Being passionate about infertility and women’s health drives Dr. Kenan Omurtag to make a difference.
1) Where are you from?
I’m from Rolla, Missouri. Both of my parents are Turkish, but I was born in good ole Phelps county at Phelps Health in 1981.
2) How did you decide you wanted to go into medicine? In particular, why did you choose to become an infertility specialist?
My mom pushed it at a young age. It seemed to be an option for a stable career with a lot of branch points and opportunities within (teaching, policy, leadership, etc). In general, reproductive endocrinology and women’s health made sense because it was gratifying, and the science is amazing. You are always pushing boundaries, and who doesn’t like talking about sex all the time? Never a dull moment.
3) Tell us about your family!
I have three girls, and my wife is currently expecting a boy. We are pretty much homebodies but love sports, music and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her extended family is all within 10 minutes of our house except for a brother in Chicago.
4) Tell us about the moment you became a dad. What was that like?!
I remember that it took a while (labor was 24 hours). My wife was induced, and even though I knew it would take a while (first pregnancy), it was still hard. There were some scary moments along the way, but it all turned out okay. I still remember that first 24 hours with our firstborn, the next five days, and the challenges of adjusting to parenthood. I had an idea, but I really had NO idea. Also, postpartum blues/depression is real and partners should be at the ready.
5) What are the best/worst parts of being an infertility specialist?
The best part of being an infertility specialist is seeing a patient or hearing their voice when they find out they are pregnant after a long journey. If that ceases to cause me satisfaction and joy, I have said I should look for a new job. The hardest part is breaking bads news. Telling someone they miscarried is the hardest thing, and although I have done it so often, it still is hard.
6) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Any unfulfilled dreams?
In five years, I hope I’m still doing what I am doing, helping to improve the infertility process for patients and the teams that take care of them. I gave myself a 10-year timeline to see where my career trajectory was heading. We’ll be there in 2023-24.
7) Any hidden talents or hobbies?
I love to dance. Though people who know me know that, so it’s not hidden. I was a big basketball player, but I stopped because at 36, I didn’t want to risk an Achilles injury given the nature of the way I play.
8) What do you love most about STL? What do you absolutely loathe?
STL is great. The food scene has maddeningly improved in 10 years. But it’s still really the same place it was 20 years ago, for better and for worse. Loathe? Easy. No beach.
9) What is the most surprising thing about fatherhood?
The most surprising thing about fatherhood? As the clichés say, we all deny and assume, “that won’t be me.” You can’t escape it. And, it’s actually beautiful for that reason, even when it’s maddening.
10) What’s your personal passion or cause?
Getting people access to fertility treatment. Whether its convincing privately or publically, fertility treatment is not a privilege, its a medical treatment and should be covered.
Kenan Omurtag is a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) specialist. Born and raised in Rolla, MO, he went to UMKC’s 6-year medical school and then moved to Atlanta, GA, for his OBGYN residency training at Emory.
He moved to St. Louis for his REI fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine and currently practices at the Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center.
He loves talking about infertility, fertility treatment, endometriosis, male factor infertility, and IVF. He has focused his research on how technology can enhance the patient experience and the pitfalls of how it disrupts the patient experience.