LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas is an internationally known city, and it's become a reproductive hub for people around the world who are trying to start families.
The notion of starting a family often seems romantic and idyllic.
But in reality, for many, it can cause shame, desperation and heartache.
The topic used to be taboo-- turning to a fertility clinic for help-- but the subject is becoming more mainstream and culturally accepted.
"However young or healthy you feel, your ovaries or the testicles know how old you are," said Dr. Carrie Bedient, M.D., with the The Fertility Center of Las Vegas.
Dr. Bedient said the clinic is noticing a trend of older patients seeking assistance as people are choosing to start families later in life.
According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age for a first-time mother in the United States has been on a steady rise over the past decade for all races.
In 2010, the average age for a first-time mother in the United States was 25.4-years-old.
As of 2017, the average age was 26.8-years-old, according to the data.
"Women feel more empowered, more capable of having more children with just one parent, same with men, they feel more capable and more empowered to have a child with just one male parent," said Dr. Bedient.
Age is just one in a number of factors for those who come to Las Vegas to cure their infertility frustration, or fulfill their desire to start a family.
"In order to have an international practice, we probably have three times the number of staff members that any other fertility office would have," explained Dr. Bedient.
The clinic has worked with people from 35 countries in just the past year, many of whom come from Europe.
"Surrogacy is forbidden in Europe so the only option is for these people to travel to the United States," said Romain Taillandier.
Taillandier said he wanted to start a family four years ago but in Europe and his native France have strict rules for same-sex couples and surrogacy.
Taillandier sought help in Las Vegas.
Taillandier used his sperm and produced a healthy baby boy with the help of a surrogate.
"At this moment when the baby cried for the first time, you realize, oh my gosh, I'm a dad now," said Taillandier
"There are people out there who can't have kids and if I can be that small part of a puzzle to help them achieve that, then I'm going to do it," said Sarah Mitre, a 3-time egg donor.
Mitre said she has successfully helped produce 3 babies while balancing moral and even social issues and misconceptions.
"Probably, the biggest thing I hear is 'oh my gosh! is this going to affect my fertility' or 'is that going to take the egg that was supposed to be my kid one day, taking that egg out of line, so the child that was destined for me is not going to be?" but that's not the case," explained Mitre.
Doctors at the The Fertility Center of Las Vegas suggest starting a family sooner rather than later in life.
Dr. Bedient said a woman's chance of becoming pregnant is approximately 1 percent after age 45.