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Infertile patients cannot afford to wait for treatment while their eggs get older.

Dr. Sherman Silber, Infertility Center of St. Louis, is offering 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 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 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.

Ovarian Transplant – KTVI Channel 2 St. Louis

by Tom O’Neal

KTVI Channel 2 St. Louis, July 15, 2010

fox-2-logo.On May 27th, Amy and Jason Tucker of Columbia, Illinois became the proud parents of a new baby boy [watch news video]. Grant Patrick Tucker weighed in at 6-pounds, 13-ounces. A new baby is not that unusual, but Grant’s story is a bit different. It didn’t start 9 months before his birth, but more than ten years. And no, the couple didn’t go through years of infertility treatments.

When Amy was a 19-year old college student, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. She knew the cancer treatments would leave her infertile. Dr. Sherman Silber, head of the Infertility Center of St. Louis at St. Luke’s Hospital told her about his work with frozen ovaries. He had had some success freezing ovarian tissue from animals for years, then transplanting it back to find that the ovary functioned normally again. He offered to try it with Amy and she gave the OK.

Dr. Silber took some ovarian tissue and froze it in his lab while Amy was undergoing chemotherapy and even a bone marrow transplant. Amy beat the cancer and more than a decade later, decided to try to start a family. In January, 2009, Dr. Silber transplanted the tissue back into Amy. Although Amy was now 31, her ovarian tissue was that of a 19-year old. The ovary began functioning within a few months and a few months later, she was pregnant [watch news video]. Just under 9 months later (Grant was 3 weeks early), she delivered a healthy baby boy. Amy and Jason are thrilled and have settled in nicely with a new “boss” in the house.

This procedure offers new hope for women battling cancer and worried about their fertility. But there is one aspect of this happy story that bothers Amy and Dr. Silber. Insurance usually won’t pay for it. They consider this an infertility problem and they don’t pay for fertility treatments. Dr. Silber argues that this is a result of cancer treatment and thus insurance should pay. He adds that insurance will pay for breast reconstruction when a woman undergoes a mastectomy due to cancer.

Dr. Silber counts about two dozen success stories using this procedure for women with other female problems. He feels these success stories show this procedure is not experimental and that that argument should be rejected also. Dr. Silber intends to continue the fight to get coverage. He feels so strongly about it that he covers the cost in cancer cases like Amy’s.

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