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No shame in infertility: Vancouver dad

By Stefania Seccia

One in six Canadians struggle with fertility.

One in six Canadians struggle with fertility. FOTOLIA

While some mothers may not know they’re pregnant and give birth on an airplane flight, other families aren’t as lucky, with one in six Canadians struggling with fertility.

That was the case with one Vancouver father, who asked to remain anonymous, and his wife who tried for four years to conceive and turned to treatment to get pregnant.

After five treatments, two miscarriages and spending $15,000, the two were able to have their now nine-month-old daughter through in vitro.

“It’s horrible while you’re doing it,” he said. “You spend all this money, there’s all this grief with your partner and you don’t have anything to show for it when it doesn’t work.

“But when it works, it’s like anything, you forget about the pain.”

The couple is now trying for their second, and his advice to anyone is to “stick with it.”

“There’s no shame in something happening in your body and there shouldn’t be,” he said. “There needs to be more awareness.”

This year’s Canadian Infertility Awareness Week from May 19 to 28, aims to shed the stigma of infertility as a sixth of the population is affected by it.

Dr. Sonya Kashyap, medical director of Vancouver’s Genesis Fertility Centre, said while the health system pays for consultation — the cost of in vitro is still a barrier.

“While treatments are not covered, the work up to it is covered,” she said. “And it’s not the majority of patients who require aggressive (in vitro) treatment; it’s the minority of patients. Only 30% require it.”

Kashyap said more than 50% of the patients she sees are over 37 years old, and older eggs are the most “common culprits and is one of the hardest things to overcome.”

“It’s mother nature’s way of preventing us getting pregnant when we’re older and maybe a bit unhealthier,” she said. “But mother nature hasn’t caught up to our (modern) lifestyles.”

It’s also common for local parents to freeze eggs in case they want kids later — and technology has come a long way in the fertility industry to help would-be parents conceive.

“It’s quite a common problem, but unfortunately a lot of people are still shy to talk about it — they’re afraid of the stigma,” she said.

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