“WE are 1 out of 8. We are the one out of eight who have been struggling to conceive a child naturally and unnaturally for that matter. Yes, that’s right… 1 out of 8 couples are currently struggling with infertility. In case you were calculating, that’s more than 7 million people in the United States alone. We have been quiet about our struggles with many. Why you ask? As a culture there is an incredible amount of shame and stigma surrounding this issue. We have had many people ask “So when are you two going to have kids?” What we want to say and what we actually say are two very different things. What we want to say is “well we have been trying for four years and still haven’t had any luck” or “after two months of injecting my body full of hormones, I received a negative pregnancy test yesterday.” Yet instead, we grin, clench our teeth, and attribute our lack of being pregnant to our desire to travel. This is so silly! Today we are breaking our silence”.
Sara was diagnosed with a rare condition called BPES. It’s disorder that mainly impacts the formation of the upper eye lid. However, accompanying certain types of this condition is also unexplained infertility for women. Unfortunately, this means the women’s egg production is less then desirable. Sara knew for a majority of her adult life, this would create difficulty in conception. Although she had hopes that with advances in modern medicine, there would be a way to one day have a biological child of her own.
Drew and Sara started trying to conceive in December of 2012. After several months, the couple met with a Dr. from her OBGYN’s office and were immediately referred to a fertility specialist.
She was referred us to not only one of the leading professionals in her local area. Her RE immediately recommended IVF. After their first attempt in 2013, they were only able to harvest 2 poor quality eggs to implant. Unfortunately, that attempt was unsuccessful. After much consideration, in the fall of 2014, Sara and Drew decided due to the knowledge of poor egg quality, that they would pursue the option to use donor eggs for further treatment. They moved through the process of choosing a donor agency, donor, and ART attorney. Heartbreakingly, the day before the donor’s eggs were to be harvested, Sara received a phone call at work stating the donor had accidently given herself too much medication and the entire process had to be cancelled. Both Sara and Drew were at a loss. Never had they expected this to be a possibility.
So again, after several months of grieving and getting their life back in order, they moved into a new home and settled in. It was then that they decided to try again in spring of 2016. Sara changed her diet and began eating healthier then ever before. She was exercising, doing yoga three times a week, acupuncture two times per week, meditating, resting as much as possible. Anything Sara could have control over she was trying. The moved forward with another transfer which sadly ended in a negative outcome. Sara and Drew felt as though they had exhausted every option to conceive both naturally and unnaturally. They were tired, emotionally and physically drained, infuriated, in despair, and in utter heart break.
With the mantra of “life must go on,” The still had to work, pay bills, a family, friends, a home to care for, and cute little dogs that need tending too. Despite their emotional roller coaster, they have to continue to function day to day. After several months of once again healing their hearts that best way we could, Sara and Drew decided to stop treatment options. That is when they decided to explore what was in their hearts and talk about what they really wanted. Was it just the “idea of having a family”? Or in their hearts is parenting something that the couple envisioned committing too and as part of their future. Ultimately for them, it did not matter how they looked at it, parenting was the bigger part of their future vision.
Sara and Drew are not breaking the silence for attention, they felt that by sharing their personal story, there is freedom from stigma and shame. Infertility is a very REAL and prevalent issue occurring in our society. It needs to be talked about, it needs to be supported, it needs to get the attention it deserves.
Sara stresses that if you know of someone experiencing infertility, to check out this link for some advice on how to support them and a few tips on “infertility etiquette.”
Sara L., Missouri