Q&A With Dr. Zalman Levine

Q: Why did you choose to specialize in reproductive endocrinology and infertility?
A: In medical school, I had a wonderful professor named Dr. Brian Cohen who gave lectures on reproductive endocrinology. With his intellect and humor, he inspired me with the rapidly-advancing science of the field, and with the challenges and joy in helping people grow their families.

Q: What do you think is the most interesting assisted reproductive technology available?
A: IVF is the most sophisticated treatment option. We are continuously learning more and more about how to optimize working with eggs, sperm, and embryos, to the benefit of our patients. The advent of IVF-related techniques has also opened new doors. For example, the evolving science of PGT (preimplantation genetic testing) has dramatically increased the success rates of IVF. We have made great strides in honing our ability to safely and reliably freeze reproductive tissue, which means that women, men, and couples can now preserve their fertility by freezing eggs, sperm, and embryos. This is helpful even in the absence of infertility; many couples in their reproductive years are not ready to start a family.  By undergoing elective IVF, they can preserve their fertility by freezing embryos now, while their eggs and sperm are still young and healthy, for use in the future.

Q: What makes the Fertility Institute of NJ & NY unique?
A:  As academically trained physicians, Dr. Berin and I are committed to offering our patients the most advanced reproductive technologies and providing the highest levels of medical care. We strongly believe in treating the whole person. We focus on the patient, and their wants and needs at all times. We learn what our patients’ family-building goals are and explore what emotional needs and social hopes drive them. Often assisted reproductive technology is recommended to a patient whose particular needs might not require it or who may not want it. Our team at the Fertility Institute listens to our patients needs, wants, and dreams, and we personalize their care accordingly.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a fertility specialist?
A: It’s awe-inspiring for me to see an embryo under the microscope in the laboratory; to then place that embryo into the patient’s uterus, and a few weeks later to see that  embryo growing on ultrasound. The patient’s eyes often well up with emotion of hearing the embryo’s early heartbeat around 7 weeks gestation. I feel great joy and great privilege to be part of our patients fertility journey, and I feel the constant weight of responsibility to find success for each and every person I treat.

Q: What do you think is the most difficult part of the IVF journey? How does the team at the Fertility Institute of NJ & NY help?
A: Infertility, and fertility treatments such as IVF, can involve a roller-coaster of emotions. An important service our team at the Fertility Institute provides our patients is to help guide them through the process, both medically and emotionally. We are experts at what we do, and we often help our patients achieve success, but helping them to stay positive while balancing their expectations is a critical component of treating the whole patient.

Q: What is the fondest memory you’ve had at the Fertility Institute of NJ & NY, to date?
A: Every day brings with it new, wonderful memories. I love working with our team at the Fertility Institute; my interactions over the years, and every day, with our clinical, laboratory, and administrative colleagues make my professional experience here very fulfilling. I love that every patient brings with them unique medical and emotional needs. Every procedure and surgery that I perform brings its own challenges and memories. Even though I have helped thousands of people become parents, every birth announcement sent to me, and every precious baby brought to our office for a visit to meet the team, is uniquely special.

Q: If you could offer one piece of advice to women trying to conceive, what would it be?
A: do not give up on your dreams, ever. We at the Fertility Institute are dedicated to working with you and helping you achieve your goals. For some, the path to parenthood may be somewhat difficult, But our team is here to guide you and support you in your efforts. Do not give up on your dreams. Do not give up on turning your dreams into little realities.