Bat-Sheva Lerner Maslow, 36
36 Under 36 (2018)Health

Bat-Sheva Lerner Maslow, 36

Extending Fertility, Empowering Women

Amy Sara Clark writes about politics and education. A Columbia Journalism School graduate, she's worked at CBS News, The Journal News, The Jersey Journal, Mom365, JTA and Prospect Heights Patch. She comes to journalism from academia where she earned a master's degree in European History with a focus on Vichy France.

When Dr. Bat-Sheva Lerner Maslow was in medical school, she tried to find a specialty besides obstetrics and gynecology, with its long, unpredictable hours. But other fields just paled in comparison, Maslow said.

It was a good thing, because in terms of finding fulfilling work, Maslow hit the jackpot: She has close relationships with patients, a direct path to help them and a chance to explore a plethora of technological, ethical and religious questions.

“I get to be involved in this grand conversation,” she said. Currently most of her conversations are about third-party reproduction.

Four months ago, Maslow and her husband, Jonathan, a data analyst, moved with their kids to Riverdale when Maslow joined Extend Fertility, which says it’s the first practice exclusively devoted to egg freezing in the U.S.

Technology for freezing eggs has improved, opening new options for young women (who can afford it).

“To be able to take a really complicated, mind-bending topic and … explain the biology and the halachic issues,” she said, “is really fulfilling.”

“Women who are searching for their partners don’t have to feel that they have to make a decision … [right away] because if they don’t, their fertility is going to run out,” she said.

Maslow wants more fertility education for young women. “To me it’s an incredible injustice that women can get to their late 30s and early 40s planning to have a child and no one ever actually told them that the likelihood of having a child [naturally] in their late 30s and early 40s is very small. There are so many women like that,” she said.

The SAR and Bruriah alumna is also director of medical education for Nishmat’s Yoatzot Halacha Fellowship Program, which teaches women about Jewish law related to women’s health. She also lectures and consults on topics where halacha and reproductive science overlap. For example, if you have a woman who uses an egg from a non-Jewish donor, is the baby Jewish? What if a Jewish couple uses a non-Jewish surrogate to carry their biological baby?  

“To be able to take a really complicated, mind-bending topic and … explain the biology and the halachic issues,” she said, “is really fulfilling.”

Multitasker: Maslow hasn’t let her medical training delay building her family. She married her senior year of college, had 9-year-old twins in med school, her 6-year-old during her residency and her 2-year-old while earning a master’s in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

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