Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Fertility Expert Dr. Margareta Pisarska
Jan 24, 2020 Nicole Levine
Her career has been driven by a powerful force: family.
"It's all about family," she says. "I went into reproductive medicine to help people have families."
"Family can be anyone, not just your biologic children. It's who you love and who loves you. Who you trust and who trusts you. So, I have multiple families. My work family, my home family, and my extended family."
She shared some observations about family, fertility, and her own history that brought her to medicine.
What's a piece of advice you wish more couples knew about having children?
Margareta Pisarska: A lot of factors go into when people decide it's time to have children: financial stability, career, how their lives are going. We need some balance.
We see higher rates of complications when we get older, and maybe we can consider that, too, when we're planning our families.
But, there's no perfect time to start a family. Everything falls apart all the time, and you have to say, "So be it—I'll take it as it comes. We're going to have our family and everything else can work itself out."
What led you to become a doctor?
MP: That goes back to my family.
My parents were both Christians and Holocaust survivors, but they didn't really speak about their traumas. Since they died, I've found so many artifacts, including trinkets from the camp my mother was in. Someone gave her a cross made out of a bullet casing as a reminder to have faith that she would survive.
I give a talk about this once a year called "Silence and Survival" because my parents never really talked about their experiences. I reflect on family and what it is. It's not just your children. During times of war, your family's not your blood family—it's who is there to still give you faith and the will to survive.
I want to help people build their families and help them have the joy of having a family, even though it's sometimes quite devastating when people can't become pregnant.
How do you define family?
MP: Family doesn't have to be your blood relatives or your biologic children. It's who you love and who loves you. Who you trust and who trusts you.
So, I have multiple families. My work family, my home family, and my extended family.