Dr. John Schnorr, founder of Coastal Fertility Specialists and medical director of reproductive endocrinology at the Medical University of South Carolina
partners at Coastal Fertility Specialists
Dr. Heather Cook and Dr. Michael Slowey, assistant professors in reproductive endocrinology at MUSC.
Wife, Susan, and two children
Five in South Carolina, including Bluffton. Headquarters in Mount Pleasant. Also clinics in Lexington, Myrtle Beach and North Charleston.
42: nurses, embryologists, andrologists (people who work with sperm), surgical technicians and administrators.
When I got out of high school I was dead broke. I was doing the undergraduate program at University of Arizona, all four years in only two years. Then I was in real estate for two to three years. I had a knee injury and I decided I wanted to be an orthopedic doctor. I went to medical school at the University of Arizona but orthopedics seemed cold and sterile. I fell in love with reproductive endocrinology. It offers continuity of care. You see patients over a long time and help them build their family…I love it.
years in practice
what he does
My job is spending time with a couple to learn what could be causing their infertility. I check out the female and male reproductive system. There are options including surgery. Most of the time, it’s helping a woman have better eggs, usually with medication. Also, processing the sperm. And we do in vitro fertilization. I take eggs out of the ovary, fertilize the egg with sperm in a test tube, then later put the embryo back in the uterus.
Also for people who run out of eggs, we get an egg from an anonymous donor and fertilize it out of the ovary. We may use donor sperm for a lesbian couple. And we help single women who want a baby.
Also, sometimes women get chemotherapy and we have the ability to take out the eggs (before the chemotherapy) and freeze the eggs. ... After the chemotherapy is done, we fertilize the eggs and put them back in the uterus to help her get pregnant. That’s called oocyte cryopreservation. We’ve done the first, second and third in South Carolina.
why we’re successful
We are successful because our heart is in the right place. We focus on improving the quality of care. Money doesn’t matter to us. ... I have a family I dearly love. My wife and I had success with fertility treatment. I want to help others to have the family that we were successful to have.
more on what we do
In vitro fertilization is our most expensive procedure. It’s around $11,000. It’s around $2,000 to give a woman medicine to make better eggs or to process the sperm—concentrate the husband’s sperm — and put the sperm back in the uterus. Also, we do surgery to reconnect the fallopian tubes for people who have had surgery in the past and surgery to take fibroids out of the uterus.
what patients need to know
Infertility is common. Fourteen percent of all couples have infertility problems. Of couples with infertility, less than 50 percent seek help. If they seek help, most (80 per cent) succeed with simple treatment. If they come to us, and try one cycle, 60 to 70 percent get pregnant. If they have multiple cycles (of treatment) they have greater than 90 percent chance of getting pregnant.
All things are possible if we have the courage to pursue them. That’s from Walt Disney. It’s challenging to have infertility problems. You have to have courage that we can figure it out.
I’m very proud that Coastal Fertility Specialists has won the national patient satisfaction award for the last three years. Patients are treated in a compassionate center…Our nurse walks them around, introduces them, asks if there are any questions and literally walks them to the door…We give them the level of care that I would want.
To nurture and grow each of our regional offices and maybe have embryology labs in every office. Now, we have embryology labs in Lexington and Mt. Pleasant. Patients need to drive less. For instance, we can do everything in Bluffton with the exception of egg retrieval and embryo transfer. For now, they have to drive to Mt. Pleasant.
tips for other businesses
Treat patients as you would want to be treated if you were the patient. Focus less on the money and more on the patient.
things to avoid
Avoid a business practice that’s focused on the money rather than the quality of services being provided.
why Bluffton works for us
It’s a growing area and it seems to give access from Beaufort, Hilton Head, Bluffton and Savannah. We will grow as the community grows.
• 7 Mallett Way, Bluffton, S.C. 29910; phone: 843-906-8378
• 1375 Hospital Drive (Main Office), Mount Pleasant, S.C. 29464; phone: 843-883-5800
• Other clinics in Lexington, North Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C.