Reshef Tal, MD, PhD, never tires of one moment that occurs regularly when he’s treating couples who have struggled with infertility.
“After the pregnancy test comes back positive and we do the first ultrasound, you can’t beat witnessing that little flicker of a heart beat and seeing the joy on your patients’ faces,” says Dr. Tal, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist.
That happiness, Dr. Tal says, is hard earned for couples. “Many times, a diagnosis of infertility is devastating for a couple, and they come to me after having already tried to conceive for a year or more,” he says. “There can be a lot of frustration, and stress from the unknown, but I walk them through every step of the way. It’s not an easy journey, but at the end of the day, it’s a gratifying one, and most patients have good outcomes.”
Dr. Tal’s research focuses on embryo implantation during in vitro fertilization (IVF). “In the past few decades, there has been a revolution in the field of reproductive medicine since the introduction of IVF. We have pretty good knowledge about how to culture embryos and pick the best ones to transfer back to the patient,” he says. “However, there is still a lack of knowledge when it comes to the implantation process. About 40 percent of embryos fail to implant despite being of good quality and normal genetic make-up, and much less attention has been paid in the field to the role that the uterine lining plays in this process.”
His work explores how stem cells are related to implantation and successful pregnancies. “We need better solutions,” Dr. Tal says. “If we can better understand how stem cells are related to the reproductive process, such as implantation and pregnancy maintenance, we can translate this knowledge to the bedside with new treatments.”
Dr. Tal is an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.