It was the spring of 2005 and Bat-Sheva Maslow was on top of the world.
The Riverdale, New York native was in her first year of medical school, had recently gotten married and just happened to fall in love again – this time with the infertility rotation she had recently completed at medical school.
She knew she had always wanted to pursue women’s health, but now the exact path was becoming more and more clear. Plus, finding ‘Mr. Right’ meant the couple could start their family soon, too. Things, she thought, were going exactly according to plan.
In an instant, that all changed. The young medical doctor and her husband were suddenly met with life-altering news: her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In the days that followed, as her husband prepared to undergo sperm freezing to prevent damage during radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Bat-Sheva Maslow decided to reach out to the clinical professor who introduced her to Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), a world she was now navigating not as an objective student, but a vulnerable patient.
“That connection, in many ways, not only saved me personally, but defined my career,” said Dr. Maslow, a reproductive endocrinologist who joins RMA New Jersey as an attending physician June 13 at the group’s Basking Ridge and Englewood offices.
“She not only took great care of us in a difficult time, she became my academic mentor, guided me through my classes and inspired me to pursue infertility as a career path.”
And as uplifting as that connection was, Dr. Maslow found herself on the receiving end of even more compassion and knowledge from other medical professionals during the couple’s fertility preservation journey.
“When my husband was sick and we faced challenges in growing our family, there were so many instances where I encountered ‘that special person,’” she said. “The one who sat with us in our time of worry or grief, who became a beacon through the difficult time on the path to something better.”
“More often than not, that person was a super smart, knowledgeable, and deeply compassionate physician. I wanted to be that. I wanted to be the person who could sit with a woman or a couple in their most vulnerable moments and have the knowledge and expertise to start them on a path toward a better life.”
This time, she got her wish.
Today, Dr. Maslow’s husband is 17 years cancer-free, the couple have four daughters and Dr. Maslow has been ‘that special person’ for hundreds of vulnerable fertility patients in New York and New Jersey, helping them either start, grow or plan their families.
A lot has changed since 2005. After Dr. Maslow re-connected with her REI professor as a young medical student following her husband’s cancer diagnosis, she went on to earn her medical degree with a research distinction in reproductive endocrinology in 2009, conducting research on menopause, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and HIV.
Next, she completed her OB/GYN residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and concluded her fertility training with a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) fellowship at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, from which she graduated in 2016. Simultaneously, she obtained her master’s degree in clinical and translational research at the university.
After a short stint with Gold Coast IVF in Woodbury, New York, her first role as an attending fertility doctor, Dr. Maslow in 2018 joined New York City’s Extend Fertility, where she and other REI’s focused on egg freezing patients until the practice began offering more traditional fertility services like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in the last few years.
At Extend, Dr. Maslow, who is one of the few Orthodox Jewish female fertility doctors in the country and advises Orthodox Jewish couples on fertility care that won’t interfere with religious doctrine, grew into a beloved doctor for all her patients – no matter their ethnic background, religious beliefs or sexual identification.
“No matter what kind of patient I’m advising, or whether we’re talking about pregnancy achievement or egg freezing, I’m committed to offering all my patients the best, most intimate and honest care possible.”
For Dr. Maslow, that means educating her patients about reproductive anatomy, obstacles to pregnancy, results stemming from testing or treatment, treatment expectations and alternatives and the chances of success with egg freezing. It also means always, always offering patients as much compassion as information.
“It’s truly an honor to be able to sit with women, couples and individuals in their vulnerable spaces, to help them better understand the reproductive system and to give them hope,” Dr. Maslow said. “There are very few people in the world who can briefly pop into a person’s life story and completely alter its trajectory for the better.”
“As an REI, I get to be that person almost every day!”
Part of Dr. Maslow’s passion for educating patients relates to egg freezing, on which she has published extensively and which she still feels is unfairly stigmatized.
“A lot of women are actually dismissive of egg freezing, and I want to change that,” she said. “It’s not easy to find the right partner, and fertility does decline with age, so it’s completely appropriate for women in their 30s to be thinking about this – in fact, it’s very smart.”
“It’s really important for me to meet these egg freezing patients exactly as they are – realizing their life plan has not gone according to plan, but helping them control the one piece of their fertility they can to maximize their chances of motherhood down the line.”
After all, Dr. Maslow knows exactly what it’s like for things not to go according to plan, and to have to reach out for family-building help during one of the most difficult periods of your life.
“I know first-hand that having to navigate fertility care isn’t easy,” Dr. Maslow said, “but when you have a provider you trust who knows what you’re going through and can hold your hand through it all, it makes a world of difference.”
As for Dr. Maslow’s story, things are continuing to fit into place. This time, at RMA New Jersey.
“To be able to do one of the most important and fulfilling jobs in the world at RMA is a dream come true,” Dr. Maslow said. “This practice is nothing short of world class – from the physicians, to the evidence-based research done here, to some of the highest IVF success rates in the country, I’m just so honored to be here.”
“And I cannot wait to meet my patients.”