Couples struggling with infertility more willing to seek help now than before

ATLANTA — Traditionally, it's a topic never discussed in public -- even among family members, but now as more couples seek fertility treatments to expand their families, they are talking about it.

Katie Harley and her husband struggled with infertility for two years. She miscarried four times before her husband suggested they see a specialist.

"I couldn't sleep at night knowing it was just unexplained. I couldn't go through it again knowing there's no medical reason this is happening to me," Harley said.

The Harleys went to Dr. Samuel Brown in Jacksonville, Florida. He specializes in infertility.

Brown said demand for fertility treatment has exploded over the past 10 years, but that doesn't necessarily mean more couples are having trouble conceiving than in years past.

He said couples are now more willing to seek help.

"Back in the old days, infertility was kind of taboo. Now it's just no big deal. It's okay. It's one out of 8 women. One out of eight couples have infertility," Brown said.

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Brown said he covers a lot of ground in the initial meetings with couples. The Harleys had one of those meetings.

"Being able to sit down and have that option to talk to him without making a commitment to do IVF or do IUI, I think it's a big misconception with women. It definitely was with me," Harley said.

Harley paid her insurance co-pay for that conversation.

Brown said in some cases, it's free and insurance is covering more types of fertility treatments.

"They get geared up for the big, aggressive, expensive things and say probably half our patients get pregnant on the simpler stuff," Brown said.

Brown eventually discovered Harley had a piece of tissue dividing her uterus in half. That kept her from sustaining a pregnancy. She had surgery to remove it.

The couple tried artificial insemination, but they were not successful. That can typically cost a couple about $400.

Harley later got pregnant with baby Charlotte without a medical procedure.

Looking back, Harley said she wouldn't change anything about her fertility journey. She hopes more families feel encouraged to seek out a fertility doctor.

Brown said insurance companies are covering more of the cost for treatments. That's making it more affordable for couples.