Articles

"The practice of medicine is an art based on science." - Sir William Osler

Art for ART

"The practice of medicine is an art based on science." - Sir William Osler

The in vitro fertilization laboratory at Bennett Fertility Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has state-of-the-art micromanipulators, incubators and special surgical equipment. It has the ability to assist couples with infertility and create miracles babies out of seemingly hopeless reproductive situations using the latest medical technology.

Assisted reproductive technology – also called ART – is the high-technology approach to infertility if traditional treatments such as fertility pills or artificial inseminations are unsuccessful. In vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and assisted hatching (AH) are some of the sophisticated procedures offered at Bennett Fertility Institute to help couples conceive. These procedures represent the pinnacle of the high-tech approach to infertility.

At the Institute, these techniques have helped thousands of infertile couples fulfill their dreams of building families. Yet achieving a pregnancy requires more than merely combining human sperm and eggs in the test tube. Infertile couples often experience high levels of stress because of their inability to accomplish the dream of conception, societal pressures, high cost of treatments and the lack of guaranteed success. To reduce patient anxiety, Bennett Fertility Institute's staff go to great lengths to explain the complicated process to couples and inject empathy to the complicated medical process.

"Our nurses and physicians go over the steps of each high-tech infertility process in detail to avoid unpleasant surprises," says Dr. Eli Reshef, the Institute's medical director.

"By combining compassionate care with detailed technical instructions, we can alleviate some of the high anxiety and stress among our patients."

"Our patients are highly educated and require and deserve much attention," says Dr. David Kallenberger, the Institute's program director.

"Even our laboratory technicians closely interact with our patients. This way, patients become familiar with the individuals who handle their eggs, sperm, and embryos and it provides a precious opportunity for our laboratory technicians to interact with real patients, not only with test tubes and Petri dishes."

All of these technical procedures and terms can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. To soften the Institute's high-tech image and reassure patients, the Institute's walls are decorated with art inspired by conception, pregnancies and, of course, babies.

When the Institute's major renovation 16 years ago was nearly complete, Kallenberger considered going to Dallas to find art to hang on its walls. However, he was encouraged to seek out original Oklahoma art instead. So he asked several prominent local artists if they wished to donate works of art to the Institute. All but one said "yes."

The art, which ranges from photography to paintings, has as its themes fertility and parenthood, which underscore Bennett Fertility's mission.

The Bennett Fertility Institute renovation provided larger waiting and reception areas; a larger recovery and surgical waiting area; and added administrative offices for its nurses and the laboratory director. Art adorns the walls from the waiting room to the exam rooms. The art collection is called "Art for ART."

Rebecca Wheeler, Rebecca Collins, Robin Thompson, Nick Irza and Suzie Hupfeld donated paintings, while Dr. William E. Hood donated a pencil drawing. Photographers Erick Gfeller, Marsha See, Elayne Bryant and Charity Bryant-Logan donated work, and furniture artist Charles Twelves created a coffee table for the waiting room.

In 2016, Bennett Fertility Institute was fortunate to receive a large donation of uniquely artistic photographs of newborns from prominent Oklahoma City photographer Mary Steadman. “As a woman that faced struggles to conceive, I understand the moments leading up to and after the arrival of your precious little one. These are some of the most meaningful and emotional days of your life, “ she says. “I also understand the purest love that washes over you at the moment you hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. These times are fleeting’”, she adds. “Many times you will beg for time to stand still so that you can cherish it all for just another minute. I've been there.”