“When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.” – Carol Burnett
Many words describe what it feels like to struggle with fertility issues: sadness, frustration, anger, defeat, hope, loss, grief, anxiety, longing, and more. However, none of these words will ever truly convey the toll infertility takes on a person’s soul. Infertility affects so many individuals and couples across the world, and yet, the topic is still very much taboo. Perhaps this is because people do not like talking about their hardships, or maybe it is because a well-meaning relative once said something like, “You are so lucky. You don’t know how hard it is to wake up every two hours to feed a baby.” or “Why don’t you adopt? There are lots of children who need a home!”
The reasons for the silence are understandable. Society makes women feel ashamed about infertility, healthcare systems routinely fail women of color, and complicated emotions don’t make for “Instagram worthy” content. However, this year as Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, bravely shared her secondary infertility story, she opened the door for others to share their losses (and their triumphs too).
Here Is Our List Of The Most Inspirational Fertility Journeys Of 2020:
Joshua and Cassady Knight of South Carolina were not unlike most newly married American couples; they wanted to try for a baby to complete their family. After months of trying and several doctor’s visits, the Knight’s discovered that they suffered from fertility problems. The couple and their medical team decided that IVF was the best path for them to conceive.
With shots morning and night, Cassady wondered if the process would be worth it in the end. Their daughter, Millie Claire Knight, was born two years after they began the IVF process.
“When asked if all of the pain and struggle was worth it, Cassady said she would do it over and over just to have her baby.”
Alameda actor Millie Brooks chronicled her infertility journey on her podcast, “Me, Myself and Millie,” with the humor and honesty that often comes to those who have experienced intense pain and come out the other side. Millie interviews IVF warriors, intended parents, and more while injecting her own life experiences into each episode masterfully. Now, the most exciting episode of her life begins: She is now pregnant and expecting a baby later this year.
In her own words, “I can’t wait to teach my kids the things I wish somebody had taught me.”
In 2010, Seiko Noda, a Japanese politician, gave birth to a child at age 50 through artificial insemination after struggling with infertility treatment. Her pregnancy was met with skepticism and catalyzed a larger conversation around infertility treatment options in Japan. Over a decade later, Japan’s government is looking into health reforms and reducing infertility treatment costs. Thank you, Seiko, for forging the path for other individuals and couples in Japan.
“What bothered me is that especially in the initial stage (of the therapy), I wasn’t even able to say it out loud that I was going through (infertility treatment), and I felt as if I were doing something you just don’t tell people about.”
When we think of infertility, we often think of it as a female “problem,” which is a massive disservice to the infertility community. Male factor infertility isn’t spoken about very much, and that is something Brian Mazza hopes to change.
After discovering his fertility issues, Brian felt confused, embarrassed, and depressed. He hid his struggle from his family and friends for a long time. After two successful rounds of IVF, brian and his wife now have two beautiful boys! Brian hopes that other men will feel less ashamed about their male factor infertility by sharing his story.
“Once I gathered up enough confidence to speak about my issues and go public with our journey, it was shocking how many messages I received from men about infertility. This was the moment I realized the sheer number of guys who were dealing with the same reality as me, and they were keeping it bottled up.”
Nascar driver Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha Busch have struggled with infertility for about seven years now, and the toll it has taken on their marriage isn’t insignificant. After a miscarriage and a failed IVF attempt, Samantha often wondered if their marriage would withstand the pain and frustration infertility brings. Samantha decided to channel her emotions into a book titled “Fighting Infertility,” which discusses her own journey and what she wishes someone would have told her during her journey.
“The book tells everything I would have wanted someone to tell me,” explains Samantha. “I would have wanted to know what your sex life becomes when you are struggling. I would have wanted to know how hard marriage can be when you’re both grieving something you can’t even process yet. I hope people will see all that Kyle and I got wrong so that they can avoid some of those things. If we sugarcoat it, that doesn’t help anyone.
Unfortunately, many US couples struggle to conceive, and infertility rates have increased across the board. While couples may seek medical help in the form of fertility treatments, IUI, IVF, egg and sperm donation, egg freezing, and surrogacy, these treatments are costly and come with no guarantee of a successful pregnancy.
At The Gift of Parenthood organization, we look forward to a future of more affordable and successful fertility treatment options for those struggling. In the meantime, we aim to help couples and individuals struggling with infertility achieve their dreams of becoming parents through fertility assistance grants ranging from $1,000 to $16,000, available four times a year.
Will you be our next grant recipient? Apply today.
We hope you find solace in these stories. Our community is full of warriors, and together we will bring hope and awareness to others struggling to conceive. Wishing you well in 2021!