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Your Life, Your Health: Fertility facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11% of women in America have trouble getting pregnant. This is often assumed to mostly be a woman's problem which is a common misconception. Because in reality, both men and women contribute to that percentage. This is just one of many myths concerning infertility.

Infertility is a common problem, so the chances are you may know someone who suffers from it. With advances in medicine, it is important to know about treatment options. It's also important to know what is fact and what is fiction.

In June, CBS6 had the opportunity to meet 1-year-old Connor Barss from Porter Corners. His father, Corey, is paralyzed from the waist down. For a long period of time Corey and his wife, Kim, didn't think it was possible for them to have children. They tried in vitro fertilization in 2012 and were met with success.

"Before, it is a mystery. You  hear about it and think it is a high-tech, out-of-reach procedure." Kim says. "Instead, we found out it's doable."

Corey and Kim went through Albany IVF for their treatments. An affiliate of Boston IVF, the branch also offers insemination, egg and sperm donation. Medical Director there, Dr. Steven Bayer was able to debunk some common misconceptions about infertility. It being a 'woman's problem' was one.

"If you look at the patients we care for here, 30-40% have unexplained infertility where you can't determine the underlying cause." Dr. Bayer says, referring to both sexes.

Some other points to consider:
  • Is it okay to wait for help on a fertility issue? Dr. Bayer says no, especially with women. Upwards of 80% of conceptions happen in the first 6 months of trying. So, if nothing is happening you should consult a doctor. The older a woman gets, the harder it is to conceive.
  • It isn't a problem for women to get pregnant in their 40's. Dr. Bayer says that's not true. A woman hits her peak fertility in her 20's and after that it begins to drop. It doesn't mean you can't get pregnant at an older age, it just means it is harder.
  • Does lifestyle affect fertility? It definitely does, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
"Many of our patients are overweight, and it turns out as a woman the more she weighs she has a lower chance of achieving pregnancy." Dr. Bayer says.

Fertility treatments of any kind, especially IVF, can be expensive. Sometimes insurance doesn't cover the full cost. The Barss family was lucky enough to have the financial backing of their family and hope to someday give Connor a little brother or sister.

"I mean we joke, it's not the healthiest option. But we always joke we'd like more bang for our buck and have 2 or 3 at a time." Kim says. 

Boston IVF and its Albany branch always sit down with couples prior to treatment to go over what is covered by their insurance company and what is not.
 
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