An Interview with Dr. Ellen Goldstein
Women in demanding careers like technology often feel forced to choose between career and family. Dr. Ellen Goldstein of Beverly Hills Fertility knows this choice is more complicated than prioritizing one and then the other.
Dr. Goldstein attended the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and has published and internationally presented her discovery of the genetic mutation behind a previously unexplained cause of familial infertility.
What are some trends you’ve noticed when treating women in tech?
These women are planners in a high-powered field, already thinking about how to balance career and family goals. I see a trend toward thinking about trying to preserve fertility at earlier ages. Tech companies are forward-thinking in terms of offering fertility benefits, as it helps to recruit and retain top talent.
How have tech workplaces risen to the challenge of offering fertility coverage?
I’ve seen many companies offering third party fertility benefits. The major insurance plans are poor at offering fertility treatment but third-party benefits companies like ARC really understand how fertility care works. Where insurance companies decline, decline, decline, third parties help patients make the best decisions to improve outcomes.
Ultimately, some coverage is better than none, but I’d be surprised if any business attracts and retains top talent without fertility benefits.
Have you observed “egg freezing parties” among career-focused women?
I was involved with one special party where a motivated patient wanted to educate her friends. The event had amazing speakers. We had a medical assistant on hand to test for egg count, and offered private consultations, all for free. Over half the attendees came in for their consultation.
Egg freezing parties are an exciting but not necessarily efficient way to spread awareness. Fertility is ultimately such a private thing, and it took so much effort to convince people to come.
What advice would you give women looking to build their family without undermining their career?
You can’t strongarm biology. Women need to come to terms with the fact they’re going to have to balance family and career building and may have to do both at once. Human reproduction is inefficient, delicate, and unpredictable, even in your prime. Fertility preservation is not a guarantee.
So have a conversation that considers your own biology and availability. Include your doctor, family, partner, and even therapist. Figure out how to juggle these two very important goals. Egg freezing is a great option, but there’s no guarantee of success until you bring a healthy baby home from the hospital.