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Infertility Awareness Week

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, May 28th, 2014


One in six couples will face infertility. That means these couples have been trying to have a baby for one year without a pregnancy. That’s a lot of unhappy couples in Alberta.

For Infertility Awareness Week I spoke with Dr. Calvin Greene from the Regional Fertility Program. He says we know a woman’s fertility starts decline in her early 30s. But we tend to think of infertility as a female problem, when in fact, in 40 percent of cases infertility is a problem on the male side. It breaks down like this. In 40 percent of cases, it’s a male problem. In 40 percent of cases, it’s a female problem. And in 20 percent of cases, it’s both or the infertility is unexplained.

Dr. Greene says for example, men’s sperm quality starts to decline after the age of 40. In fact, for the sperm donor program at the clinic, they don’t accept sperm samples from men over age 40.

Also for Infertility Awareness Week, Dr. Greene tries to raise awareness about the logic of funding fertility treatments in Alberta by the provincial government. Dr. Greene is in fact, in talks with the province right now. He has outlined to the government how funding fertility treatments make sense financially over the long term, and also results in better outcomes for moms and babies.

When fertility treatments are funded, doctors do not need to transfer as many embryos into the woman. This results in fewer multiple births, fewer high-risk pregnancies and fewer long term care issues for babies born prematurely as often happens with multiples. And yet the successful pregnancy rates remain the same.

And Dr. Greene says they are getting better at IVF all time. For example, in 2009 the rate of twins with IVF was 30 percent, now it’s just 16 percent, and again, the pregnancy rate is still great.

Quebec currently funds three cycles of IVF, Manitoba has tax credits for IVF and Ontario will start funding IVF in 2015.

Here’s a link to more statistics on IVF in Canada.

For more information about the Regional Fertility Program visit their website, and you may also want to visit their charitable arm, Generations of Hope, that helps couples with funding for IVF.

Missed the segment? Watch it here.


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