For some couples, conceiving children can be a real challenge, and they’ll likely have to make some tough decisions if they decide to undergo fertility procedures, especially if they are expensive and invasive.
The Saint Louis University SLUCare Restorative Fertility Clinic at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, claims that procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be successful, but they do not treat the cause of infertility in the first place.
“Many modern fertility methods attempt to bypass the body. We use an approach that looks at finding the underlying problem that prevents a couple from becoming pregnant and fixing it,” Dr. Patrick Yeung, M.D., said in a press release.
Infertility is currently estimated to affect one in every six couples trying to conceive. Yeung, who is an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, believes that once the underlying medical condition behind infertility is identified and addressed, pregnancy is more likely to happen naturally while also enabling subsequent pregnancies.
Yeung and his team use a care approach to infertility based on NaPro Technology, a new women’s health science that monitors and sustains the reproductive and gynecological health by providing medical and surgical support that respects the natural reproductive cycle and system. The approach looks at the reasons behind the couple’s problems with getting pregnant, treats the root cause of the couple’s infertility, and works with the woman’s natural cycle to allow a natural pregnancy to successfully happen.
Couples receive training in the Creighton Model charting method. This approach raises awareness of fertility by learning to recognize a woman’s fertile time during her menstrual period and by looking at a woman’s mucus score to target the best time of the month for ovulation and conception. Yeung and his team continue to follow all couples by discussing results during monthly clinic appointments where both partners’ health is checked, evaluated for hormone levels, sexual issues, and potential anatomical challenges. Sometimes, solutions are as simple as changing diets.
“One study shows success rates with this approach of up to 73 percent in two years and another study finds success in 52 percent in two years — even when 33 percent of the patients had tried and failed IVF,” Yeung said. “There are other benefits to dealing with underlying health problems. We can treat cramps, PMS, abnormal cycles, and repetitive miscarriages by addressing what is really going on in a woman’s body.”
Yeung’s approach may also not just treat or improve infertility, but improve overall health, as well. Endometriosis, for example, can be found in up to 50 percent of all infertile patients, and women who get treatment for this condition tend to see their pelvic pain significantly relieved.
SLUCare Restorative Fertility Clinic is now looking to help couples start a family together in different dimensions: “We look at ways the couples can participate in this process together,” Yeung said. “That could be making dietary changes together or charting cycles together. Too many times infertile couples become too focused on becoming pregnant and forget to respond to each other.”
Yeung is committed to this couples-based approach since he and his wife had to personally deal with infertility due to endometriosis.
“My wife is the first to say that if a woman isn’t getting pregnant, there is an underlying issue,” he said. “It is rare medically to find true, unexplained infertility. By digging into medical issues that may exist, we improve a woman’s health and her fertility. It really in some ways is getting back to the basics of medicine – we have the problem of infertility and we are looking for the root causes.”
Yeung believes this less invasive approach can also also help Catholic couples due to its holistic aspects, as well as families with less financial resources. “IVF and other fertility treatments can be expensive and cost-prohibitive for many couples,” he said. “Because what we are doing is treating existing, underlying medical issues, it is covered by insurance.”
For more information about the SLUCare Restorative Fertility Clinic, call 314-977-7455, or visit the Women’s Health Pavilion at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, 1031 Bellevue Ave., Suite 400, St. Louis, Missouri.