Reproductive Immunologists (RIs): Who are they?
This is a fairly new, and controversial field of fertility medicine. These doctors look a fertility issues from the point of view of the immune system. If you have, or have a family history of, autoimmune or immune problems such as diabetes, asthma, Lyme, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, arthritis, this specialty may be of interest to you.
The following is a list of RIs FOR INFORMATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. This is only a starting point, please do your own research and decide. There is also a very informative yahoo group of patients of RIs.
Information gathered for Immunologysupport group discussions
I. Dr. Alan E Beer, MD
II. Dr. Carolyn B. Coulam, MD
III. Dr. Kwak-Kim, MD
IV. Dr. William Matzner MD
V. Dr. Geoffrey Sher, MD (Reproductive Endocrinologist)
I. Dr. Alan E Beer, MD
Dr. Alan E Beer, MD
15151 National Ave. #2
Los Gatos, CA 95032;
Phone: (408) 356-9500;
Fax: (408) 356-9509;
(Taken from http://repro-med.net/about/biobeer.php)
Dr. Alan E. Beer received his M.D. in 1962 from Indiana University
School of Medicine. He did his residency in Obstetrics and
Gynecology, and his fellowship in Immunology and Genetics at the
University of Pennsylvania. He was board certified by the American
Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1971. Dr. Beer has been on the
faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas
Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and the University of
Michigan. In 1987, Dr. Beer joined The Chicago Medical School with a
joint appointment as a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and
professor of Microbiology and Immunology. He subsequently
established the Reproductive Immunology Program with clinics in
Illinois and California.
Dr. Beer is an internationally known and respected physician and
basic scientist. He served from 1976-1997 as editor in chief of the
Journal of Reproductive Immunology. He is past chairman of the
National Institutes of Health Study Section on Human Embryology and
Development, and he has served on other study sections involving
pregnancy and human development. He is a founding member and past
president of the American Society of Reproductive Immunology, and he
is a senior councilor for the International Society for the
Immunology of Reproduction. He is also the author of books,
monographs, and numerous scientific publications.
Dr. Beer has spent his entire academic life analyzing the impact of
the immune system on infertility and the success or failure of a
pregnancy. He has dedicated his professional life to analyzing
couples with infertility, IVF or implantation failures and recurrent
pregnancy losses who have been told by the medical community that
their problem was due to bad luck or nature’s way, and that they
should try again.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ St. Therese Medical Center, Waukegan, IL, 1990 – Present
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Highland Park Hospital, Highland Park, IL, 1991 – Present
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Illinois Masonic Hospital, Chicago, IL, 1991 – Present
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Lake Forest Hospital, Lake Forest, IL, 1993 – Present
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Editor in Chief, Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 1976-
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Editorial Board of American Journal of Reproductive
Immunology and Microbiology, 1984-Present
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Senior Councilor for International Society for the
Immunology of Reproduction, 1986-Present
Perinatal Press Editorial Board, 1980-Present
Who he treats: Dr. Beer treats recurrent miscarriage and IVF failure
patients and patients with immunogically complicated pregnancies.
Dr. Beer treats the whole pregnancy, conception through delivery. In
addition to being a Reproductive Immunologist, Dr. Beer is also a
fully certified OBGYN.
Testing options: Dr. Beer has one of the most comprehensive
Reproductive immunology test panels that exists. This includes:
NK Assay with IVIG suppression
TH1 TH2 cytokine assay
Endometrial biopsy for NKUs
LAD test (blocking antibodies)
DQ alpha testing
Full panel of 21 APAs
Antibodies to hormones and neurotransmitters
Serum serotonin test
Fasting free insulin
Inherited Thrombophilia testing (MTHFR, FVL, prothrombin )
Treatment options: Dr. Beer has the widest range of treatments of
any Reproductive Immunologist. Dr. Beer uses IVIG for NK, TH1 TH2
imbalance and other pregnancy complications. Dr. Beer encourages the
use of LIT (though can’t officially prescribe it in the US due to
the FDA ban). Dr Beer uses Enbrel and Humira to treat NKUs and TH1
TH2 imbalances. Dr Beer uses Lovenox and Heparin to treat APAs and
Inherited Thrombophilia issues, he uses prednisone and dexamethasone
to treat ANA issues, he uses SSRI medications to treat low serotonin
lining issues, and antibodies to neurotransmitters. Dr Beer uses
Metformin/Glucophage for PCOS, hormone boosters for antibodies to
Long distance treatment: Yes, patients can consult with Dr. Beer by
phone and work with Dr. Beer long distance.
Email availability: Yes, Dr. Beer is very available by email. He
answers his emails daily even during holidays and vacations and he
usually responds very promptly.
Please note: Dr. Beer will charge an email fee to registered
Discussion board availability: Dr. Beer does not have a current
Costs: See Dr. Beer’s costs and fees in our group files:
Comments: Many consider Dr. Beer to be the pioneer of Reproductive
Immunology. Dr. Beer tests more immune issues and treats more immune
issues than any other Reproductive immunologist. Dr. Beer has been
involved with the field for over 30 years. The oldest “Beer baby” is
over 25 years old. Dr. Beer essentially invented LIT and helped
design the modern NK Assay. Dr. Beer also pioneered the use of anti-
TNFa drugs for NKUs.
II. Carolyn B. Coulam, M.D.
Dr. Carolyn B. Coulam, M.D.
Rinehart Center for Reproductive Medicine.
233 E Erie, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 944-2600
Fax: (312) 944-0100
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion boards: http://www.inciid.org/forums/immune/index.html
Comments: “Does not use LIT, Enbrel Remicade or Humira. Does not
believe in Dr Beer’s NKUs theory. Big believer in IVIG.” “Dr. Coulam
left SIRM in 2005″
(Taken from http://www.haveababy.com/why/coulam.asp?site=)
Carolyn B. Coulam, M.D. was born April 14, 1943, in Salt Lake City,
Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah College of Medicine
in 1967 with a degree in medicine and a masters degree in
biochemistry. She completed a rotating internship at Mary Hitchcock
Memorial Hospital at Dartmouth College and her residency at the Mayo
Clinic where she remained for 17 years.
While on the staff of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Coulam was chair of the
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and established the first in
vitro fertilization (IVF) program at this institution, in 1983. She,
became professor at the Mayo Medical School in 1984 and in 1985, was
appointed chair of the Division of Reproductive Biology at the
University of Pittsburgh.
In 1986, Dr. Coulam became the medical director of the Center for
Reproduction and Transplantation in Indianapolis, Indiana,
establishing the reproductive immunology and reproductive biology
laboratories where she rapidly contributed to the scientific
literature in the field of reproductive medicine, particularly as it
related to recurrent pregnancy loss. In 1991, Dr. Coulam assumed the
position of director of reproductive immunology at the Genetics &
IVF Institute in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1996 she became national
director of reproductive immunology at the Center for Human
Reproduction (CHR) in Illinois while at the same time serving as
vice president of medical affairs, director of ultrasound and as
associate director of CHR in New York.
In January 2000, Dr. Coulam joined SIRM as medical director and
director of laboratory research of SIRM-Chicago where she is also
director of the Millenova Immunology Laboratories (MIL).Dr. Coulam
is board certified in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and
in the sub-specialty of reproductive endocrinology. She has served
as managing editor of the American Journal of Reproductive
Immunology and as officer in most of the major national societies
including president of the American Society for Reproductive
Immunology. She has more than 200 publications in peer-reviewed
journals to her credit and has edited a major reference textbook
entitled “Immunologic Obstetrics” published by W. W. Norton.
Dr. Coulam has an excellent reputation, spanning 30 years, for
providing devoted care to her patients and enjoys an international
reputation for her contributions to medical/scientific education and
research. Notwithstanding the above, she considers her greatest
achievement to be the fact that she is the proud mother of 10
Who she treats: Recurrent miscarriage patients
Testing options: Dr. Coulam uses the testing panel at her own lab
Millenova Immunology Laboratories (MIL). This included NK Assay
testing APA testing but does NOT include the TH1 TH2 test,
endometrial biopsy for NKUs, antibodies to hormones and
neurotransmitters testing. Dr. Coulam uses the Embryotoxicity Assay
(ETA) instead of the TH1 TH2.
Treatment options: Dr Coulam uses IVIG and Lovenox and heparin. Dr.
Coulam does not use LIT, Enbrel, Remicade or Humira. Dr Coulam more
cautious about prednisone use.
Long distance treatment: Yes, Dr. Coulam will work with patients
long distance. She communicates regularly with long distance
patients by phone.
Email availability: May possibly be available by e-mail.
Discussion board availability: Dr Coulam answers questions daily on
INCIID discussion boards (sites listed above)
Comments: Dr. Coulam is a big believer in IVIG. Dr. Coulam treats NK
issues with IVIG, she treats APA and Inherited Thrombophilia issues
with Lovenox, heparin. Dr Coulam does not use LIT, does not believe
in Dr. Beer’s NKU theory, does not do the endometrial biopsy for
NKUs, does not believe that Dr Beer’s TH1 TH2 test is useful for
recurrent miscarriage patients. She also does not do antibodies to
hormones and neurotransmitters testing, and does not test patient
serum serotonin levels. She does not use Enbrel, Remicade or
III. Dr. Kwak-Kim, MD
Dr. Kwak-Kim, MD
Rosalind Franklin University Center for Women’s Health
Finch University of Health Sciences / Chicago Medical School
3333 Green Bay Road
North Chicago, Illinois 60064
Phone: (847) 578-3233
Fax: (847) 578-3339
(Taken from: http://www.finchcms.edu/repromed/program/staff.cfm)
Dr. Joanne Kwak-Kim received her Obstetrics and Gynecology training
in Seoul, Korea. She finished a four- year Reproductive Immunology
Fellowship at the Finch University of Health Sciences/the Chicago
Medical School in 1988. She holds a dual appointment as Associate
professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and
Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
of which she serves as Assistant Chair.
Dr. Kwak-Kim has gained national and international recognition as a
contributing scientist in the field of reproduction and immunology.
Her scientific contributions include more than 40 articles and
abstracts published in prestigious medical journals. In 1995, at the
International Congress of Reproductive Immunology she was awarded a
Certificate of Excellence for her paper on the natural killer cell
suppression by IVIg treatment on recurrent aborters. In 2002, the
American Society of Reproductive Immunology (ASRI) awarded her the
J. Christian Herr Award. Her abstract also won the Outstanding New
She was Chair of the 21st and 22nd Annual Meetings of the American
Society of Reproductive Immunology and is current Treasurer of the
As a founding member of the Reproductive Medicine Program, Dr. Kwak-
Kim has devoted 15 years of her career in Reproductive Immunology
research and patient management. She is focusing her research on
unraveling the role of the immune system in pregnancy and pregnancy
loss. Dr. Kwak-Kim also cares for thousands of patients with
Who she treats: Recurrent miscarriage and IVF failure patients.
Testing options: Dr. Kwak uses the full panel of immune tests
available through the Chicago Medical School. This includes:
NK Assay (same as Dr. Beer’s):
TH1 TH2 cytokine test (same as Dr. Beer’s)
Full panel of 21 APAs
Endometrial biopsy for NKUs (same as Dr. Beer’s)
Antibodies to hormones and neurotransmitters (same as Dr. Beer’s)
Treatment options: Dr. Kwak will use IVIG, prednisone, Lovenox ,
heparin, baby aspirin. Dr. Kwak will not prescribe LIT since the US
FDA ban (but strongly believes in LIT nonetheless). Dr. Kwak will
not prescribe Humira Enbrel, or Remicade to treat NKUs.
Long distance treatment: Patients must see Kwak in person at least
once. Will work with patients long distance after this.
Email availability: Dr. Kwak uses email sporadically. Her email
responses may be delayed. Most patients communicate through her
nurses by phone.
Discussion board availability: No, Dr. Kwak does not have a
Costs: See her patient registration packet for costs
Comments: Dr. Kwak worked for years as Dr Beer’s partner at the
Chicago Medical School. Dr Kwak has also co-authored many research
papers with Dr. Beer. Dr Kwak agrees with many of Dr. Beer’s ideas.
The chief area of difference involves her thinking on how to
treat NKUs. Dr Kwak will not use Enbrel, Remicade and Humira, Dr
Kwak only treats NK issues with dexamethasone and IVIG. Dr Kwak will
not recommend LIT due to the LIT FDA ban though will order LIT
related bloodwork if the patient requests this.
IV. Dr. William Matzner M.D.
Dr. William Matzner M.D.
Reproductive Immunology Associates
6850 Sepulveda Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91405
Reproductive Immunology Associates
6850 Sepulveda Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91405
Discussion board: http://www.rialab.com/forum/
(Taken from: http://www.rialab.com/pages/ria1a.html#matzner)
Dr. Matzner graduated Phi Beta Kapa from Stanford University. He
graduated With Honor from Baylor College of Medicine. In 1988, he
was the Soloman Scholar for Resident Research at Cedar Sinai Medical
Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine. He has
researched and published extensively on the issue of reproduction
and immunology in medical literature. He has been in private
practice since 1989, specializing in Reproductive Immunology and
Who he treats: Recurrent miscarriage and IVF failure patients.
Testing options: Using his own panel of immune tests, slightly
different from Dr. Beer’s testing panel.
Testing done at Dr. Matzner’s RIA lab:
NK Assay (slightly different version from Dr. Beer’s)
TNFa assay (different from Dr. Beer’s)
Inherited Thrombophilia (Dr. Matzner is a believer in treatment for
homozygous c677t MTHFR conditions, less so for A1298 MTHFR
DQ alpha testing
Plus other testing.
Does not offer: Endometrial biopsy for NKUs, antibodies to hormones
and neurotransmitters testing, Dr Beer’s TH1 TH2 cytokine testing or
routine serotonin testing.
Treatment options: Uses IVIG. Will not use LIT since the FDA ban
came into effect (but believes in LIT’s effectiveness). Generally
will not use Enbrel, Humira Remicade but has used Enbrel in the past.
Long distance treatment: Yes, Dr Matzner will conduct long distance
consults by phone. It is not necessary to see him in person.
Email availability: Yes, answers emails regularly. Does not charge
for patient emails.
Discussion board availability: Yes, Dr Matzner answers questions
daily at his discussion board (see address above)
Costs: The consultation fee is $300. Also see registration packet
for more information about costs.
Comments: Dr.Matzner was originally trained by Dr. Beer.
V. Geoffrey Sher, M.D.
(Reproductive Endocrinogist with Reproductive Immunology research
Geoffrey Sher, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinogist/IVF specialist
Advocate of IVIG use in IVF
Founder and Executive Medical Director
Sher Institute for
3121 S. Maryland Pkwy. Suite 300
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Toll Free: 800-780-7437
425, 5th Ave. (cross street, 38th Street) 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10016
Fax: (646) 792-6000
Discussion boards: http://forums.haveababy.com/cgi-
Dr. Geoffrey Sher, founder of SIRM, has been influential in
assisting more than 14,000 women have babies following the treatment
of infertility in general, and for the births of more than 4,000 IVF
babies in specific.
Dr. Sher is an internationally renowned expert in the field of IVF
and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Over the last 16 years,
he has helped fashion the entire field of ART. Dr. Sher established
the first private IVF program in the United States in 1982. Five
years later, as Founder and Executive Medical Director of Pacific
Fertility Medical Centers, he was instrumental in achieving several
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In 1984, Dr. Sher became the first fertility specialist to
introduce and then publish on the use of intrauterine insemination
of washed sperm for the treatment of infertility.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In 1990, Dr. Sher and his team were among the first to
identify and publish on the importance of assessing the uterine
lining by ultrasound as an index of IVF outcome.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In 1993, Dr. Sher was the first to describe a treatment that
eliminates the life-endangering risks associated with severe ovarian
hyperstimulation, in patients undergoing IVF. This approach, known
as “prolonged coasting,” virtually removes the need for
hospitalization of such patients and avoids the need to cancel a
cycle of treatment in severely hyperstimulated patients.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In 1995 and again in 1998, Dr. Sher and his team reported on
a link between subtle problems affecting the immune system and
outcome with IVF and described unique treatments that can virtually
double success rates.
Dr. Sher has more than 200 scientific papers and abstracts to his
credit. He has authored one of the most widely read books on IVF, In
Vitro Fertilization, the ART of making babies, and had extensive
coverage on television as well as media and public recognition as an
outspoken consumer advocate.
Who he treats: IVF patients
Performs the NK Assay testing
Does not believe in MTHFR’s relevance in miscarriage.
Does not believe in Dr. Beer’s endometrial biopsy for NKUs
Does not do the TH1TH2 cytokine test
Does not do LAD testing DQ alpha testing, MTHFR testing or
antibodies to hormones and neurotransmitters testing.
Treatment options: Uses IVIG extensively. Does not believe in LIT.
Does not use Enbrel, Humira or Remicade.
Long distance treatment: Yes, can consult with Dr. Sher by phone
long distance. Procedures are done at the nearest SIRM clinic.
Initial phone consultations are free.
Email availability: Yes, he answers email regularly.
Discussion board availability: Yes, answers discussion board
questions regularly. He visits many discussion sites (see sites
Costs: Initial consultation is free. See cost plans
Comments: Dr. Sher is a Reproductive Endocrinologist not
Reproductive Immunologist, however, he routinely tests for
immunological problems as they relate to IVF failure. Is an
outspoken advocate for IVIG use in IVF. Does not believe in LIT or
the relevance of Dr. Beer’s endometrial biopsy for NKUs.