Reproductive experts plan Albany seminars

ALBANY, Ga. -- After a call was made from hopeful parents in the area to bring in more extensive infertility services, officials answered.

OB-GYN Associates at The Veranda has announced a partnership with Reproductive Biology Associates of Atlanta, which will be used to conduct monthly infertility educational symposiums and patient consultations in Albany.

The first seminar, "Overcoming Infertility," will be held Monday at 6 p.m., which coincides with National Infertility Awareness Week.

The partnership came after infertility patients in Southwest Georgia indicated that there were not enough services available locally for those needing advanced care.

"Infertility is a common problem," said Dr. William George of OB-GYN Associates. "Local gynecologists can do screenings, but advanced testing has to be done in Atlanta. It (the travel) adds an enormous expense to testing."

Roughly 10 percent of married couples are found to have problems conceiving. Patients in Southwest Georgia, on average, may visit Atlanta 10-12 times during an in vitro cycle -- which is roughly 30 days.

"(As a result of the partnership) the only trip to Atlanta for patients will be to harvest the egg," George said.

Services are being offered at The Veranda, 2701 Meredyth Drive, to all individuals and couples in Southwest Georgia regardless of their current obstetrician.

"We can provide service and face-to-face interaction," said Dr. Scott Slayden of RBA. "We can't bring the whole lab to Albany, but we can duplicate the quality of service.

"The doctors in Albany know us and we've always respected one another; we go decades back. The doctors in Albany want to add to their own work and we want to do the same. We are going to have more babies in Albany and more happy parents."

RBA was established in 1983 as Georgia's first in vitro fertilization treatment center. Their physicians have achieved more than 7,000 in vitro fertilization births.

"They are one of the leading groups in the country," George said.

Initially, the group will be making trips to Albany once a month. Officials hope to eventually bring in their services more often.

"We hope to (transition) into twice a month," George said.

Monday's event will consist of just a lecture. Slayden is set to see the first Southwest Georgia patient on Tuesday. Phone consultations will eventually be available for local patients in RBA's absence.

"We anticipate there will be a robust response," George said. "It will have a big impact on the community.

"We are real excited. It will bring a much needed service and make the community more sophisticated."

Those wishing to attend Monday's session are encouraged to RSVP by calling toll-free 1 (888) 722-4482 ext. 3472.