Infertility can be a scary word. It’s a word no couple hoping to build a family wants to hear, and one that can bring with it feelings that run the gamut from fear to confusion to sorrow.
Thanks to modern science and dedicated health care professionals, it’s also a word that doesn’t have to mean the end of many couples’ journey to having families of their own. Shedding light on infertility and its treatments is an important way to not only help those families know and understand what they’re going through and what’s available, but also is a vital piece of the effort to demystify infertility among the general public.
With that in mind, here are 6 things you might not know about infertility and its treatments.
1. It’s way more common than you may think. Statistics from the National Infertility Association show about 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. – and about 12 percent of women aged 15 to 44 years – have trouble getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy. Additionally, an estimated 7.4 million women have received some form of infertility treatment in their lifetime. Couples aged 29 to 33 years with healthy reproductive systems have only a 20 to 25 percent chance of conceiving in any given month.
2. It affects men and women equally. In about 40 percent of couples who face infertility, the male partner is either the sole or a contributing cause of infertility issues, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Roughly 25 percent of couples have more than one factor that contributes.
3. Being upset or confused is completely natural. Building a family is a big commitment, and learning of and then dealing with infertility can be an incredibly emotional process. It brings a wide range of emotions and can often make couples or individuals feel alone. But those feelings are also a natural response to such a momentous and often difficult time in a person’s life, and medical professionals, including mental health workers, are there to help.
4. Infertility doesn’t mean the journey is over. Help is out there. There are many options for treating infertility. As many as 45 percent of women who deal with infertility have sought medical assistance, and around 65 percent of them resulted in pregnancy. While it might be the most widely discussed option, and an important one for many couples, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) accounts for only about 3 percent of infertility treatments and services.
5. Help is closer than you think. Billings Clinic offers the only infertility clinics in the region, through Dr. Colleen Milroy at Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Care center in Billings, and Dr. Stacy Shomento at the Bozeman OB/GYN clinic. Both doctors, along with their highly trained and caring staff, are there to educate and help couples find the best way for them to build a family, serving people from across Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas. They offer expert care, consultations, education and infertility treatment options using state-of-the-art facilities and compassionate, evidence-based medical care to help their patients achieve their parenthood goals.
6. You can help give the gift of a family to others. The IVF process, and infertility in general, can be stressful, and its financial aspect can be a big part of that stress. The Billings Clinic Foundation is dedicated to making sure that couples and individuals have the chance to build their own families and has established the Miracle Fund to cover the costs of a cycle of IVF for several prospective parents in financial need each year. This fund relies on the generous donations from community members, businesses and other supporters to help give these hopeful individuals the gift of a child by helping them access the care that could help them create their own families.
For more information on the Miracle Fund or to donate and help give others the gift of a family, visit BillingsClinicFoundation.com or call 406-657-4670.
To request a consultation or to make an appointment, call Billings Clinic Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Care at 406-238-2904 or Bozeman OB/GYN at 406-994-9823. For more information, visit BillingsClinic.com/ReproductiveMedicine.
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