Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine

Beyond the Basics of Infertility Treatments

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex series of procedures used to help with fertility and aid in the conception of a child. Yet, there are other elements to consider with infertility. Could it be genetics, male infertility and now, COVID-19? Our guest this month is a Hadassah infertility expert and lucky for us, she’s just in time for National Infertility Week. Listen as our host discusses infertility with Dr. Anat Hershko Klement, Director of the IVF Unit at Hadassah Hospital’s Mount Scopus campus.


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About this episode

Dr. Anat Hershko Klement is the Director of the IVF Unit at Hadassah Hospital’s Mount Scopus campus. A graduate of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev Medical School, Dr. Hershko Klement knew very early on that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Starting medical school before her short service in the Israel Defense Forces, she notes that she wanted to be a veterinarian, but it was the field of gynecology that she would become so passionate about.  She attended the University of Toronto for a fellowship in reproductive medicine. Dr. Hershko Klement has served as a Senior Lecturer at Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University teaching Israeli and New York State medical students, sat on various committees and boards, and currently heads the Israeli Fellowship Educational Program, the Israeli School for Reproductive medicine and the Israeli Association for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility.

Her awards include the "Chassida Foundation" for excellence in Gynecology Residency – given by the Sapir Medical Center Kfar-Saba 44281 in Israel and the best poster award from The Israeli Fertility Association, in Tel Aviv.

Listen to the latest episode of the “Hadassah On Call” podcast and you’d be hard pressed to realize that our guest — Dr. Anat Hershko Klement — gave the interview in between fertility treatments. She was relaxed, thoughtful and took the time to explain the various aspects of her work as the Director of the IVF Unit at Hadassah Hospital’s Mount Scopus campus.

Her patients — both Jewish and Arab — come to her because of medical issues (such as a couple that cannot conceive) or for social issues (women who want to delay motherhood by freezing their eggs). And then, of course, there is the research arm of her work. Her latest is a publication in a scientific journal that had some surprising findings about how miscarriages may actually offer benefits against developing cancer cells later in life.

And given that the last week in April is National Infertility Awareness Week, we figured it would be the perfect time to catch up with Dr. Hershko Klement.

In recent months, she has been tirelessly working to dispel any myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. “People are very bothered by a possible effect of the vaccine over fertility, though there is absolutely no evidence that a vaccine can harm your fertility,” she made clear on this episode of the podcast. She said, ideally, it would be best for women to get the vaccine before becoming pregnant. But that if they were already pregnant, it might be best to wait until after the first trimester. Why? Because there are often complications during those first few months, and she doesn’t want the vaccine to be blamed for them.

At Hadassah Hospital, and in Israel in general, more female cancer patients opt for fertility preservation treatments before beginning chemotherapy compared to other parts of the world. “It's a matter of awareness and of what we call a multidisciplinary attitude,” Dr. Hershko Klement explained. When a patient walks into the cancer clinic, they meet with doctors and nurses from all different disciplines – oncologists, psychologists, embryologists and more — to discuss a well-rounded and comprehensive treatment plan.

She calls the medical advancements happening in her field – including the ability to educate cells to become an egg – as a game-changer. Asked if she foresees a time in the near future if infertility won’t be as big an issue as it is today, she answers with a smile. “Yes, definitely. I think we’ll get there.”

What else you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Is there a way that couples can boost their fertility?
  • How prevalent is male infertility?
  • What is the difference between slow freezing and flash freezing eggs?
  • Can having a miscarriage impact future fertility?

Further learning:

Read a transcript of this episode.

“Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine” is a production of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah enhances the health of people around the world through medical education, care and research innovations at the Hadassah Medical Organization. For more information on the latest advances in medicine please head over hadassah.org.

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The show is hosted by Benyamin Cohen and edited by Skyler Inman and the team at the Hadassah offices in both New York and Israel.

This episode includes a promotion for:

The Branch
This podcast offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Jews and Arabs in Israel forging meaningful relationships. Presented by Hadassah and hosted by Dina Kraft, "The Branch" shines a light on the stories of people living the example of a shared society. Together. Even though it’s complicated. hadassah.org/thebranch.

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