It is not something often talked about,
but an estimated 15-18 percent of all
couples will at some time in their lives
need the services of a fertility
physician. Now, for the first time,
there’s a one-stop shop in Arizona
dedicated to helping women get pregnant.
Reproductive Medical Institute, at ASU
Research Park, is the first medical
complex of its kind in the southwestern
United States, according to Dr. H.
As a medical “institute,” RMI offers a
full range of fertility services, from
diagnosis and X-ray to an on-site
pharmacy that specializes in fertility
drugs, as well as in vitro fertilization
and other medical procedures.
RMI even plans to bring in an attorney
who specializes in reproductive law, and
a reproductive psychologist for monthly
Craig, a board-certified fertility
specialist, recently moved his Fertility
Treatment Center onto the
37,000-square-foot RMI campus at 2155 E.
Conference Drive, part of the sprawling
research park complex.
“FTC’s newest facility defines the
patient experience by combining the
ultimate in comfort with high-tech
equipment in a warm and inviting
environment,” Craig said.
“Our patients are usually coping with a
great deal of stress and their needs go
beyond providing state-of-the-art
medical care. We planned every aspect of
this new center to integrate
patient-friendly design that fosters an
environment of trust and respect.”
For example, he noted, all telephone
calls during business hours are answered
by a person, not an automated system,
and all exam rooms are equipped with
private dressing rooms.
Fertility patients often are older
professionals who are having trouble
conceiving. Age and stress are two
obstacles to pregnancy, according to
Two times out of three the problem lies
with the woman, not the man, Craig said.
Female fertility drops rapidly as a
women age, he explained.
For example, a woman at age 23 might
produce two “good” eggs for every egg
that will not support pregnancy, he
said. By the time a woman reaches 30,
she might produce only one “good” egg
out of five, which means it usually
takes longer to get pregnant even
without other fertility problems.
A 40-year-old woman produces only one
“good” egg out of 18, which means it
could take a year and a half of trying
before she produces one egg that will
support pregnancy, Craig said.
In other words, “a woman’s biological
clock runs faster than you would think.”
Many of his patients are women who put
their careers first “only to find out
that their biological clock has just
about run out when they come in” to FTC,
He should know. He and his wife,
Claudette, a former labor and delivery
room nurse, waited eight years to start
a family and weren’t able to conceive.
They used in vitro fertilization, which
resulted in twin girls, Mariah and
Katrina, now six years old.
Stress also reduces a woman’s ovulation
capacity, according to Craig. The good
news is that fertility drugs easily
In fact, the secret of fertility drugs
is knowing how to regulate the dosage so
a woman produces three to seven eggs per
month instead of one. The risk is
producing too many eggs, which often
results in multiple pregnancies, i.e.
twins, triplets and more.
FTC has the best pregnancy rate in the
Southwest for fertility treatments
without creating what is called “high
multiple” pregnancies, meaning triplets
or more, according to Craig.
Craig, 50, didn’t start out to become a
fertility specialist. In fact, his first
career choice was to be a physicist. He
studied physics and anthropology as well
as philosophy, literature and other
liberal arts at Grinnell College in
He was drawn into medicine from the
engineering side but soon decided he
preferred medicine to engineering,
earning a certificate in Biomechanical
Engineering and his M.D. degree from
Washington University in St. Louis.
He utilizes his science background in
researching fertility procedures,
holding several U.S. patents, and
working on a process to freeze and
re-use a woman’s eggs – a process Craig
believes could revolutionize fertility
medicine and even be adapted to protect
endangered animal species.
Besides doing research on-site at RMI,
Craig manages a residency program to
teach fertility medicine. FTC takes in
seven medical residents each year as
part of its four-year OB-GYN residency
One thing Craig does not do is
deliver babies. When a woman conceives,
his job is pretty much finished.
’em pregnant, then off they go,” he