By Deb Silverthorn
Dr. Brian M. Cohen spent more than a half-century helping infertile couples bring new life into the world. Now retired, Cohen has brought his experiences to the pages of his recently published “Getting Pregnant Simply and Resolving Recurrent Miscarriage.”
The book contains Cohen’s advice based on decades of experience working with couples who are having difficulty conceiving children. He has provided care for more than 10,000 patients, 30% of whom had multiple pregnancy losses and were then successful.
“My goal is to equip patients with the knowledge, the questions to follow on and what they can expect so they are not blindsided,” said Cohen, who has traveled the world speaking on the subject. “This book was written for patients of all religions, including devout Jews and Catholics, to take to their clergy for discussion and understanding.”
Cohen’s book, which is available on Amazon as a paperback and on Kindle, has also been published in Spanish. While written for the layperson, it includes a glossary of terms and questionnaires for both partners in a relationship so that by the time one reaches a doctor’s office, they can be prepared.
“The book was written to provide fundamental knowledge to help bring about a viable pregnancy without the need for assisted reproductive technologies,” said Cohen.“It isn’t always possible, but couples being educated is so important,” he added. “Be armed with the details, the information and your history, and always believe in the possibility of success.”
Cohen, the son of Esco and Goldie, of blessed memory, and brother of Esme, has an ancestral tree that goes back 400 years in Jerusalem. His father emigrated to Livingstone, Zambia, in Central Africa at age 13. Esco built a life for himself, ultimately earning double degrees and establishing a pharmacy and optical company in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Jewish life in Bulawayo was a “Conservadox” mix of observances with men and women separated in the synagogue, and traditional Jewish practices at home. For Cohen, the synagogue was his social world, his connection to his friends and his people.
While in high school, grades 11 and 12 there the equivalent of the first years of college in the U.S., Cohen was a member of Zionist youth groups and attended Jewish summer camp. The formerly vibrant Jewish community in which he was raised, with Jewish and Yiddish theater and music, used to number 8,000 and now is reduced to dozens, he said.
In December 1965, Cohen married Rose Wolf, a childhood neighbor. The two reconnected when she was a preschool teacher in Capetown while he was completing his medical education.
The couple built a family that now includes three adult children and their families: son Joel and Shahnia, who was Cohen’s nurse for 26 years; son Ari and Felecia; daughter Talya and Corey Holzer; and their grandchildren: Yael and Limor Cohen; Katya, Ethan and Liam Cohen; and Jaron, Jordy and Ella Holzer.
Cohen earned 10 degrees in South Africa, England and the United States. After working in Zimbabwe for a year, he was invited to the United States and worked at three universities from 1977 to 1982.
Drs. Harold Kaye and Sheldon Weinstein, Dallas obstetrician-gynecologists who had heard Cohen speak, invited him to join their practice, and in 1982, Dallas became his home.
“Harold and Shelly are special human beings who gave me every opportunity to work and flourish in the Dallas community,” said Cohen. “They are forever important and dear to me.”
In 1982, Cohen became chief of reproductive surgery at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas (now Texas Health), then in 1992 he became chief of reproductive endocrinology at Medical City Hospital of Dallas where he established its first in vitro fertilization program. He has, since 1987, served as a clinical professor at UT Southwestern.
Long involved at Congregation Shearith Israel and Chabad of Dallas, Cohen has been honored by DATA/Dallas Area Torah Association and is a recipient of the Texas region of Bnai Zion’s Prestigious Humanitarian Award.
Cohen’s dedication to family, community and patients, as well as the realization that there are families who exist because of his work, all define what brings him nachas.
After a career devoted to his patients, Cohen’s favorite times now are spent at the special occasions, simchas, weddings and b’nai mitzvah, of many of the children and grandchildren of his patients. “These parents, and now some grandparents, came to me and entrusted me with the building of their families and now we celebrate all that life has brought.”