The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Reproductive Planning For Future Doctors (and Moms) with Dr. Kamaria Cayton Vaught

Dr. Kamaria Cayton Vaught discusses reproductive health in women, the appropriate age to undergo egg freezing, and shares family planning advice for medical practitioners.

  • [0:20] The Six-year Medical School Program
  • [09:45] Why Dr. Cayton Vaught Became an OBGYN
  • [18:27] Why Women Need to Think About Their Reproductive Health
  • [20:30] Egg Freezing
  • [[24:15] Advice to Medical Practitioners about Reproductive Health
  • [26:45] The Process of Reproductive Planning

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Kamaria Cayton Vaught, a reproductive endocrinologist who’s currently in her fourth year of fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Today Erkeda and Dr. Cayton Vaught talk about reproductive health in women, the appropriate age to undergo egg freezing, and why women in medicine should strongly consider egg freezing.

The Six-Year Medical School Program

As you probably already know, different universities offer different medical programs to different people. However, according to Dr. Cayton Vaught, medical programs are usually not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing. What works for one person might not necessarily work for the next. Nevertheless, if you strongly believe that you want to be a physician, then you should consider the six-year medical school program.

With this program, you’ll study for a shorter period, you won’t have to take the MCAT exams, and best of all, you’ll start your own continuity clinic. Although the prospect might sound enticing, it won’t be easy; you’ll have to study all year round, and you won’t have the luxury to party every other weekend.

Why Dr. Cayton Vaught Became an OBGYN

At age five, Dr. Cayton Vaught already knew that she wanted to deliver babies, and she credited this passion as the driver when things got tougher. At around that time, his older brother suffered a brain injury that forced his family to spend a lot of time in and out of hospitals. She found the medical world intriguing, and as she grew older, she grew curious as to how a woman’s body functions.

When it came to specializing, Kamria already knew she wanted to work with women, so it was fairly easy choosing reproductive endocrinology. What this means is that she works in understanding women’s reproductive health and helping them conceive.

Why Women Need to Think About Their Reproductive Health

Unlike men, women are born with more than a million egg cells. However, with time, the egg count and egg quality in a woman starts to decline. This means that as a woman grows older, her chances of getting pregnant and delivering healthy babies often take a hit. According to Dr. Cayton Vaught, humans are already inefficient at making babies since a perfectly healthy woman has a 25% chance of getting pregnant even with near-perfect conditions.

Egg Freezing

As earlier mentioned, as a woman grows older, the egg quality is usually compromised, leading to unstable DNA. Dr. Cayton Vaught explains that unstable DNA usually results in errors during meiosis and is often the root cause of miscarriages. However, there is hope. Today’s technology makes it possible for women to freeze their eggs when at their peak and use them later when needed. This process can be extremely beneficial for women who are not yet ready to have babies but are hopeful that they’ll be able to conceive healthy babies when they do.

Advice to Medical Practitioners about Reproductive Planning

People in the medical field can brag about being knowledgeable about most things in the human body. Nevertheless, not many pay close attention to their reproductive health. Dr. Cayton Vaught is worried that women in medicine tend to concentrate more on their careers without giving much thought to their reproductive health. The fact that it takes way longer for a person to establish themselves as a medical expert means that some women often lose track of time. If you are at a point in your life where you feel your career comes first, it would be best if you considered egg freezing before it’s too late.

The Process of Reproductive Planning

From biological childbearing to adoption and in vitro fertilization, there are many different pathways to parenthood. So, if you want to boost your chances of conceiving healthy babies, then egg freezing is the way to go. The first step is usually injectable medication for 14 days that stimulates the body to produce multiple egg follicles.

The next step is an ultrasound to get the follicle count, followed by more medication to help the follicles grow in size. A few days later, the follicles are usually in the recommended size, and egg retrieval can now occur. The retrieved eggs will then need to go through an embryologist who confirms the presence of an embryo. However, there is usually an 85% chance of the egg surviving, so your doctor will most likely freeze a couple of eggs in the process.

 

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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