NEW YORK – Infertility Awareness Week was created to remove the stigma and barriers to people’s journey to parenthood.
The issue impacts about one in five women in the United States.
CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas explains why so many are not alone.
“I remember I had just had a failed IUI, and I think like a week later my sister announced to our family that she was pregnant with her second kid. I was obviously happy for my sister but it was also devastating,” said Katie Finn.
Finn was in the process of fertility treatments after being diagnosed with endometriosis, a common gynecological condition.
“I ended up having one pregnancy in 2014 that was a miscarriage,” Finn said. “Three IUI’s that didn’t work. My husband and I decided, the doctor had advised us and said ‘I think we need to do something a little more invasive,’ essentially, and do the IVF,” Finn said.
Infertility is defined as being unable to conceive a child naturally for one year for women under 35 years old – or after six months for those over 35. But it’s not just a woman’s issue.
“About 40% of the time infertility is caused by something wrong with the woman. About 40% of the time it’s something wrong with the man. About 10% of the time it’s something with both of them. And about 10% of the time you just can’t find anything wrong,” said Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg of RMA Long Island IVF.
Fertility treatments are not always covered by insurance and can cost more than $10,000 each. The process can also feel isolating.
“I know how dark that spot is and you can spiral into a horrible black hole,” said Dr. Amy Divaraniya.
Divaraniya is the founder of Oova, an at-home test that monitors fertility hormones. She also established an anonymous hotline, where those on their journey to parenthood could vent, and get a response without judgment.
“Everything from ‘I have a super annoying aunt that I don’t want to see’ to ‘I found out today that I had a miscarriage,'” Divaraniya said.
Finn kept the details of her journey to a small circle, and for her, IVF worked.
“I wanted a chance to get into the batter’s box, and if I struck out that was OK. But I was at least going to get into the batter’s box and take my swings,” Finn said. “I call my daughter my million to one because, odds-wise, she really was.”
Now little Bridgette is 5.
Wednesday night, the Empire State Building will be lit in Orange in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week.
To contact the Oova hotline, call 1-866-824-3884