Dr. Christopher Stroud and his wife, Marianne, owners and founders of The Fertility & Midwifery Care Center, help couples achieve pregnancy and give birth with a natural, faith-compatible approach. Dr. Stroud answers questions about their unique and successful practice.
Q1: How did the Fertility & Midwifery Care Center come to be?
It started with my conversion to being a Creighton Fertility Model Medical Consultant, which involves a method of natural family planning compatible with my faith and used to discover and treat diseases preventing normal fertility. I was an OB/GYN, employed by a large hospital system. We began to consider focusing only on the patients who specifically wanted this type of care. I questioned if I could be an OB/GYN and not do tubal ligations, prescribe birth control, or perform other artificial fertility procedures. I expected I’d fail miserably; however, since we opened in September of 2014 we’ve seen exponential growth.
Q2: What is the Creighton Fertility Model?
This philosophy treats the absence of pregnancy as a symptom, not a disease. If you’re not able to get pregnant, something is wrong. The problem might be endometriosis, a blocked tube, lack of ovulation, or polycystic ovarian disease. Our goal is to find the cause, treat it and make the woman whole and open to pregnancy again. Treatment begins with a consultation to evaluate a couple’s reproductive history. Women learn to track their menstrual cycles utilizing the Creighton method. From there we may recommend a semen analysis for her husband, physical examination to detect any abnormalities, comprehensive hormone evaluation, pelvic ultrasound, or a diagnostic laparoscopy among other things. An individualized, comprehensive plan is developed for the treatment of the underlying cause or causes of infertility and to restore the woman to her natural fertile state.
Q3: How is your practice unique?
We use a wellness approach to pregnancy. We encourage women to labor and give birth in the way that works best for them, not us. We integrate physician and midwifery skills as a team. We have two physicians on staff, Dr. Angela Martin and me. We also have three Certified Nurse Midwives: Marianne Stroud (my wife), Lindsay Davidson, and Clare Hall. In addition, we have 18 amazing staff members that support our work. We don’t use artificial reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination. We attend all our patients’ births, publish and encourage the use of our cell phone numbers and have no answering service. If our patients have a problem, they simply call us.
Q4: What issues bring couples to you?
Many couples come to us because they’re looking for a pregnancy experience with minimal, but appropriate intervention. We also see many couples that want Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC). Our VBAC success rate is an astonishing 90% after one prior C-section. Infertility issues also bring couples to us from all over the Midwest. In many cases, they’ve been referred to us from a traditional infertility office and they don’t like the options presented. Lastly, we see many patients with recurrent pregnancy loss. We test for several causes of recurrent loss such as low progesterone and genetic blood clotting abnormalities. Then we treat the abnormalities we find with tremendous success.
Q5: How has your faith shaped your practice?
The practice is an extension of our faith. We enjoy praying with our patients, feeling that our role is to care for the whole patient; spiritual and physical. Our approach is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. While we care for many patients who don’t share all our beliefs, they all share our passion.
Q6: Do you have any stories to tell us?
It’s extremely humbling the number of families who travel sometimes hundreds of miles to see us. Couples often come to us in despair, having lost hope. They will later remark how our office embraced them, celebrated with them, even cried with them. Often the greatest thing we do is restore hope--whether it’s hope for a specific type of birth experience or hope for a successful pregnancy. These kinds of stories happen every day in our practice. People have given up. For example, they thought that if they didn’t have in vitro fertilization, they couldn’t have a family. We give them hope, treat them with respect, and share their journey. If there’s anything we do here exceptionally well, it’s restore hope.