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Having Difficulty Becoming Pregnant? Mayo’s Fertility Program Can Help

By Rhiannon Riley, nurse practitioner, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Many people dream of becoming parents, but for some, that dream is difficult because they have trouble achieving pregnancy on their own. At Mayo Clinic Health System, we have the privilege of helping patients try to make that dream a reality. Following are answers to common questions about the fertility program in Eau Claire. Specific infertility treatments vary by location. Visit the website of the location nearest you for more information.

What’s normal? How long should we try? It can take a healthy couple up to a year to conceive. Couples may begin evaluation after one year of unprotected, appropriately timed intercourse (every day to every other day around expected ovulation) OR begin evaluation within six months if there is history to suggest there may be difficulty getting pregnant. History that may contribute to difficulty includes the woman having had irregular menstrual cycles or a tubal pregnancy, or if the man has had history of pelvic injury.

What is an infertility workup? During a workup, we evaluate the couple to determine the cause of their infertility. This can include lab work and imaging.

What is infertility monitoring? We monitor a woman through a cycle to see if she is ovulating and/or to measure the response to treatment. Sometimes, this involves lab work, as well as ultrasound, to look at the ovaries and uterus. We also monitor patients who are undergoing in vitro fertilization at another facility.

How does the process work? Before the appointment, patients are mailed paperwork that should be completed and brought to the first appointment. The initial appointment is a one-hour visit with a nurse practitioner to complete a health and reproductive health history, evaluate the circumstances, and discuss testing. Both partners are encouraged to attend. By the end of the appointment, the couple receives information regarding the plan for the next steps, which may include lab work, ultrasound, etc.

What treatments are offered locally? We induce ovulation through two oral medications, as well as some injectable medications. This method tricks the ovary into releasing at least one egg. We monitor the woman’s cycle to make sure the medication is working and that it is an appropriate dose.

In Eau Claire, we support larger centers, such as Mayo Clinic in Rochester and others that do in vitro fertilization. While we don’t offer in vitro, we perform follow-up care, such as lab work and ultrasounds locally, so patients don’t have to travel as far to receive care. We also provide intrauterine inseminations.

What happens after pregnancy is established? Once a pregnancy is established after doing fertility interventions, a couple can see the provider of their choice at the location of their choosing. Many couples prefer to seek prenatal care with the family physician, midwife, or OBGYN they’ve seen before.

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