Waiting For Baby: Infertility Affects Many But Is Often Treatable, Experts Say

By John Lundy
Duluth News Tribune, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Sue Stahl, a nurse practitioner who specializes in fertility at the “Reproductive Health and Fertility Center” in Duluth says anywhere from 10-15 percent of the population has difficulty conceiving.

Duluth News Tribune, Minn.

Seven-year-old Joy Hacker is aptly named.

The dark-eyed girl with the big smile was “kind of a miracle baby,” said her mother, Michelle Hacker.

When they married in 2004, Bret and Michelle Hacker of Ely planned from the start to have a family, Michelle said during a phone interview last week. But for six years, they were frustrated.

“We did struggle with infertility,” Michelle said.

They’re not alone. Anywhere from 10-15 percent of the population has difficulty conceiving, said Sue Stahl, a nurse practitioner who specializes in fertility at the Reproductive Health and Fertility Center at the Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic First Street Building.

More than 7 million women ages 15-44 have used infertility services at least once, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But it’s far from just a female problem. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, about one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third to the male partner and one-third are either attributed to both or unexplained.

Dr. Randle Corfman, a reproductive endocrinologist who founded the Midwest Center for Reproductive Health in Maple Grove, Minn., in 1992, said the problems he sees involve men even more often than those statistics suggest.

“I would say half of the patients we see, the man has abnormal sperm parameters,” Corfman said in a telephone interview last week. “So that’s why we insist on seeing them as a couple.”

Infertility is not a disease; it’s a condition, Corfman said. It has a specific definition: one year of unprotected intercourse without conceiving (or six months if the woman is 35 or older).

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