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Fertility Doctor of the Month: Owen K. Davis, M.D.
Owen K. Davis, M.D., The Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine of Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Owen K. Davis is Associate Director of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) at The Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine of Weill Cornell Medical College and a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine. He is also President Elect of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and will become President of the Society next month. FertilityAuthority is pleased to recognize Dr. Davis as Doctor of the Month.
His treatment philosophy is straightforward: a willingness to treat patients so long as they fully understand what the success rate is. “If a patient has a chance for success, and the physician has had enough of a volume of experience and flexibility in his practice to have had success with patients in a similar situation, he should be willing to treat that person and at the same time to be very candid about what the success rate is,” Davis explains.
“I look at it as analogous to treating any other condition or disease,” he says. “Take cancer, for example. If you’re a cancer center and someone comes in with a stage 1 illness with a 90 percent cure rate that’s one thing. But if someone comes in with a stage 3 or stage 4 illness, where no matter how good the treatment is the success rate may be lower, but there is a success rate, you’re not going to decline to treat that patient. I see that as being the same thing.”
Clinical and Research Focus
Cornell sees a lot of patients who have not had success elsewhere. “I’ve developed stimulation protocols for challenging patients in terms of how you stimulate high responders and low responders,” Davis says. “That has been an area of focus clinically and in terms of publication.” His clinical and research interests also include treatment of older IVF patients, together with determining how many untested embryos to transfer in that population.
Cornell’s laboratory has worked to develop techniques to optimize embryo quality for people who have previously had poor embryos, poor implantation and embryos that have not made it to transfer.
What inspires Davis’s service to ASRM in addition to his clinical work? “I think this society has a very important mission in terms of education, in terms of serving patients, and I think ASRM is the leading reproductive society in the Americas – perhaps around the world. That’s a very important role to play in terms of education and research,” he explains
“Getting to an exposure to a wide array of scientists and clinicians and psychologists and other health care professionals is broadening and is an education in and of itself,” he adds.
It’s time consuming, but not difficult to maintain his clinical practice in conjunction with his work with ASRM. “In the electronic era, and the nature of my practice is that if I’m away from the office I’m in contact electronically and by phone with covering physicians and my nurses and my office staff. You can be in Taiwan and know what’s going on with your patients.”
He adds, “When your feet are on the ground and in your practice you have to double up on your work. You have to be efficient.”
In the past he has been the chair of the IRB at Cornell, and the president of SART. “I feel that I’ve been trained for this,” Davis says.