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Our dream of starting a family

Hello Mountain Home, it has been a while since we last caught up with each other.

While I usually like to use these articles to highlight the recent successes of the Observer, like our most recent rise to number one on Google for many Mountain Home searches, today’s feature will be more personal.

As some of you know, Alison and I have been trying to have children since we tied the knot and said our vows in 2019. When we began dating back in 2018, the topic of having children was at the forefront of many of our discussions about what the two of us wanted out of life and has been a central tenant of our marriage ever since.

Sadly, getting pregnant has turned out to be an almost impossible task, which is why Alison, and I are packing our bags to travel to St. Louis, Missouri, for surgery at the time of this writing.

Over the past few years, we’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office, taking tests and receiving bad news at almost every turn. It has cost us tens of thousands of dollars. We refuse to give up.

So, for the next two weeks, we will both be undergoing major surgeries to hopefully fix our issues. We’ve been told that if things go well, we can expect to be pregnant towards the end of the year.

So, what does that mean for the Observer? It means that news articles will be intermittent for the next two weeks while we undergo the knife and recover. This week should be normal for the most part with news articles as I will still be able to write from our hotel room before I undergo my surgery, but the following week will be more difficult as I recover.

To help with this, we will be rolling out a “Flash from the Past” series highlighting some of our favorite feel-good articles that many of our new readers may not have seen. Regular news coverage will return on Aug. 29.

We ask our readers to be patient with us as we pursue our dream of having a family.

Before I go, I’d like to highlight that we aren’t the only couple to be going through this process. Every year, thousands of couples undergo various surgeries and procedures in an attempt to have children.

The process is often painful and emotionally draining, costing these couples small fortunes for a narrow chance at conceiving.

For almost three decades, between 1980 and 2007, the U.S. birth rate hovered between 65 and 70 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.

The birth rate followed a predictable pro-cyclical pattern, falling during economic downturns and recovering when the economy improves. But something changed around the time of the Great Recession; the birth rate fell precipitously, and it did not recover when the economy improved.

Rather, the U.S. birth rate has continued a steady descent. As of 2020, the U.S. birth rate was 55.8 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, a decline of almost 20 percent from the rate of 69.3 in 2007.

And while a number of factors are to blame for declining birth rates, the number of infertility cases throughout the United States has also seen a steady increase.

Over the years infertility has become more common than most people think. As many as one in seven couples trying to have a baby will experience infertility.

In fact, recent studies show that after a year of having unprotected sex, 15 percent of couples are unable to conceive a child. And, after two years, 10 percent of couples had still not achieved a successful pregnancy. That’s dramatically different than it was 20 or 30 years ago. What’s more, infertility is expected to increase in the future.

By 2025, almost 10 million couples will encounter problems in having a baby.

The reasons for infertility vary. Some people are born with defects that prevent natural conception, while others experience problems from waiting too long to have children.

Other factors can also include environmental factors like chemical exposure, high level of plastic exposure, and high exposure to radiation. Weight and overall health play factors into pregnancies as well.

“The last few years have seen a shift whereby birth rates have fallen to their lowest levels yet in women under 40. In contrast, the most marked increase in birth rate occurred in women over 40,” said Dr. Lucky Sekhon, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and board certified obstetrician and gynecologist who cares for patients at RMA of New York. “Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have which means that both the quantity and quality of eggs declines over time, with these changes beginning in the early 30s and accelerating at the mid-30s and onwards.”

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