An astonishing one in six Canadian couples struggle with infertility and that number is rising dramatically worldwide, says Dr. Rahi Victory.
People are getting married later, are susceptible to environmental toxins, more sexually transmitted diseases and lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol consumption that make conceiving more difficult, he said.
That’s why Dr. Victory says he’s opened Sarnia-Lambton’s only fertility clinic.
“Sarnia has always been underserviced. It’s never had a fertility clinic,” he said. “We want to make it better for people who have had to travel to London or across the border for help.”
He has provided fertility services since 2008 at Victory Reproductive Care in Windsor. Earlier this year, he opened a local clinic at Point Edward’s DMI building on Mara Street.
The new clinic provides diagnostic testing, cycle monitoring, IUIs (artificial insemination), as well as a free infertility support group.
Couples should try to get pregnant on their own for a year before seeking help if they are under 35, says RN Kerri Bourne. Try for six months if over 35.
She is a nurse at the Victory Reproductive Care clinic and also works at Bluewater Health on the labour and delivery unit.
Bourne said a few years ago she had trouble conceiving and had to go to London for fertility treatments.
“I ended up going back and forth to London for all my blood work and ultrasounds. I definitely wish this clinic was here,” she said.
She now has three daughters but remembers the emotional rollercoaster before she conceived through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
“It’s emotional, it’s stressful and isolating when you can’t get pregnant,” said Bourne. “A lot of people don’t talk about it because their friends and family have children and they don’t.”
She facilitates an infertility support group that is free to all women whether they are seeking treatment at Victory Reproductive Care or not.
It runs every second and fourth Wednesday of the month and already has about eight regulars.
The group is geared to women but holds spouse nights and brings in guest speakers.
Those who want a consultation with Dr. Victory must have a referral from a family physicians or a walk-in clinic.
Most clients go on to have their blood work analyzed and diagnostic testing done. Treatment options are discussed with the doctor, including medications and artificial insemination (IUI).
IUI is successful 30% to 40% of the time, according to Dr. Victory. And all but $350 is covered by Ontario health insurance. After three unsuccessful IUIs, IVF is considered.
IVF is the only procedure that must be done out-of-town at a medical centre in Richmond Hill. However, Dr. Victory is building a new Windsor clinic and will provide IVF there by next summer.
IVF is close to 80% successful for women under 35. However, it’s expensive. One cycle costs about $11,000 for everything, including follow up.
Wait lists are lengthy for government-funded IVF, said Dr. Victory.
“The province funds 5,000 cycles a year but the demand is 20,000 cycles,” he said. “We’re hoping we can convince the province there’s a huge need for provincial funding in this area.”
Victory Reproductive Care Sarnia is in the Mara Surgical Centre at the DMI Building on Mara Street in Point Edward. Call 519-542-6512 or email [email protected] with all questions related to the clinic and the support group.
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