Reproductive Health Talk Recap: Dr. Kyle Orwig, MD

Reproductive health is a central part of every woman’s overall wellness and sense of self. Thanks to ongoing advancements in medicine and research, more technologies that improve women’s reproductive health are becoming available.

In that vein, Women’s Health Conversations was so pleased to welcome Dr. Kyle Orwig, MD, a leader in fertility preservation technology, to discuss his role in reproductive health innovation at our 2016 conference. In case you missed Dr. Orwig’s talk, we’ve put together a recap of the highlights of Dr. Orwig’s work and research that’s impacted so many women and families in the Pittsburgh area and beyond.

About Dr. Orwig

Dr. Kyle Orwig is a Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he serves as the director of research in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. His lab performs extensive and innovative research focused on stem cells, germ lineage development, fertility, and infertility. 

Additionally, Dr. Orwig is the founding director of the Fertility Preservation Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which closely studies the effects of disease, medical treatments, age, and other factors on reproductive function. The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh is also developing revolutionary technologies to help preserve and restore the fertility of women and men experiencing infertility that would otherwise be very difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. 

This multidisciplinary program works very closely with Magee-Womens Research Institute, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Hillman Cancer Center, and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law to provide the most comprehensive fertility care and resources available.

What Is Fertility Preservation?

Whether for medical, genetic, age-related, or other reasons, many women and men may require fertility preservation technologies such as oocyte, embryo, or semen cryopreservation. This method of freezing eggs, embryos, and semen is especially important as cancer survival rates continue to increase, because radiation and chemotherapy can drastically interfere with fertility.

In addition to medical and genetic reasons, women are turning to methods of fertility preservation to help ensure that they will still be able to have healthy families later in life. As women in their 20s and 30s focus on careers and building financial stability, we’re seeing a trend toward women beginning their families in their 40s. Thanks to the research and cutting-edge reproductive technologies to which Dr. Orwig and his team have largely contributed, women are now able to safely freeze their eggs so that they can start a family whenever the time is right in their lives.

Pittsburgh Fertility Preservation Resources

The entire process of egg freezing, or oocyte preservation, typically takes two to three weeks and has been shown to yield similar success rates to those of embryo transfers using fresh eggs, which is between 36 and 61 percent. Of course, every woman’s specific circumstances are going to influence her individual success rate, so it’s important to work closely with your doctor to discuss the best fertility options for you and your family.

If you need help managing infertility, you can contact the fertility preservation dedicated phone line at (412) 641-7475 or email your questions to FertilityPreservation@upmc.edu. More fertility preservation and fertility risk resources are available on the Fertility Preservation Pittsburgh resource page