Fertility clinic opens

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | 4:26 p.m. CDT; updated 2:50 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Easing what could be a stressful process for would-be mothers, a state-of-the-art fertility clinic opened at Columbia Regional Hospital in early June. The clinic, which is one of two in Boone County, will serve patients with varying degrees of fertility issues.

The new clinic merges a University Hospital lab and a Columbia Regional Hospital clinic that are part of MU Health Care.

The clinic, lead by physicians Danny Schust and John Cassels, features a laboratory surrounded by walls four feet thick and an air purification machine larger than some of the rooms, Schust said. These are necessities, he explained, because of the sensitivity of an embryo to vibrations, light, temperature and air pollutants.

New to the clinic will be a treatment called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which occurs before an embryo is implanted into a woman’s uterus via in vitro fertilization. The process allows specialists to determine if an embryo is predisposed to inheriting a genetic disease from its parents, Schust said.

The clinic will also focus on helping women that continually miscarry. Schust said he is proud of the service because miscarriage patients are often underrepresented. “There are only three or four places in the country that specialize in pregnancy loss,” he said.

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