Missouri scores close to last on fertility friendliness scorecard

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Are you struggling to have a baby or do you know someone who is? Chances are you are not alone.

The National Infertility Association ranks both Missouri and Kansas in the bottom half of the 50 states on a "fertility friendliness" scorecard.

Missouri comes close to last at 48, while Kansas ranks 33.

Beth Freeman is one of the many moms who have struggled with infertility. She tried to conceive with her husband for about a year before seeking help at the Midwest Reproductive Center in Olathe.

The center was founded by Dr. Dan Gehlbach. According to Dr. Gehlbach, most couples seek help within a year of not having success. But, he advises women over the age of 35 to seek help within six months. Gehlbach offers a variety of options at his center.

"The majority of couples are helped just through very simple technologies, helping them ovulate, sometimes surgery may be required. For Beth, it required in vitro fertilization, which is a technology that's been around for 30 years," Gehlbach said.

Freeman is now a busy mom of three. She has 5-year-old Bennett and 2-year-old twins, Quinn and Everett. She is happy and grateful to be a mom, but warns people it was a struggle getting to where she is now.

"It was not easy at all and very expensive, and that's one of the reasons why we're speaking out. With Missouri being 48 out of 51, we really had no insurance coverage, no mandate requiring insurance to cover these procedures, the testing, the procedures. As a very young couple just starting out in our marriage, we spent close to $40,000 of our own money. We had to take family loans, credit card loans," Freeman said.

Dr. Gehlbach encourages couples to talk to their congressman. He has already met with local congressman about the National Family Act. It would help aid couples struggling with very expensive infertility treatments. He also advises people to speak to their employers about their health care plans.

For more information on the Midwest Reproductive Center, visit www.midwestreproductive.com

For more information on the National Fertility Scorecard got www.resolve.org/fertility-scorecard.  

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