Having Realistic Expectations Regarding IVF Outcome

Hardly a day goes by without one or more patients/couples contemplating IVF asking me, "what are the chances of my succeeding?" or "When is it time to stop?" Here's how I answer these vital questions.

Posted by Dr. Geoffrey Sher on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dr Sher to be retiring within 1 year : Make an appointment ASAP!

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Announcing my Retirement in the Year Ahead: A letter of Thanks From me to You!

“Everything has its Season!”

Dear Patients and Friends,

After some 35 years in the field of Assisted Reproduction (AR), having founded the First Private (non-university based) IVF program in the United Sates in 1984, and having been influential in the births of >18,000 babies, the time has finally arrived for me to prepare for my retirement. I therefore, wish to take the opportunity of announcing here, that I will be discontinuing full- time clinical practice by no later than mid-2018……..Everything in life has its season, and so it is for me as well.

I entered the field of Assisted Reproductive Medicine in 1982 when, after being trained in England by the pioneers of human IVF, Drs. Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards PhD, I returned to the United States to establish the 1st non-university based (“private”) IVF program and the 4th overall in the Nation. It certainly was not an easy process. I encountered a great deal of resistance from numerous “academics”, who asserted that IVF, being experimental, belonged in the University setting. So it was that for many years I had to “swim upstream”. Ultimately however, ] with the emergence of more and more successful IVF programs in the non-university setting,  the tide began to turn.

In the years that followed, I was very fortunate in attracting an incredible team of doctors, nurses, embryologists and administrators. Together, through dedication, hard work and innovation we pushed the envelope. Some of our accomplishments included:

  • The first (and to date, still the only) truly independent 3rd party attestation audit of IVF outcome statistics in order to emphasize the need for honest reporting of IVF success rates so that consumers can make informed choices. Sadly, the reporting of validated IVF outcome statistics, is something that to this day is still sorely lacking. Thereupon, based upon confidence in our reported success rates we were able to introduce Financial Risk-sharing with patients, where remittance of fees for IVF services is linked to the successful outcome of treatment.
  • We introduced intrauterine (artificial) Insemination (IUI) with washed and enhanced sperm.
  • We launched the exclusive use of gonadotropin therapy for IVF
  • We identified several ultrasound parameters that help determine the anatomical receptivity of the uterine lining for implantation, along with vaginal sildenafil (Viagra) therapy to improve endometrial blood flow, growth and receptivity
  • We helped define causes of immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID)  and introduced selective immunotherapy to address this all too often, ignored cause of IVF failure
  • We introduced “Prolonged coasting”, a method which can prevent the life-endangering consequences of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) while at the same time helping to protect egg/embryo quality.
  • Approximately 12 years ago we became the first to introduce full chromosomal embryo genetic assessment (preimplantation genetic screening-PGS) to help identify the most “competent” embryos, for selective transfer to the uterus. This significantly improved the IVF success rate per embryo transferred across the age spectrum, while at the same time reducing miscarriage rates as well as the occurrence of numerical chromosomal birth defects.

I truly believe that there is no greater blessing than to be born into a preordained role and thereupon have the good fortune of spending every single working day fulfilling that “mission”. But no individual can alone achieve true success. It invariably requires a dedicated team…… And it is to the team of loyal, talented and dedicated, Doctors, Nurses and Embryologists that I have been so fortunate to work with and befriend over the years that all credit must go. It was their selfless contributions, and unwavering loyalty/trust that made the journey so successful and incredibly meaningful.

There are however, two individuals that warrant special recognition and mention. They are my wonderful wife (of 50 years) Charlene and my professional partner/confidant and friend (of 30 years), Ghanima Maassarani Dr. Med;  Without the dedication, encouragement and unwavering support, of these two wonderful individuals, little of value could have been accomplished…. And is to them that my undying gratitude and love goes.

Finally and most importantly, to those of you, who over the last 35 years became my patients and placed your full trust in me…you will always have my enduring appreciation.

If you are interested in gaining access to my services before I retire, please contact my patient concierge, Julie Dahan at 800-780-7437 as soon as possible. For those of you who live in the U.S.A or Canada, please call Julie at 800-780-7437. If you reside elsewhere abroad, call 702-533-2691. Alternatively, you can email Julie directly, at Julied@sherivf.com or go to the home page of the Sher-IVF website (www.SherIVF.com) where you will find a short enrollment form to complete and Julie will thereupon promptly reach out to you to set up a consultation with me.

 With gratitude and thanks!

Geoffrey Sher MD