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Billy Penn

Philly acupuncturist Steve Mavros wants to bring infertility challenges mainstream with new podcast

Who’s Next catchup: Mavros, owner of Healing Arts Center, also talks about a wellness program for refugees.

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Steven Mavros is trying to educate America on how to talk about infertility, and he’s doing so by letting couples tell their stories on a new podcast. He’s also been busy with opening up a new office for his acupuncture work. And this fall, he’s organizing an art exhibit in Old City called the Art of Infertility.

Welcome to the third edition of our “Who’s Next Catch Up.” Each month, Billy Penn highlights up-and-coming Philadelphians under the age of 40 as part of our Who’s Next series presented by the Knight Foundation. In Who’s Next Catch Up, we’ll return to various honorees and find out what they’ve been up to since we first wrote about them.

For this installment, the focus is Mavros, an acupuncturist who specializes in infertility and the owner of Healing Arts Center in Old City. He was featured in this year’s edition of Who’s Next: Health and Fitness. Wednesday night, Mavros is hosting a live taping and launch party for his podcast, “Waiting for Babies” at WeWork in Northern Liberties. Tickets are $8 and include open bar and hors d’oeuvres.

We caught up with him to talk about the podcast, his work with refugees and a new art installation. The conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

So how did the idea for the podcast come together?

The podcast is basically me sitting down with individuals or couples. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We get women trying on their own and same-sex couples. It’s getting their whole story from beginning to end of when they first tried to conceive and their emotions going through everything.

There must be all kinds of challenges.

Most people who haven’t gone through [in vitro fertilization] don’t know. They have to give themselves this massive injection every night in their butt that doesn’t feel good. And sometimes their husbands suck at it. Sometimes they’re good. You have to find humor in this crazy process.

Is your audience mostly people involved in the profession?

I would say that’s the core of it. But what I’ve really enjoyed hearing is people who are not in the infertility world at all, knowing this is what they’re going through. It’s awareness of what a lot of people go through and knowing that asking people that just got married. ‘when are you going to have kids?’ isn’t the best question to ask. What if they are trying to have kids and it’s been like a year and a half? You’re kind of poking the bear a little bit.

Last year you were working with refugees for free as part of a pilot program. Has that become a full-time service?

We’ve been continuing that. We’ve been doing every six weeks on and two weeks off. They call it Wellness Wednesdays. We do yoga, massage and acupuncture. I’ve gotten a couple colleagues to join, as well. It feels a little more community-oriented.

Nationalities Service Center is at 13th and Arch and that’s where all the refugees and immigrants go through. So we treat both refugees, as well as immigrants. It’s anyone using NSC services — and the staff because, dear God, with the travel ban they’re as worried as anyone else. We’ve been doing that for a few months.

Is anything else new since you first appeared on the Who’s Next list?

We just opened an office in Exton in April or May. An acupuncturist approached me about wanting to join in the practice and do more infertility work. That’s our fifth office that we just opened.

In November I’m bringing around an art exhibition. It’s a group called the Art of Infertility. They’re nonprofit. It was a couple of women who went through fertility treatments and didn’t succeed so they put up this little art exhibition. Eventually they amassed a 200-piece collection. They’ve done exhibitions in Seattle and did one in DC. I met them in Seattle and wanted to bring them here. We’re going to have a whole month with a First Friday. That’s going to be the whole month of November at the Old City Jewish Arts Center. It was amazing to be able to get a gallery on such short notice.