Fertility Doctor Talks Jewish Infertility

Jew fertility doctor

Dr. Marcus Rosencrantz, Fertility Specialist, writes about infertility in the Jewish Community 

by Marcus Rosencrantz, MD FACOG

I grew up in a Jewish household living a rather Jewish filled life. Jewish day school, Jewish summer camp, Jewish youth group. You get the idea. We would celebrate the holidays, we would light the candles on the Sabbath, and we would often go to temple for services. And I loved every minute of it; well almost every minute of it (like any other child, I could skip sitting in services all day for the high holidays).

It was through these childhood experiences that I learned early in life about the importance of family and celebrating my Judaism. I knew that I wanted to have a family of my own and be able to share those same experiences with them. And I am so lucky to have had those dreams come true. I have an amazing wife and two little boys who also go to Jewish day school, Jewish summer camp, etc, just like me.

As a fertility specialist, I come to work every day and meet extraordinary women and men from different backgrounds, different faiths, and different perspectives. Some have partners, some don’t. Some are just starting treatments and others have been on a long journey. But regardless of these differences, all of them are looking for the same thing, to have a family and be parents. Meeting people, learning about them and hearing their stories, and being able to help them fulfill their dreams of parenthood has to be the best job anyone can ask for. I am so grateful.

During my training as an OBGYN, my Judaism never really overlapped with patient care. It wasn’t until my infertility fellowship that I had my first experience with an orthodox Jewish family who needed help conceiving. And although I know a lot about Judaism, that couple helped inform my understanding of the complexities that can arise when infertility meets religion.

When it comes to fertility, there are several issues that are unique to Judaism. For example, some Jewish couples are not able to conceive because of timing issues around their menstruation, their ability to go the mikvah (the ritual bath), and ovulation. Some Jewish couples have issues with timing during fertility treatments because of restrictions around the Sabbath or other Jewish holidays. Some Jewish men have issues around collecting a sperm sample for evaluation. Some rabbis have issues around using an egg donor or a gestational carrier. There can also be complicated issues around Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Finally, there are certain genetic diseases that are more common in Jews than the general population. The list includes:

Gaucher Disease
Niemann-Pick Disease
Tay-Sachs Disease
Joubert Syndrome
Cystic Fibrosis
Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Familial Dysautonomia
Bloom Syndrome
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Usher Syndrome
Canavan Disease
Walker Warburg Syndrome
Familial Hyperinsulinism
Mucolipidosis Type iV
Glycogen Storage Disease
Maple Syrup Urine Disease
Nemaline Myopathy
Fragile X Syndrome
Fanconi Anemia

The carrier frequency of the diseases listed above range from 1 in 15 to 1 in 149. Preimplantation genetic testing can be performed during IVF for couples who are carriers of the same genetic disease (the list above are autosomal recessive diseases which means both partners have to be carriers to have a risk of having an affected child). After the egg has been fertilized in the lab and has grown for several days, a few cells are removed from each embryo using a microsurgery technique. The DNA collected from the cells is then analyzed for that specific genetic change and embryos that carry these changes are identified before they are used to achieve a pregnancy.

About Reproductive Health and Wellness Center

Dr. Marcus Rosencrantz opened Reproductive Health and Wellness Center in the summer of 2019 in Laguna Hills, CA in south Orange County. Dr. Rosencrantz wanted a fertility clinic that would go above and beyond the miracles of medical science, like IVF or egg freezing, and combine them with whole body wellness treatments, like acupuncture, spiritual direction and nutrition, for the best possible results at conceiving.

As one of the few Jewish fertility specialists in Orange County, Dr. Rosencrantz, understands first hand the unique issues that Jewish people face with infertility. As a part of a minority ethnoreligious community, Dr. Rosencrantz’s compassion for diverse religious and/or cultural backgrounds facing infertility, is part of why he was selected as a Top Doctor in fertility by the Orange County Medical Association. Known for his excellent “bedside manner” the diverse community of Orange County and international patients alike have made him one of the fastest growing fertility clinics in the area.

For a free fertility consultation with Dr. Rosencrantz and his team go here or call 949-516-0606.

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