2015-10-28 / Local News

Marlton practice has special relationship with Orthodox community

Voice staff

FAMILY: Wife Diane; children Matthew, Darren and Brittney; seven grandchildren

PRACTICES: Marlton and Melrose Park, PA.

HOBBIES: Cancer research, collecting antiques and dinosaur fossils, and medieval and Egyptian mummification.

LOVES: Spending time with children & grandchildren

At a quick glance, a plaque at the Cooper Institute of Hormonal Disorders in Marlton looks like any ordinary—albeit decorative— diploma typically found on office walls.

Upon closer inspection, the writing is revealed to be Maimonides’ Prayer for the Physician. The beautifully hand-written certificate was presented to Institute Director Dr. Jerome Check from Cong. Zichron Yaakov of Lakewood, NJ for his role as “God’s messenger in bringing the gift of life to His children.”

A fertility specialist in a practice known for taking on difficult cases, Check has indeed answered the prayers of thousands upon thousands of couples trying to conceive. But it’s his special relationship with Rabbi Shlomo Gissinger, a renowned posek (a scholar who decides on tough questions of Halakha/Jewish law) that has made him the fertility doctor of choice of Orthodox Jews.

Although not observant himself, Check and his entire staff—Jewish and gentile alike—are well versed in Jewish law. They understand the importance of the mikvah, work around Jewish holidays and Shabbat, and—knowing that many observant Jews have large families and modest means—find creative ways to reduce costs.

“We care about people and always consider their finances in our decision-making process,” said Check, who has had an 18-year relationship with the Lakewood community.

The affiliation is a natural outgrowth of Check’s philosophy. Among reasons the Cooper Institute has one of the largest in vitro fertilization programs in the country, is that it is one of the most affordable and has one of the highest pregnancy rates per transfer— even as it takes on patients who have failed to get pregnant using other fertility specialists.

With 30 years of experience, Check has published more than 700 scholarly articles. A father of three, grandfather of seven, he said he manages to be so productive because he only sleeps three to four hours a night and writes by hand. In fact, he doesn’t even own a computer, as it would only serve as a distraction.

Check first showed interest and promise in medical research in high school. Although he’s not sure how this came about, he was selected among 12 high school students nationwide for an intensive summer medical research program that culminated in two of the 12 students being selected to receive fullypaid scholarships to college and medical school and their own research labs. As one of the two selected, he chose to work on cancer research.

When a patient he grew close to died from cancer, Check changed to fertility. Still, he continues to do cancer research and recently received approval from the federal government to perform trials for a pill he developed that, in early tests on animals and humans, has cured rapidly growing stage IV cancers. While he has published papers on the research, he has not tried to monetize it.

“I just work, see patients, teach and do research. I’m not a very good businessperson,” said Check.

Martyne Greenblatt, a nurse with the Institute, feels a strong sense of mission working for Check.

“I have never met such a tzadik (righteous man) as Dr. Check,” said Greenblatt. “As we like say in Judaism, the first thing God wants is for us to reproduce. Dr. Check has never turned away a patient from the Jewish community due to an inability to pay.” .

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