It took me many months to tell you my story because perhaps my subconscious didn’t want to acknowledge that it had come to an end. However, here I am, writing and I confess that the main reason is that I feel a commitment to express my gratitude. I am very grateful to all the AMOpportunities staff who made my participation in the observership at the Assisted Fertility Program of the HCA Florida Memorial Hospital possible. I am also very grateful to all the staff at the Assisted Fertility Program. Thanks to the nurses, the administrative staff, the laboratory technician, and of course Dr. MS. Thank you so much.

I would like to share my experience in order to help those who are interested in doing an observership with AMOpportunities. In my case, I was lucky enough to get an Airbnb very close to the hospital. It was a small house with a kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, and everything I needed to live independently. Dr. MS’s wife recommended a place where I could buy fruits and vegetables to prepare delicious food with good quality ingredients. My suggestion is: bring something to share. If you can’t prepare food yourselves, buy a sweet, a cake or some small gift to share. My colleague, Dr. Spandana Pamulapati, who was also doing the observership organized by AMOpportunities like me, also brought her food every day. So, at lunchtime, we shared our food. Then we started bringing food to share with the Assisted Fertility Program staff. Next, Dr. MS invited us to Syrian, Japanese, and Chinese food restaurants. Ours was a gourmet observership hahaha.

Shadowing Dr. MS was a great experience. The Assisted Fertility Program at the HCA Florida Memorial Hospital is one of the first In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) practices in Florida, since 1985. It was wonderful to be able to learn from an experienced doctor such as Dr. MS. Looking at the awards and magazine articles praising his achievements on the walls made me feel that I was in the right place. We all know how important it is for IMGs to have medical experience in the US to meet residency requirements. I am not only glad to have had the opportunity to live this experience but to have done it with one of the most experienced and leading fertility doctors in Florida.

The experience was not easy. Dr. MS was very demanding with us. Sometimes we had to arrive at the hospital at 6:30 in the morning for IVF procedures and finish at night when operating room hours were extended. We also had to go to the hospital some Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes we didn’t have time to eat lunch because we had to drive from one hospital to another. Furthermore, when we left the hospital we had questions to answer and oral presentations to prepare. We gave three oral presentations: Uterine Malformations, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and next-generation sequencing-based preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies. Any medical student knows that the decision to be a doctor involves discipline and dedication. As Aristotle said: “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act it is a habit.”

There were many touching stories, happy fathers and mothers brought babies and even children of several years of age to thank Dr. MS for giving them the opportunity to start a family. The walls of the hallways had many photos of babies, some even yellow and discolored showing that they had been there for many years. While I had many meaningful encounters, one in particular stood out. A patient had tried to get pregnant on several occasions. This was her third IVF, after two failed implantations. She shared with us many of her concerns: age, the cost of each IVF, etc. She spoke to us nervously when she arrived and her face changed into a big smile when she heard her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. While Dr. MS made the corresponding measurements of the fetus through the ultrasound screen, the mother watched everything in detail. Suddenly, I saw how tears began to come out of her eyes. When the patient heard her baby’s heartbeat for the first time she cried and I cried with her.

My experience at Dr. MS’s Assisted Fertility Program taught me that empathy and compassion are as crucial as scientific skills in medicine. Dr. MS didn’t just teach us about fertility, he taught us about the importance of family. We met all the members of his family, his wife, daughter, and even his mother-in-law. He was very kind to all the members of his department, to the instrumentalists in the operating room, and even to the hospital kitchen staff. We always saw him greet with humility and very cordially all the people he met. Despite how busy he was, including doing video consultations with patients in other states, he always made time to discuss questions with us and have productive, enriching conversations with Dr. S and me. His humility, good sense of humor, and simplicity make him one of the best people I have ever met.