In honor of Veterans Day, we asked Tyler and Crystal Wilson, who have worked tirelessly for necessary medical coverage for “wounded warriors” (military personnel injured in active service who have been denied fertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization), to use their voice as a shining example of how advocacy works. The Wilsons know, from their own personal experience, the pain and frustration of having injuries that make it impossible to have children without medical treatment due to active military service. Thank you, Tyler, both for your service to our country and to your fellow service people, regarding building a family after a debilitating injury.
One of the hardest decisions Dan and I faced during fertility treatment was making the transition from IUI (intrauterine insemination) to IVF (in vitro fertilization). I remember after failing our third round of IUI treatment (yes, I know, the politically correct way of putting this is, “after my third failed cycle”, but let’s face it, it felt like a personal failure when there was no positive pregnancy test!), my husband and I came face to face with a decision making moment: to pursue another round of IUI or bust out the big guns, moving ahead with IVF. There was a lot of time discussing this potentially life changing decision. We made tons of pros and cons lists because we wanted to ensure we were choosing the best option for the two of us and our situation. We considered lots of factors, but two kept rising to the top of importance: financial cost and our emotional sanity.
Grief is all too familiar to patients going through fertility treatment. Whether it is grief over not getting pregnant naturally, not getting pregnant through treatment or the loss of a pregnancy, the loss felt by people going through assisted technology to conceive is very real. Unfortunately, this is not widely understood by many for whom getting pregnant naturally is simple. As a result, infertility feels isolating and patients often internalize other’s comments about needing to feel grateful for the good things they have in their lives, leaving them even more upset. To compound matters further, infertility is unique in that it can create sadness and effect a woman’s self-esteem. Many women feel that their bodies are not doing what they always expected they would do and these women can feel broken and lost.
The seasons in our lives closely mirror those in the physical world. Each of us begin as babies, then children, then move into teenage years and then, after a time as young adults, we typically look at parenthood and family building.