Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Infertile Egg Hunt “Part One of Four”

Maybe it’s all the talk about Easter eggs or all the trees blooming and coming to life that has me contemplating my own eggs and my quest to bring another life into the world. Lately I have been mulling over some of the options that my fertility doctor recommended if my husband and I want to move forward with our wish to have another child. When more than 92% of your eggs will lead to miscarriage, the options available are limited and require a great leap of faith. Over the next few weeks I will be researching and writing in greater detail about the three options available to me and my husband at this stage in our journey.

The first option that is available to me and my husband is finding an egg donor. This option would entail the egg donor taking stimulation medications, going through an egg retrieval surgery and then allowing her eggs to be used in an in vitro fertilization where the resulting embryo would be implanted into my uterus for normal gestation. My initial reaction to this option is slight horror. “My husband’s sperm is going to be mixing with another woman’s egg?” I know there are also lot of benefits to this route. But I will be speaking to Dr. Michael Blotner MD, Medical Director of Westchester Fertility,, to learn more about this process.

The second option is embryo donation. Some couples who go through IVF end up having more embryos than they need or want. Certain people decide to destroy these embryos, others decide to donate them to scientific research, and still others, who feel that they can neither destroy nor give away their embryos, decide to put their embryos up for adoption. Couples like myself and my husband, who have a hard time creating viable embryos, can adopt these donated embryos and transfer them into the female's uterus. To learn more about this option, I will be talking to one of the leading organizations whose mission is to connect couples in need with couples who have leftover frozen embryos.

The last option open to us is adoption. There are many women in the fertility community, as well as the larger community, who have answered the call of adoption and have created their family in that way. I will be talking to Dawn Davenport, who created the nonprofit Creating a Family, , an organization providing education and support for infertility and adoption. She also wrote the book “The Complete Guide To International Adoption.”

In my heart I don’t think I am ready yet to start actively pursuing any of these options. I still am grieving our losses and our lost dream. But I am looking forward to researching egg donation, embryo donation and adoption in the next couple of weeks because I think that finding out more information is one of the first steps to seeing if any of the options are calling us to expand our family.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Come on Oprah and OWN Give Us A Voice!

Dear Oprah and The Oprah Winfrey Network,

On behalf of people struggling with infertility, I would like to suggest a concept for a brand new show on The Oprah Winfrey Network: following those on the journey of conception. You have brought countless stories to light, telling the tales of those who have overcome hardship, and it is my sincere hope that you will consider exploring the subject of infertility, so that the world will better understand the silent struggle that some people face when trying to achieve something that comes so naturally to others-- bringing a life into the world.

One in 8 couples will experience infertility. 1.1 million women will undergo fertility treatments this year. Yet, no one likes to talk about infertility. The inability to conceive a child at all, or without the help of medical treatment, is a taboo subject. In the past five years I have undergone one laparoscopic surgery, three in utero inseminations, three in vitro fertilizations and two rounds of embryo biopsies. I have suffered four miscarriages. I have lost twenty eight embryos. And yet, I still have close friends and family who have no idea what my husband and I have gone through, never mind co-workers or acquaintances. It is unreal to me that I can experience something so traumatic, consuming and debilitating without many people ever knowing about it.

From the many connections I have made through Twitter and through blogging, I know I am not alone in my feelings of helplessness and isolation. I have come across thousands of women who have heart wrenching stories that deserve to be told. Their stories comfort me, inspire me and break my heart time and time again. These are strong women who have been on unbelievable journeys.

Anyone who has struggled with infertility would deeply appreciate a show dedicated to their struggles, and all of the friends and family members of those people would certainly benefit from being educated on the topic of infertility. There are so many people who have no idea what it is like to be a part of this journey, to want more than anything to conceive a child but not be physically able to, to wonder why something so natural as reproducing can be so difficult, to grieve for the lost embryos or miscarried babies.

Many of us struggling with infertility watch shows like “Teen Mom” with a heavy heart. It is painful to hear about moms who weren’t planning their pregnancy, who feel inconvenienced by the expected child or who had huge reservations about having a baby. Those of us struggling with infertility sacrifice our physical, emotional, spiritual and financial stability to try to create life. This entails undergoing many procedures, taking many hormones and other medications, and visiting the doctor several times a week. Many couples dealing with infertility lose faith in what they believe in and at times feel utterly hopeless.

As a woman struggling with infertility, I want my voice, and the voices of all the other women struggling with reproduction, to be heard. We are tired of hiding in the dark. We hope that you and your producers read this blog entry and the stories of others at the links in the comments below. We have also set up a facebook group, . Some of these stories are funny, some are shocking, some are incredibly sad, but they all will touch your heart. These stories need to be heard!

So please Oprah, hear us! Be the first network to dedicate a show to the incredible journeys of the strong women who fight infertility for the chance at motherhood.

With Love,
Light and Happiness,