Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility: The ‘Magic’ of IVF

I always knew I was going to be a doctor. As a child my grandfather repeatedly ingrained the idea into my young, impressionable mind. So while I would go on to be the first doctor in my family, no other career had ever been an option.


When I made the decision to go to medical school, my true desire was to help prevent and eliminate the suffering of others. I took this to heart while at Hahnemann Medical School, where I conducted lab research on cancer.


It was after working with a Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patient named Raymond, that I made a decision that changed the course of my medical career, my life – and that of others.


Struggling with the death of this man whom I became quite fond of, I came to the realization that I didn’t want to spend my life working around death; I wanted to spend my career focusing on life. That’s when I made the decision to go into reproductive endocrinology and infertility.


While for some this transition may have seemed out of the blue, cancer and infertility share some of the same mechanisms. Cancer cells borrow the same mechanism that pregnancy uses in order to evade the immune system from attacking it. However, although we want the immune system to attack cancer, we don’t want it to attack pregnancy.  But unfortunately, sometimes it does.


When a woman’s own immune system attacks the embryo it can cause recurrent miscarriages, while other times infertility may be caused by issues with ovulation.


Conditions that may contribute to infertility include:


  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Damage to fallopian tubes/uterus
  • Problems with cervix


Additional factors of infertility include:


  • Age
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Athletic training
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Hormonal changes


In Vitro Fertilization


In vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as “IVF,” is a complicated series of procedures conducted for the purpose of helping individuals to conceive a child. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals require help with fertility or with preventing genetic issues. IVF is the most effective type of assisted reproductive technology that exists.


During IVF, eggs that have matured are retrieved from the ovaries before being fertilized by sperm in a lab. Next, the fertilized egg, known as the embryo, is transferred to a uterus.


While IVF can be done using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm, you can also use eggs, sperm, or embryos from a donor, whether known or anonymous. Although you can have the embryo implanted in your uterus, you may not have a uterus, may be a man in a same-sex relationship, do not have a partner, or have a condition in which pregnancy poses a risk to your health. For any of these reasons – or for no reason at all – you may choose to have a gestational carrier – a woman who has the embryo implanted and goes on to carry the fetus for you.


Cooper Institute Makes Fertility Possible


Although IVF is often known for being invasive, time-consuming, and extremely expensive, it should not have to be. That’s why I believe in offering affordable prices without compromising the integrity of these procedures. Cooper Institute for Reproductive Hormonal Disorders is known for its excellent reproductive services, renowned medical professionals, and affordable pricing, helping families to experience the joys of parenthood.


As a proud father and physician who has dedicated the last 50 years of my career to the continued practice and research of infertility treatment, I truly understand the impact of having a child. For those who have experienced difficulty with natural conception, have tried IVF without success, or who are facing any infertility challenges, I aspire to help them succeed.


My main goal remains helping and contributing to the happiness of others. Medicine is a privilege and I do not take that for granted. It is a gift to be able to assist others during what can be a very vulnerable time in their lives.


My hope is that the blog articles that are to follow will serve to help educate and empower both women and men to take control of their reproductive health and fertility – whenever and however they so choose.


Dr. Jerome Check, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Cooper Center for In Vitro Fertilization