Dr. Christopher Yancey is a local. He attended Mozelle Johnston Elementary School, Judson Middle School and Longview High School. His brothers became engineers, but when the oilfields stopped producing, one of those brothers advised Christopher to take another route–specifically the one leading to medicine. He had the grades and did indeed take this direction. He has spent the past 20 years as a beloved specialist in delivering babies and treating some forms of infertility. He loves his work, and his patients love him.
Yancey has served as Chief of the Division of OB/GYN at Longview Regional Medical Center. He matriculated from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He is a member of the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, and the Wiser Society. In addition, Yancey is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“I love delivering babies,” he says. “My work has diversity of what I do. There is more than delivering babies in my practice. I have delivered everybody, and have walked with some to the grave.”
Still some of his patients are have difficulty having children. This condition is known as infertility. Infertility is the inability of a sexually active, non-contraception couple to achieve pregnancy in one year.
Some of his patients cannot become pregnant, while others cannot carry a pregnancy full term. The emotional heartbreak of this state is crushing. When couples cannot conceive, it is vital that both husband and wife see the doctor because in 30% of cases, the problem lies with the man. Age is another factor.
A 21-year-old woman has time on her side, but if a woman is 38 and still childless, she needs to attend to her biological clock while it is still ticking. There are many factors to consider.
Smoking, specific lifestyles and some medications can cause infertility. Women who smoke increase the chances they will be unable to become pregnant or will suffer miscarriage. Yancey urges them to wisely manage their lifestyles so as to not work against themselves.
“Healthcare is a relationship,” he says. “So, I do my part and you do your part so the couple can achieve the goal of having a baby.”
Yancey treats specific aspects of infertility, recommends other infertility specialists if necessary, and sends husbands to urologists for examination and treatment when needed. He also has personal reasons for pursuing this calling.
“My wife and I always wanted a large family, but wanted to wait until I finished school,” he says. “The prospect of starting a family was exciting. First bath, first words, first steps, riding a bike, coaching little league, dance recitals, pinewood derby, fishing, bedtime stories, tea parties, playing dress up, building forts. It was all too exciting. When do we start? Sign us up.”
It did not work out as expected. One year, two years, and then three with no babies. When they went to an infertility specialist he could find no problem to treat, and told them they would likely never have children. Knowing she would be crushed, Yancey did not share this last bit of information with his wife.
The loneliness of infertility set in–the sensation of having lost something precious before even having had it. It is a problem one has to experience to understand. The afflicted must resist becoming embittered, especially around those blessed with children. It was doubly difficult for Yancey because of the medical capacity in which he served.
“I was an obstetrical resident in a large, inner-city hospital. We cared for people who did not want to get pregnant,” he says. “We cared for people who did not need to get pregnant. We cared for patients with serious drug problems, prostitutes, people angry at their unwanted pregnancies. I didn’t understand. It just wasn’t fair.”
Yancey gave his wife a yellow lab puppy–Sadie Hawkins Dance. This wonderful canine became a substitute child. Climbing fences, climbing onto furniture and climbing onto them. She was priceless therapy, going everywhere with them.
“She loved riding in the car. We would never dream of putting her in a kennel if we went on a trip, so she went with us,” he says. “She was our child and she was our therapy, but what she did most for us was be there. She would be there as we suffered the pain of infertility. She never spoke, she never gave advice, she never told us she knew ‘how we felt.’ A lesson in unconditional love.”
In time the couple’s problem was solved, and they were blessed with two wonderful children who came to love Sadie as much as their parents did. She was their first child. Their struggle with infertility taught them the value of life, and Sadie taught them the value of “being there.”
Yancey’s devotion to his work and a compulsive fixation on doing everything in his power to help his patients has actually led to him being labeled “overcautious.” He readily admits to this, and that this tendency stems from his own, personal experience with the heartbreak of infertility. His treatment of childless couples and his success in treating them means he has no interest in case numbers.
“I’ve never kept up with how many babies I’ve delivered because then they just become a number,” he says. “Every delivery is its own story, life and family–not just a number.”
He knows well how infertility infuses its victims with a life perspective incomprehensible to those who have never experienced it.
“This life perspective deepened for me because of a yellow Labrador who provided comfort and taught empathy,” he says.
At age 13, Sadie developed a tumor that slowly crippled her. As she slipped away, all Dr. Phillip Yancey could do was “be there” for her. He was.
For more information or to contact Dr Christopher Yancey, please call (903) 757-6042