Hospital Affiliation: Orange Regional Medical Center; Catskill Regional Medical Center; Vassar Brothers Medical Center; Northern Westchester Hospital
Daniel Levine, MD, FACOG, is the medical director of Hudson Valley Fertility. As the father of two daughters conceived through in vitro fertilization, Levine “understands the anguish of infertility, and I am gratified to be able to help couples build their families.” A native of New York, Levine graduated from SUNY Albany, then attended the Sackler Medical School / New York Program at Tel Aviv University. A frequent lecturer at national meetings and conferences, he also is a proponent of adjunct treatments, as well as stress reduction, during patient treatment.
What are some of the most promising infertility treatments right now?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is our most successful treatment, and treats a variety of fertility factors. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in combination with IVF, has allowed for the successful treatment of severe male factor (male infertility). Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of the human embryo can allow for the pre-conceptual diagnosis of genetic disease, as well as allow for 100 percent accurate sex selection. Future treatments may include longer-acting stimulation medication to reduce some of the burden of the daily administered hormonal injections that are part of IVF. Improved and more affordable genetic testing can make the new technology more widely accessible.
Is there a “cutoff” age for couples who want to try IVF?
Women over the age of 42 should be counseled to strongly consider the use of an egg donor for their IVF cycle, due to the minimal success of IVF at this age. For women over the age of 50, increased health concerns during pregnancy should be considered in pre-treatment counseling.
Are you seeing any differences in the ages, lifestyles, etc., of couples currently seeking infertility treatments as opposed to, say, a decade ago?
With women increasingly focused on careers, we are seeing older women with more age-related fertility issues. Also, we are seeing more same-sex couples requesting fertility treatment. New laws regarding same-sex marriages, as well as changing laws regarding surrogacy, are also part of the ongoing dynamic of reproductive treatments.
What should a couple expect to spend for each round of IVF? Is any portion covered by insurance?
An average complete cycle of IVF costs approximately $10,000. Some insurances pay for IVF with complete coverage, while others may limit the attempts or dollar amount spent on IVF. Some insurance may pay for some costs, such as for medication, ultrasounds, and office visits, but not actual IVF costs. Many patients have no coverage for anything related to IVF. Self-pay packages and multi-cycle plans can help with affordability of IVF.
Based on your personal and professional experience, what advice would you offer to couples considering a fertility intervention?
Education is critical to help couples understand their issues and plan appropriate treatment options. Early referral to a reproductive endocrinologist can help assure timely access to appropriate care.