Do you know that despite the different causes, infertility is an issue that affects both men and women equally? Also, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. are dealing with infertility and my husband and I were one of them. We struggled to have a baby for almost 6 years because I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), but in 2018 we finally did our first cycle of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and welcomed our precious baby boy just a month ago. That journey was like a roller coaster ride with so many ups and downs, twist and turns. It was an experience filled with intense and raw emotions, hopes, dreams, prayers, sadness, disappointments, tears, fears, countless testing, research and dealing with people’s spoken and unspoken judgement and pity. But we persevered to make our dreams of having a baby a reality while intentionally making sure we were still living our lives to the fullest.
Our Engagement Pictures – Summer of 2011
Infertility is more prevalent than people think. Although it’s a very personal topic for many, it’s time to shift the cultural narrative around fertility and family planning. In most communities talking about infertility is off limits and often times, society puts more pressure and blame on the woman. Therefore, a lot of people live in secrecy filled with shame, guilt, fear, feeling stigmatized and with very little support, access to treatment and financial resources. So, it’s time we normalize the conversation around this subject, share the resources we have and support the people in our community dealing with infertility. #LetsTalkFertility
Our African Traditional Wedding Picture – Summer 2011
I’m so passionate about this cause which is why I have partnered with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM), for National Infertility Awareness Week to share my experience and more information on infertility treatments. CCRM is one of the industry’s leaders in fertility science, research, and advancement which offers access to a national network of award-winning physicians, an extensive list of fertility services, innovative technology, and cutting-edge labs. They specialize in the most advanced fertility treatments, including fertility assessment, egg donation, genetic testing and IVF. They have some of the highest IVF success rates in the industry because it takes the average patient at CCRM 1.2 IVF cycles to get pregnant versus the national average of 1.6 per the 2016 SART data. Unlike other fertility clinics that outsource their specialists and testing needs, CCRM has a dedicated team of in-house reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists and geneticists, plus they leverage their own data to deliver successful results consistently at multiple locations in 11 major cities in the U.S. and Canada, including my residence, the state of Houston.
Subsequently, as a leader in reproductive health & infertility treatment, CCRM is not only dedicated to delivering successful outcomes for people who are trying to have a baby but they are also leading the conversation on Infertility to encourage people to speak more openly about it. We as a community need to remove the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of prospective parents. Through this post, I hope to inspire people need to feel comfortable opening up about fertility and family planning. This National Infertility Awareness Week and beyond, I aim to empower couples and individuals to share their stories, problems, solutions and advice based on their experience. To overcome, grow and heal from these experiences, it’s helpful to connect with others who are going through similar things, share treatment resources, financing options, make donations to the cause to ultimately create a strong support system.
Our Baby’s Gender Reveal – November 2018
So, if you are like me and have difficulties conceiving or sustaining a healthy child, I want to tell you that your ability to conceive does not determine your self-worth. Your feelings and response to your circumstances are valid but never let it dictate your attitude and outcome. Do not isolate yourself & dwell in self-pity or your grief. Stop suffering in silence, reclaim your power by being patient, by educating yourself, finding your voice, taking ownership of your life and story, finding the right facilities/experts and then use it all to help yourself and someone else in your community. Also continue to celebrate with others around you who are having babies and love the children around you. Meanwhile, if you are a loved one of someone dealing from infertility, don’t ask insensitive questions or pressure them about having a baby. If they choose to, they will confide in you at the right time and when they do, listen carefully, show compassion, ask them how you can support them, go and also educate yourself on the issue and be a reliable and consistent person in their life.
Our Maternity Pictures – February 2019
Several years ago, the possibility of a child seemed unattainable for different reasons, but today I have a beautiful baby boy who is the love of my life. Although the journey has been long, hard, sometimes painful and very exhausting, it has also been beautiful, amazing, life changing, empowering and completely worth it. So, if you or your loved ones are dealing with any reproductive & fertility challenges, find a facility like CCRM for more resources and find someone/a community of people to connect with for support. Although I now have my miracle baby, I will never forget my journey nor others who are still trying to conceive. It is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart so I’ll continue to advocate for more transparency, continued research, better access to successful treatment, resources, funding and support for reproductive health.
Our precious Son and I, in the comfort of our home – April 2019
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. Until next time, stay informed and continue to make a positive impact in your community. Happy #NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek