After six months of trying to conceive, I made an appointment with my OB/GYN. I was 30 and healthy: infertility was the last thing on my mind. My cycle can be irregular at times, and I assumed that was the cause of our inability to conceive at that point.

Blood work, ultrasound, and discussion would follow. Nothing out of the ordinary was discovered. My OB/GYN advised if I was still not pregnant in two months to come back in. Fast forward two more months…still not pregnant. During this next appointment, we discussed the potential use of clomid and my doctor suggested my husband schedule a semen analysis to rule anything out on his end.

Fortunately, my husband was able to get in for a semen analysis that same week. Neither of us even had a second thought about the appointment. Just going through checking off all the boxes.

A few days later, I saw my husband was calling me during the early morning of a workday. Although not typical, I still didn’t think anything of it. I answered the phone casually and within seconds our entire lives changed.

There was no sperm in my sample” my husband told me. Confusion and panic set in quickly. I knew there had to be some misunderstanding. As I questioned him, I fought off every shake in my voice and tears in my eyes. I didn’t want him to feel guilt or know the dark areas my mind was already wandering to.

He would go on to schedule another semen analysis and the results would be the same. The diagnosis: Azoospermia, a condition effecting 1% of all men. And just like that, our infertility journey officially began.

So while this is my first year celebrating NIAW, I’m not new to the struggles of infertility. My first IVF cycle was abruptly cancelled the afternoon before my egg retrieval. My doctor called and simply stated “we think you can do better.” I was completely blindsided. My second IVF cycle was cancelled due to the COVID-9 pandemic. And now, like so many of you, I continue to wait for my turn. I have been very private with my journey in real life, but I feel thankful to have found support within this community.

Kristen G., CO