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Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Center for Research in Reproduction

Fertility Outreach and Education Core

Infertility affects up to 10% of individuals/couples in the United States. Over the last few decades, treatment options have rapidly improved. Specifically, assisted reproductive technology (ART) success rates have improved with up to 50% chance of live birth with in vitro fertilization (IVF) in women under the age of 35 (Source: SART National Summary Report). Despite these improvements, some individuals/couples have multiple cycles of IVF without conceiving or ‘recurrent implantation failure' (RIF). RIF is a devastating and poorly understood diagnosis.

Our outreach program aims to provide support and education to individuals/couples who have struggled with infertility. We also provide education and support to the community through collaborative programming and joint initiatives.


MarshCourtney Marsh, MD, MPH 

As a reproductive endocrinologist and chair of the Fertility Outreach Core, I am excited to improve the wellness and fertility of women in the metro Kansas City area. We are focusing on miscarriage which is a devastating aspect of infertility. Medically, we do not fully understand miscarriages and emotionally, the process can be very painful. We hope to support women, couples, and families who have experienced a miscarriage. We also aim to educate medical professionals regarding this process. Please visit the website regularly as we will keep updating with future directions!

Stakeholders Meetings for Fertility Outreach CoreFertility Outreach Core

February 20, 2020
We had a very successful inaugural stakeholder meeting for our Fertility Outreach Core! Our stakeholders represent many aspects of fertility and include: fertility patients, medical students, reproductive endocrinologists, a public health masters student, and nurses. Our goal was to bring together individuals from a variety of backgrounds to make our outreach the best it can be!

We brainstormed a variety of ideas for community outreach and narrowed our focus to miscarriage. Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before twenty weeks gestation and is the most common type of pregnancy loss occurring in 3 million women across the United States each year. Miscarriage can be very painful both physically and emotionally and medical understanding as to why miscarriages happen is limited. As miscarriage is often an unspoken condition, we want to raise awareness and support individuals and families who have experienced this loss.

Our focus for outreach is wellness. Wellness encompasses seven different dimensions including: the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, occupationional and environmental. Although we have not crystallized our outreach plans, we will focus on physical, emotional, social and intellectual aspects of wellness. More to come - so stay tuned!

Ashley Flynn, Fertility Outreach Core Stakeholder

Ashley FlynnIn 2011, at the age of 24, Ashley Flynn was diagnosed with rectal cancer, a cancer that is normally not even screened for until age 45. To be cured, Ashley needed to undergo multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation which put her fertility at risk. Luckily, her oncologists had Ashley's future in mind. Before starting treatment Ashley met with a reproductive endocrinologist at University of Kansas Health System Advanced Reproductive Medicine to create a plan to preserve her fertility. The decision as made to raise Ashley's ovaries out of the field of radiation to protect her eggs. This meant in order for Ashley to have biological children, she would need to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF). After completing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Ashley was deemed cancer free.

Ashley married her husband, Shawn, in 2015. Knowing they wanted children, they launched into learning more about the IVF process. After multiple injections, procedures, and surgeries and with the help of a University of Kansas Health System reproductive endocrinologist and interventional radiologist, Ashley and Shawn were able to retrieve multiple eggs that were fertilized to create three healthy embryos. Today, Shawn and Ashley have two healthy little boys, Samuel, 3 years, and Luke, 8 months.

Ashley is delighted to serve as a stakeholder in the Fertility Outreach Core. She aims to provide insight, support, and hope to those who are currently facing infertility.

Katelyn Schumacher, Fertility Outreach Core Stakeholder

Katelyn SchumacherI am currently in the combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and am looking forward to making a positive impact in the Kansas City metro area. The fertility outreach core provides the exciting opportunity to educate and engage the community with the aim to improve the mental and physical health surrounding fertility. I am passionate about helping women navigate infertility and miscarriage through education and the provision of wellness resources, which is what this project aims to do.

Resources

Papers

American Society for Reproductive Medicine: ReproductiveFacts.org

The National Infertility Association: Resolve.org

Last modified: Jul 01, 2020
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