Based on personal experience — 4 years trying to get pregnant & 8 years learning about infertility — I recommend basic tips that can make dealing with this struggle more effective and efficient.
Over the course of four years, I saw 10 of the best Reproductive Endocrinologists (REIs), waited well over 300 hours in their offices, was poked in my vagina over 100 times, injected myself over 400 times with needles 1 to 4 inches long, had 350 vials of blood drawn, and managed up to 20 medications & supplements in a given month. All to pursue my dream of motherhood.
I am not alone. According to Resolve, 7 million US women face infertility. In these modern times, women are waiting longer and longer to have children, where, according to the CDC, now more women in their 30s are having babies than in their 20s. Sadly, many try to conceive (TTC) for three years before seeking help, and data reveals that, as of 2012, the median age for IVF was 35, where it took an average of four years for her to get pregnant. And we know fertility declines with age, and steeply so after the age of 35.
So what can you, your friend, your colleague, or your sister do?
Ask questions. Gone are the days of “doctor is God.” While doctors are professionally trained and extremely knowledgeable, they are also human. Additionally, our current healthcare environment limits the amount of time doctors can spend with us. Add to that, the constant change within the space of infertility makes it impossible to keep up with all trends. (I learned at a recent conference that there are over 25,000 published papers just on infertility!) And most important, no one knows you better than you!Don’t isolate. Whether you confide in a friend, join a Resolve community support group, or sign up for a Facebook community, build your network. Remember, just because you join, you don’t have to divulge every detail, or any at all. You can learn a lot by just listening and observing.
Know the basics. Did you know that basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical fluid can be monitored and charted throughout your cycle, helping you better understand your body? Taking Charge of Your Fertility is like the Wikipedia for infertility and explains how your body clock works and what your personal chart tells you about your body. Admittedly, I learned about all of this at the age of 35! Why don’t they teach this to us in school? (That is for a different post.)