Dr. Fox speaks with Simi Hersko and Yehudis Grunwald from A Time, a nonprofit organization that helps women and families dealing with infertility as well as pregnancy loss, stillbirth, adoption, or IVF. A Time began as an emotional support and advice resource for families dealing with infertility, particularly within the Jewish community. Since then, the organization has expanded and is dedicated to supporting families, educating communities, and advocating for people dealing with infertility.
“Time with A Time” – with Simi Hersko and Yehudis Grunwald
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In the third episode of the “When Bad Things Happen in Pregnancy” Miniseries, Dr. Fox speaks with Simi Hersko and Yehudis Grunwald from A TIME, a nonprofit organization that helps women and families dealing with infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption, and IVF from a Jewish perspective. Yehudis Grunwald is the secretary to A TIME’s Rabbi Unger, and serves as a patient advocate, helping support patients in crisis and explain medical situations in layman’s terms to patients. Simi Hersko handles medical referrals and support for patients.
A TIME began with emotional support or advice on infertility at a time when the subject was much more taboo and not spoken about, especially within the Orthodox Jewish community. As they started supporting couples through infertility, these couples and their communities began to understand that infertility was much more common than they thought. The organization has since grown and supports women and families through IVF and similar treatments, high risk pregnancy, and adoption. They frequently engage in educating rabbis about medical terms and procedures related to infertility. Because a rabbi is often among the first people that a couple seeks advice from, it’s important that they are knowledgeable on infertility.
Forming support groups and networks is another important aspect of A TIME’s work. Yehudis explains that “every couple is in a different place medically and physically,” and that even if they’re not going through the exact same thing, being able to relate to others dealing with a similar problem helps couples feel less alone and understand that there’s nothing wrong with them.
A TIME also helps women and families connect with doctors, therapists, psychologists, or outside organizations to meet their needs. Dr. Fox says that “it’s not just religious support or medical support, it’s both,” and that A TIME often coordinates with his office so that he has a full understanding of a new patient’s story before their first appointment. In turn, Dr. Fox can then rely on Rabbi Unger, who thoroughly understands various fertility issues and can help to counsel patients. It’s also common for couples to reach out to the organization when they are facing a pregnancy loss for help making arrangements and understanding what to do next. Yehudis adds that it’s important to match patients with doctors or other resources who are a good match medically as well as in terms of their personality.
A TIME works with a large team of volunteers to manage a helpline for fertility and pregnancy related questions. Yehudis explains that “on a regular day, we answer 80-100 calls a day,” often because a woman’s family members or rabbi will also call for more information. Through these calls, volunteers will answer common questions or transfer to someone with more medical knowledge to meet the caller’s needs.
Those interested in volunteering or donating to A TIME can learn more at atime.org.