Infertile patients cannot afford to wait for treatment while their eggs get older.
Dr. Sherman Silber, Infertility Center of St. Louis, is offering free video consultations for patients who need to plan now for their treatment while stay-at-home orders are in place. He is talking to and evaluating patients in their home via to comply with social distancing measures.
Dr. Silber is discovering that patients actually prefer this method of telemedicine consultation over the conventional office visit. Patients have conveyed that “it is so much more convenient and less stressful” to have a free telemedicine personal consultation than to take a day off from work to travel to the doctor’s office and sit with other nervous patients in the waiting room.
The COVID-19 pandemic is thus changing much of the way we will do things in the future, and for the better. "Our patients are surprisingly much happier with this approach. Of course, at some point we need to perform hands on treatment. But with this new manner of seeing patients, we can come to the right diagnosis and treatment plan for most patients more efficiently, quickly, and painlessly, with no loss of personal one-on-one communication.” This is a very welcome new era of telemedicine that has been forced on us by the current difficult times.
St. Luke’s Hospital is known for some of the world’s most groundbreaking, leading-edge therapies for couples facing infertility issues. The hospital has been recognized in Child magazine as among the nation’s top 10 fertility centers, based on success rates.
Silber’s patients hail from every U.S. state, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. He authored three medical textbooks and consumer books and scientific papers about human reproduction. He serves as a broadcast consultant and spokesperson about infertility issues.
In addition to St. Luke’s Hospital, SIlber works from medical facilities and clinics at M.I.T. in Cambridge, Mass., Tokyo, New York and the University of Amsterdam.
“One in every 250 young women today is a cancer survivor, but cancer treatment usually leaves these women sterile,” Silber said. “In essence, it castrates these young girls chemically and radiologically while curing the cancer.”
“This medical advance brings a tremendous feeling of optimism to young women with cancer, as well as those who need to postpone childbearing for other reasons,” Silber said. “It gives women with cancer the emotional message that we are expecting them to be cured, and 90 percent are cured.”
In 1997, Tucker’s treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma began with chemotherapy. She went into remission, but her cancer returned. In 1998, she needed more sterilizing cancer treatment. One of her health care providers told her about Silber’s pioneering research in fertility preservation, and she decided to have him remove and freeze one of her ovaries.
Tucker has been in remission since 2001. But the treatment that saved her life also left her menopausal and otherwise unable to have children.
In January 2009, Tucker returned to Silber so he could transplant her ovarian tissue, which more than a decade earlier was frozen.
Tucker, 32, is cancer-free and lives in Columbia, Ill. Grant Patrick Tucker was born May 27. His mother reportedly is one of a couple dozen women in the world who have chosen ovary freezing to protect them from the sterilizing effects of cancer treatment.