Emma is the brand specialist for Gay Parents To Be, helping to build awareness of the brand not only as a direct path to parenthood, but also as a general resource for fertility information in the LGBTQ community. She loves the chance to attend conferences on LGBTQ health and family building, and meet prospective patients.
Over the past few years, fertility treatment has gained some much-needed visibility. As public figures and celebrities share their stories of IVF treatment, surrogacy, PCOS struggles, and more, we see that willingness to share mirrored in our own community. Not only do patients seem to be more willing to open up to friends, family, and social media about their fertility or family-building journeys, but they are sharing the physical, mental, and emotional toll that may accompany these reproductive challenges.
This past week, during National Infertility Awareness Week (or NIAW, for short), we made it our mission to showcase some of these real patient stories, foster connection, and continue to raise awareness for all who struggle with infertility. Not only that, but our goal in sharing these stories was to showcase the many different pathways that a fertility journey may take, and more importantly, to redefine what fertility "success" really means.
For most of our community, needing fertility assistance was probably not in your original plan - and anyone who is going or has gone through treatment knows that a fertility journey is a path with its own set of twists and turns to navigate. And, for many of you reading along at home, the future is still unknown.
Keep scrolling to read, hear, and watch the patient stories that we highlighted during NIAW, or head on over to our Instagram to look through them at your own pace.
What does success look like for real fertility patients?
After multiple devastating losses, mom Lindsay found success through IVF. She shares one eye-opening realization from her fertility journey:
I never knew how many women actually suffered from infertility or difficulty conceiving. Walking into the waiting room and seeing it full was eye opening to me and gave me the feeling of I’m not alone.
After a breast cancer diagnosis changed Erin's family building plan, she and her husband preserved embryos for their future family building - but lifesaving estrogen-suppressing medication means that she can't carry a pregnancy. Erin and Matt turned to surrogacy to build their family. Looking back on her journey, Erin says:
In the beginning, it feels so overwhelming, and like there is no way that an amazing human being - the best thing that ever happened to you - could come out of it....every step of the process is worth it!
Moms Kassie and Samantha both knew that they wanted to carry a pregnancy, but their journey to build their beautiful family had some twists and turns of its own. Kassie's advice to someone starting out?
Patience is key. We as humans want things and want them right now! This journey, for most, is a lesson in patience and understanding that all good things come with time.
As any fertility patient in treatment knows, there are many ups and downs. The path to success is rarely a straight line, and it can be tough to manage all the bumps along the way. Patient Alexandrea shared how she's owning her IUI journey, what she’s learned so far, and what advice she has to offer to other fertility patients:
Be patient! Take your prenatals, and just let the rest come naturally. Enjoy the journey as much as you can.
Dads Robbie and Mackenzy became dads through surrogacy to their son, Beckett, all during the chaos of the COVID pandemic. During their journey they learned:
...how strong our love is as we awaited the news of certain milestones together and prepared for the arrival of our son. We also learned to relax and take things as they come, since any journey can have twists and turns...
For many RMA of Connecticut patients, Patient Advocate Lisa Rosenthal is a sounding board, a friendly face to turn to for support, and a source of fertility and yoga wisdom. She also happens to have her own personal connection to our fertility community. She joined me live on Instagram to share her story, discuss how it feels to see those in treatment paving the way for fertility visibility, and explain how to be your own best fertility advocate.