At RMI, our people create our product, which is heavily based on success and support. Our providers are people too and share your hopes, some tears, and joys along the way with you. We wanted to take a minute to catch up with Jeanine Cieslak Janzen, BA, ELD/TS (ABB), MLT (ASCP) to learn more about how and why helping patients was the right career choice for her.

What drove you to the field of reproductive medicine? 

After I had my first daughter and went back to work, I took a position in the reproductive endocrinology laboratory at Prentiss Women’s Hospital here in Chicago. The work environment was excellent, I love the laboratory environment and people. I learned a great deal, it’s so exciting and rewarding when a patient who has struggled with so much gets a positive pregnancy and healthy baby. Best feeling in the world!

What sets RMI apart from other fertility clinics here in Chicago?

It’s the people. I’ve been in the field a while and the team here at RMI are some of the finest I’ve worked with in my career. Every day, they have the patient top of mind and do everything they can to help make them feel supported and look at everything in the lab to improve their chance of success.

Do you remember the first patient you treated?

Well, I do I remember the first IVF procedure I participated in back in 1986. Lucinda Veeck from the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia to help us with our first case. We were all so excited as she was the embryologist on the first US IVF case. It’s been a privilege to watch this field evolve and see how embryology has changed.

What advice would you give for someone hesitant about entering fertility care?

Try not to wait too long. While you can’t believe everything Dr. Google writes, there are a number of good online sources including ASRM, RESO, and our own website about fertility care and success. Time is the biggest resource any patient has when trying to build a family. I don’t think I have to say it but I will – natural fertility declines with age. If you’re over 35 and have been trying to get or stay pregnant without success, time to talk to RMI.

What is your favorite book or movie?

Good question, let me get back to you. Too many to mention.

What was your first concert?

Oh wow, let me think. I’d have to say the Beach Boys. Music is a lot like embryology. To make a great “hit” you need a great band (team) and attention to detail.

What is your favorite food? 

Love it all but am especially fond of the Italian Kitchen.

In the great Chicago debate, are you rooting for the Cubs or the White Sox?  

Hard to say as I enjoy watching both teams. I’m 100% Chicago!

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Spending time with grandkids, playing tennis, and skiing.

If you could pick one place on your bucket list to travel, where would it be?  

I would love to visit Rome, southern Italy, and Scotland to tour the castles!

Jeanine Cieslak Janzen began her career in assisted reproduction over 35 years ago when in vitro fertilization was in its infancy. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University in Chicago. She is certified in the disciplines of Embryology and Andrology by the American Board of Bioanalysis. She is also certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists in medical laboratory technology.

She has had the privilege of working with pioneers in the field of assisted reproduction such as Dr. Melvin Cohen, “the father of laparoscopy for gynecological disorders” in the U.S., and Yury Verlinsky, Ph.D., founder of the Reproductive Genetics Institute and pioneer in the field of preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Much of Jeanine’s career was at the Reproductive Genetics Institute (RGI) in Chicago, managing the IVF laboratory from 1990 to 2006. While at RGI she worked in the field of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and performed over 2000 cases for chromosomal translocations and aneuploidy.  She has co-authored numerous articles and book chapters specifically addressing embryo biopsy procedures and PGD using fluorescent in situ hybridization.