric Diagnosis Affect Fertility Outcomes?” in the book called Women’s Reproductive Mental Health Across the Lifespan. She is the author of the books – Miracle Baby: A Fertility Doctor’s Fight for Motherhood and The Fertility Manual: Reproductive Options for your Family – drdorettenoorhasan.com. Dr. Noorhasan truly understands what it is like to walk in her patient’s shoes. She has personally done five cycles of in vitro fertilization to ultimately create an embryo that was eventually transferred to a surrogate. Because of her surrogate’s kindness, Dr. Noorhasan has also been able to experience parenthood, something she once thought was unattainable.
Dr. Noorhasan has received numerous awards including D Magazine Top Doctors in Collin County in 2020, Texas Monthly Top Doctors, Mom-Approved Doctors by DFW Child Magazine in 2015 and 2019, Collin County Top Doctors, D magazine Top Doctors, 2018 and 2019 Castle Connolly Top Doctors and Castle Connolly Top Doctors Exceptional Women in Medicine. Dr. Noorhasan believes in providing individualized compassionate care to her patients. Her favorite part of her job is seeing her patients’ faces light up when they present for their first obstetrical ultrasound.
Dr. Ravi Gada was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Gada entered Texas Tech University School of Medicine in 2001 and completed a dual M.D. and M.B.A of Health Management in 2005. During medical school, Dr. Gada served as his class president for three years. He then moved to Minnesota where he completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the world-famous Mayo Clinic.
While there, he was voted best resident researcher, best resident laparoscopic surgeon, and selected as the administrative chief resident. In 2009, Dr. Gada continued his training for an additional three years at Mayo Clinic and completed his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. During his fellowship, he also completed his second Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with a focus in Reproductive Endocrinology. Dr. Gada has also been very active with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist and served as an executive board member from 2010 – 2012.
On a personal note, Dr. Gada is very happy and excited to return to Texas. He enjoys traveling, sports, and spending time with his friends and family.
Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG provides quality, compassionate care to patients at Vios Fertility. A highly-skilled reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist focusing on all areas of reproductive health, Dr. Jeelani has a special interest in onco-fertility, toxins impact on reproductive function, chemotherapy and oocyte cryopreservation to give those facing cancer a better chance of seeing their dream of parenthood come true.
Dr. Jeelani, a graduate of Ross University School of Medicine, completed both her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University – Detroit Medical Center. During her medical training, Dr. Jeelani received numerous awards in the areas of fetal medicine and reproductive medicine, including the Excellence in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Award from Wayne State. In addition, she has authored a variety of publications and book chapters in well known journals highlighting cutting-edge REI advancements, from preimplantation genetic diagnosis to enhanced embryo transfer, and has presented at national/international conferences and symposiums focused on advancements in women’s health.
Dr. Jeelani is an active member of many medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Breath Before the Plunge
Track: End of All Things
Track: Family Tree
Track: Main Square
Track: Stage 1 Level 24
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: The Secret to Growing Up
Artist: Philip Weigl
Track: Western Shores