*Written for Women’s Edition – https://www.womensedition.com/omahahealthyliving
This month, Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine welcomes Dr. Elizabeth Constance to the practice! Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Dr. Constance completed her training and OB-GYN residency at the University of Kansas before relocating to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Focusing on reproductive endocrinology and infertility, she completed a three-year fellowship program, consisting of half clinical medicine and half research. During her fellowship, she researched new methods for fertility preservation for women and girls going through cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, which can severely impact fertility. “Infertility is a very difficult situation for individuals and families to walk through,” she says. “When you add a cancer diagnosis on top of that, it can add extra stress and uncertainty. Anything we can do to take the worry off future fertility, so the woman can just focus on the immediate treatment and healing, is a huge weight off of her shoulders.”
For adult women going through chemotherapy or radiation, doctors can harvest healthy eggs from the ovaries and freeze them before the patient begins treatment. This helps preserve the woman’s chances for fertility in the future, after cancer treatment. However, for young girls who haven’t gone through puberty, there is currently no way to preserve eggs that have not matured enough for fertilization.
During her fellowship, Dr. Constance dedicated her research to extracting those premature eggs from young women and preserving them outside of the body. That way, in their own time, young patients might still be able to have their own biological children after undergoing cancer treatments. Her trials on mice were successful, she notes. “Our contribution was one small step toward having that technology available in the future.”
Dr. Constance brings her own empathetic experience to patient care because she herself went through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive her second child. “I have walked that journey and come out the other side of it,” she says. Her personal experience, however, still comes second to her passion for patient care. Her philosophy is to consistently provide individualized plans for each patient who walks through her door.
While IVF comprises a large portion of her daily routine, there is no cookie cutter answer for every infertility patient. This is where today’s expanse of medical technology comes into play. As IVF is a costly and time-intensive procedure, Dr. Constance is constantly working to find new ways to treat fertility issues. “One-size-fits-all is not my approach,” she asserts. “I work with patients to look at personal medical history, needs, and beliefs. I learn each patient’s individual goals for building her family, and then I tailor the plan and the treatment for each person.” Her one and only goal is to help individuals and couples create the families they’ve always dreamed of having.
Dr. Constance is a constant reminder to her patients that they are never alone during difficult times, and she consistently seeks to be a support system for them throughout their treatment process. Sometimes, the most frustrating thing is when all test results come back normal…yet the patient is still unable to conceive. “Sometimes, you don’t have a hard and fast thing you can point to and say, ‘This is the reason this is happening.’ In those cases, we go on from there with the most reasonable treatment plan.”
While she was interviewing for jobs, Dr. Constance knew she wanted to be close to her Kansas roots. Omaha was “the perfect balance.” During her interview process, Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine stood out to Dr. Constance as soon as she came into the office. “The compassion and care for patients was palpable when I walked in,” she recalls. “From the front desk staff to the physicians and nurse practitioners, it’s just obvious that everybody is completely focused on getting the best outcome for each individual person that walks through the door. I was looking for that balance. I want to be able to provide cutting edge medical therapy for patients, but I also want to really walk that emotional journey with them, to be there for them in the joyful moments as well as the heartbreak.”
Beginning this month, Dr. Elizabeth Constance joins the dedicated team at Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine at 7308 South 142nd Street, in Omaha. Consisting of three physicians and two nurse practitioners, the team is dedicated to helping families plan for the future, and they’re delighted to have Dr. Constance join their practice. If you are having difficulty conceiving, have suffered a miscarriage, or are looking to preserve your future fertility, reach out to Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine at 402-717-4220 or heartlandfertility.com.