Alan Copperman on How Data is Transforming Reproductive Medicine

Episode Summary
This week Harry welcomes a guest who could be considered a “poster child” for the movement to incorporate more data into clinical practice: Dr. Alan Copperman, a New York-based specialist in reproductive medicine. He says the data generated by genetic screening of fertilized embryos is rapidly and dramatically improving outcomes for couples who want children.

Episode Notes
Dr. Alan Copperman is director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Vice Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Mount Sinai Health System. He’s also a clinical professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, one of the world’s leading IVF centers; chief medical officer at Semaphore Genomics, a health intelligence company; and medical director at Progeny, a benefits management company.
Copperman tells Harry that data first came into his practice in a major way at RMA, which needed to “learn about what the best way is to take care of patients to optimize their success rates. We fell back on that term that you use, ‘MoneyBall Medicine,’ because we want to have the best embryologists, the best egg-retrieving doctors, the best embryo-transferring doctors. We want to put a team on the field that optimizes the success rate for every couple who walks into our doors…I just got excited about using information to drive better decisions.”
Copperman notes that in his career he’s moved from operating on organ systems—the uterus and the Fallopian tubes—to operating at the cellular level, biopsying individual eggs, sperm, and embryoes. “Running next-gen sequencing, we get close to a million data points on every embryo we biopsy to figure out if they’re healthy or not,” Copperman says. “We need mathematicians to interpret genetic code, then we have to translate it back to a human level and develop decision support tools so that doctors can talk to patients. So it starts off with patients and ends in patients, but the pathway is just so completely different than it was three years ago, no less 30 years ago.”