The process of expanding a family is not always an easy one for service members. Long deployments, complications from prior service or medical issues might get in the way. Thankfully, both current and prior service members have options in attempting to overcome infertility issues.
Jay J. Ebbeson, public affairs officer at Madigan Army Medical Center, briefly highlights Madigans infertility program:
Madigan provides infertility services for eligible beneficiaries. To be seen at Madigan's Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Clinic, patients must first get a referral from their primary care manager. Once the referral is sent, a nurse from the clinic will call to arrange an initial appointment. For more information, please call 253-968-5437 or visit mamc.amedd.army.mil.
Look in the Dec. 4 issue of the NW Guardian for an in-depth look into Madigans infertility services.
For service members who sustained injuries in combat that led to infertility, the Seattle Reproductive Medicine offers help. This is an option for the National Guard and Reserve service members who are not eligible for Madigan services. Those who qualify can receive 50 percent off the potentially thousands of dollars for Invitro treatment at Seattle Reproductive Medicine.
Those who are unsure of whether they qualify are welcome to call the SRM for guidance. All branches of the military are welcome.
Dr. Gerard S. Letterie, D.O., is an SRM physician and U.S. Army veteran who is familiar with military medicine.
We are working on training those who answer the phones in the patient service area (to determine) what qualifies or doesnt, Letterie said. If there are further questions, then the providers, whether it is myself or another, can contact them. Being clear about the injuries and desires of the patients is important.
Interested veterans and their family members can call 1-877-777-6002. Active duty service members can contact Madigans Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Service.
Letterie also works as a consultant at JBLMs hospital.
Madigan has excellent fertility services for active duty. Everyone who is eligible to use Madigan should definitely use their services, he said.
Educating patients on the exact procedures available to them is the first step. The initial appointment, which can be made through the SRM office, is all about giving them options, Letterie said.
Invitro Fertilization, a procedure that implants embryos into the uterus, is an expensive option; however, the process is much more streamlined today than it was years ago.
If we decided to do it on a patient today, we can have that process done, including the transferring of embryos in four weeks, Letterie said. The process is now well worked out with the guesswork being zero. We will give patients calendars and set up appointments; medications are sent via FedEx to their home in the weeks before the procedure.
Depending on the injury sustained on the battlefield, less invasive procedures than Invitro Fertilization may be available. There are also options for those who have specific requirements for their Invitro Fertilization, such as the number of eggs used. The clinic is open to accommodating a variety of options due to religious or ethical beliefs.
Patients should also know that this process is not 100 percent guaranteed to result in pregnancy or live birth.
There are many factors to take into account the age of the female partner, for example. If someone is 35, with no health issues, there is between a 50 to 60 percent rate of success, Letterie said.
Freezing embryos for later use is also an option and factors into the success rate of pregnancy and live birth.
Letterie said the clinics services, whether in the lab or in the examination rooms, are all focused on family building. This includes those who are single.
If you are interested in having a larger family, and are eligible for these services, then I think the candidate should do this, he said.
More information is also available at seattlefertility.com.