Dr. Sergio C. Oehninger comes to Sher Fertility Institute New York as a reproductive endocrinology & infertility specialist who has been practicing for over three decades and brings with him a warm, compassionate and professional approach to his philosophy of interacting with his patients. His door is always “open” to his patients and his approach to fertility has made him a well-respected by peers and patients.
Q & A with Dr. Oehninger
- What do you like most about what you do?
During my clinical career it has been my goal to help infertility couples achieve their dreams of starting a family. My work in infertility has resulted in the delivery of over five thousand babies, considering successful ART and non-ART treatments. I have witnessed an amazing increase in pregnancy rates in IVF in the last three decades, the result of multiple factors including better hormonal preparations, improved IVF laboratory quality control and assurance, new culture media, and better embryo transfer techniques.
- In practice, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud when my patients come see me to “show off” their babies. I have had amazing patients throughout the years. Back in the late 80’s, I had a couple that delivered healthy triplets*. The parents of the children have sent me pictures of the three offspring every single year for the last 24 Years at Christmas time, including college graduations and lately a wedding of one of them! An immense reward that keeps motivating me.
(* not a desired outcome, something not happening nowadays as we only transfer 1-2 embryos)
- Why did you choose to work in the field of reproductive medicine?
I initially chose the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology as I considered it a wonderful field that combines endocrinology, surgery, and all the medical conditions that can affect pregnancy. I recall the exact time when I chose this field. It happened as I was taking a Masters’ course at Rutgers and I became totally attracted to the physiology of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, i.e., the mechanisms that control follicular development and ovulation, and in general regulate the menstrual cycle. With the time approached, I elected the subspecialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility as I learned more about the exciting and new evolving field of IVF in the mid-80s.
- What do you consider your special areas of interest in reproductive medicine and why? What is your approach to medicine?
I am known as in “infertility doctor” that can take care of both members of the couple: as a female reproductive endocrinologist and as an experienced “andrologist”, i.e., someone taking care also of the male patients in the initial stages of their work up. I am not a urologist so I will refer to those specialists as appropriate, but my training led me to gain experience in both the female and the male sides of the infertility couple. My clinical and basic research during my academic time has focused on ovulation stimulation protocols, implantation aspects, and analysis of the semen.
- Share something unique people don’t know about you
I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Small and tranquil country, politically and economically relatively stable. Well known for its soccer (actual the real name is football…), with several world championships under their belt. Of course, I played soccer in my early days, but kept contact with my local team after moving and becoming a US citizen 30 years ago. I am still eagerly watching soccer games, particularly the English and Spanish leagues where the best players perform.
- What do you do for fun in your spare time? What are your hobbies
My wife Maria is an instructor of political sciences, and interested in political and liberal arts, so she is thrilled about our move to NY City. Our grown-up children are: Sergio (commercial litigation lawyer in DC), Sebastian (who works for a non-profit patients’ advocacy institution in Hampton, VA), Natalia (a labor and contract lawyer in Dallas, married to Tony, also a lawyer working in real estate), and Matthew (chief financial officer at a law firm in Northern Virginia). There seems to be some “family deviation” towards law, maybe genetic (many lawyers in my wife’s family) (as opposed to more physicians on my side). Natalia and Tony gave us our two precious grandchildren, Adriana (age 3) and Anthony (12 months) that we cherish and idolize. Matthew and wife Sami have two of our two family pets-dogs, Daisy and Lily, and Natalia and family love their Dexter. Being with family is our hobby.