Dr. Edmond Confino, popular infertility doctor in Chicago, dead at 71

Dr. Confino helped thousands conceive, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

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Dr. Edmond Confino

Dr. Edmond Confino

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Dr. Edmond Confino was a prominent infertility specialist in Chicago because of his incredible dedication to his patients.

“He talked to his patients endlessly, and that was one of the reasons he was arguably one of the most popular infertility doctors in Chicago,” said Dr. Ralph R. Kazer, a friend and former colleague.

“Even after electronic medical records were imposed and mandated on us, he never hesitated to talk to his patients on the phone, something you don’t see too often these days,” said Kazer, the former head of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, where Dr. Confino worked from 1993 until he retired in 2018.

Dr. Confino helped thousands of women conceive, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who has two daughters.

“Dr. Confino is the person that made my family possible,” Duckworth said in an emailed statement. “We connected over our shared experiences as veterans; he served in the Israeli military as a medic. He was wise, compassionate and incredibly brilliant, and my two angels are here today because of him.”

Dr. Confino died May 25 in Naples, Florida, where he and his wife, Maryann, moved last year. He was 71. The cause was likely complications from Parkinson’s disease, the family said.

Dr. Confino was born in Bulgaria, the son of two physicians. In 1952, his family immigrated to Israel, where Dr. Confino went to medical school and served in the military as a medic before moving to the United States.

Before in vitro fertilization became standard, Dr. Confino gained an international reputation for performing procedures to unblock fallopian tubes by inserting instruments into the cervix, including a balloon.

A couple who benefited from one such balloon procedure in 1989 told the Chicago Sun-Times, “It was a miracle. ... We named our son Matthew, which means ‘gift of God.’”

Kazer said he sometimes called Dr. Confino the “Wizard of Os,” referring to the opening of the cervix.

“Patients are enormously grateful. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. It is quite amazing if you think about it, and that’s something that was never lost on Eddie,” Kazer said.

“Many people who knew Eddie can speak to his incredible genius and gifts as a master clinician and a builder of families,” said Dr. Erica Marsh, who heads the infertility division at University of Michigan Health. “Those of us who trained under him were also blessed to know him as a generous and loving mentor, advocate and friend.”

Dr. Confino was also a gifted piano player.

“He was a charming, upbeat guy, a fabulous doctor, very good friend, very devoted to his kids, his wife. He was just wonderful,” said Kazer, who noted that once while recuperating from heart surgery Dr. Confino paid him a special visit.

“He came to my home and brought me a gift. It wasn’t a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. He brought me an enormous flat-screen TV. It was just one more reflection of what a generous guy he was,” Kazer said.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Confino is survived by his sons, Rafael and Cary.

The family plans to hold a private celebration of his life.

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