FWR Ask the Expert Series with Dr. Mark Hornstein

by Davina Fankhauser
President - Fertility Within Reach

Fertility Within Reach’s Ask the Expert Series


Today’s interview is with Dr. Mark Hornstein.  He is, in our opinion, a wonderful doctor, a voice for reproductive health sciences, and a champion advocate for patients and the field of infertility.


1.      Get to know our expert.  

Dr. Mark Hornstein is a reproductive endocrinologist practicing at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and has been named a U.S. News Top Doctor.

Dr. Hornstein attended Medical School at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (1982).  His Residency took place at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital (1986) Obstetrics & Gynecology and his Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (1988) Reproductive Endocrinology.  He has practiced infertility medicine for 25 years. 

Dr. Hornstein’s Clinical Interests include:

assisted reproductive technologies/in vitro fertilization



laparoscopic surgery

reproductive endocrinology

Dr. Hornstein has served as the former President for the New England Fertility Society (NEFS) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART).


2.      How can you serve as a valuable resource for those experiencing infertility?

“The most important thing I can do is provide accurate and honest information, relevant to patients’ situation.  Patients need to make decisions based on best available information.  A specialist is an important source.  The clinician should give best just judgment and make a recommendation and clarify what it’s based on.  We practice evidence based medicine (our understanding of the best and up-to-date scientific evidence.)”


3.      Who do you recommend that newly diagnosed infertile individuals seek advice from when trying to navigate the complex health insurance system and other barriers to fertility services?
“There are lots of resources available to patients.  It’s an incredible maze for patients and their families, as well as for clinicians treating their patients.  Some sources would include practices at navigating insurance.  They have experience in communicating with the insurers.  Doctors can also write letters to insurers, on behalf of their patients, advocating for insurance coverage.  Secondarily, Fertility Within Reach and other patient advocacy groups that have people who can help the patients.  They are also a very good source of information.” 


4.      Why do you feel that patient advocacy is important for those experiencing infertility?
“Patients are the best advocates for their situation.  The patient is a human being and other human beings are reviewing and responding to the patients.  Patients need to tell their stories because they make an impact.  Legislators respond to constituents.  Facts are only part of the story and people respond to personal stories best.”


5.      In 5 years from now, what do you think the treatment options available for infertility patients will be? What is the likelihood these treatments would be covered by insurers?

“We are at the threshold of significant advances medically and scientifically in reproductive medicine.  Blastocyst embryo transfers are more common with higher success rates.  Egg Freezing is more prevalent and a standard of care.  There are more advances being made involving genetics in reproductive treatments (which potentially will improve success rates).

The main thing that drives insurance to support a particular technology is whether it is a standard of care by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the data of success for the technology.”

 Mark Hornstein


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Davina Fankhauser

President - Fertility Within Reach

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