Infertility on Mother’s Day is Hard

Infertility on mother's day

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#NIAW Infertility Awareness Week on Instagram: Fantastic!

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week #NIAW this week, April 20-26th, and something FANTASTIC is happening.  The #NIAW photos on Instagram have been personal, real, and have moved me to tears.  Here is a sampling.  Amazing.  Tell me your story at and I’ll post it here  on my blog.  We can teach the world together about the struggles of infertility.





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5 Tips for National Infertility Awareness Week. (Tip 1: Tell Your Story.)

As a professional member of Resolve, I am commemorating the 25th National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW) from April 20th-26, 2014. The goal of #NIAW is to raise awareness about the disease of infertility and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health.

Join the movement.  For 25 years, Resolve  has been bringing infertility out of the shadows, to help good people who are struggling to build their families.  Here are five tips for getting through infertility:

Tip 1:  Tell your story.

Keeping the secret of infertility makes you feel crummy and isolated.  This isn’t your fault.  One in 8 straight couples struggle with infertility.  Gay couples struggle with infertility, too.  Tell others your story and ask others for their empathy, not their advice.  Look at blogs about infertility and write your own.  You’ll feel better and you might help someone else, as well.

Tip 2:  Don’t panic. 

You can figure this out with help.  Talk with your OB/GYN and an infertility specialist as soon as possible about testing for you and your partner.  If your intuition tells you that something is wrong, don’t wait.  Maximize your opportunities, even it if costs you some money.  You don’t want to look back and have regrets.

Tip 3:  Resolve to know more about all of your family building options.  

I know that a baby from your and your partner’s genes is Plan A.  I support you in that.  But if that is not bringing you the baby you yearn for. learn about your options.  Look at IUIs (intrauterine inseminations), IVF (in-vitro fertilization), donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos, surrogacy, and adoption.  Many people have found resolution and happy parenting by opening their minds and hearts.  Be open to possibilities.

Tip 4: Talk with a qualified mental health professional who is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.  

Did you know that women going through infertility treatment experience the same rates of depression and anxiety as women going through cancer treatment?  Make sure you that you see a mental health professional who has a better question than, “Are you sad?!”  As a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Mental Health Professional Group, I specialize in infertility and its treatment.   I understand infertility medications and procedures and can help you get through this with excellent understanding and some pride in yourself. And bring in your partner.  Things go best when you take the journey together.

Tip 5: Know that you will get through infertility.  I promise.

I have seen thousands of couples and single women who have made it through infertility successfully and started the families they have always wanted.  You can, too.  It will take some grit, time, and effort but you will be happy that you took the journey.  Get started!  Keep your head up!

Good luck!  I’m here for you.  What other tips have been helpful to you that I can share with others?

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I hope that 2014 will be a year of growth and change for you.  Toward that toward goal, I offer you a loving challenge:

If this was going to be the last year of your life, what would you do differently?

Growth and change can be a challenge for many.  Many of you may fear change, all the while wishing desperately that something (or someone) would change.  Here’s a secret:

You are the most powerful agent of change in your life.  Stop waiting for the other person to change.

Change is happening all the time in your mind and body. With every inhale and every exhale, you experience change, whether you are aware of it or not.  The different thoughts that float through your mind are a constant demonstration of change as well.

So how do we challenge ourselves to change?  Through action, that’s how.  We witnessed a terrific example in 2013. Through his actions, Pope Francis reawakened the possibility that people can be kind and helpful to one another, rather than shaming and judging others.  Big “Like”, Il Papa, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

By settling or holding back and not exploring every possibility in your life, you incur an opportunity cost.  An opportunity cost is what you give up when you decide not to take an action that might bring you to a desired outcome.  An opportunity cost is expressed in relative price, that is, the price of one choice relative to the price of another.

Here is an example.  If you are near or older than 40 and you have been receiving fertility treatment at your OB/GYN office—because it’s cheaper, because it’s covered by insurance, because you’re not quite ready to move to IVF or donor eggs, or because you are in denial about the ticking time bomb that is your biological clock—what are your opportunity costs? You are losing time and possibly your chance to have a genetic or biological child.  Explore every opportunity and run to a fertility clinic, even if it costs you money.  So many people in my office have cried tears of resentment and sorrow because they have waited too long to maximize their opportunity to conceive.

Here is another example.  Let’s say that your relationship is fair to middling. It’s not great but it’s not awful. Just there.  Perhaps you are too afraid to even think about what change might look like.  By complaining but not doing anything about it, what is your opportunity cost? By refusing couples therapy to improve your relationship or discernment counseling to end it in a way that is not destructive to either party.  Dreaming big dreams about change is great. Action is what gets you there.

And here’s another example. One party is desperate to raise a child and is ready to attempt pregnancy naturally or to go to a fertility clinic. The other is ambivalent and just puts off discussion.  The opportunity cost to the party who is waiting (and waiting and waiting) for discussion is time and helplessness.  Again, the biological clock really does have a shelf life. The ambivalent party, by not willing to engage in discussion, has made a decision for both of them. The opportunity is to engage me or another good therapist and quickly. The one who is willing to go to the therapist is the one who is willing to grow.

Okay, hang in there with me for one more example.  How willing are you to change your thoughts and habits about food?  Let me say that I am not a believer in diets.  We are talking about your life over the long term.  If you are considering bariatric (i.e., weight loss) surgery, how are you willing to change how you eat NOW?  If you are not willing to change your thinking and habits NOW, the bariatric surgery will be a waste of time.  I have written previously about eating for fertility.  How you eat–and I mean this for women and men–can make a big difference in your ability to conceive and stay pregnant.  Take a look at Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Your Fertility and I Can’t Get Pregnant! for more information on how to enhance your fertility and stay pregnant.

So consider the following questions in the weeks ahead and share them with others:

•    How will you grow in 2014?
•    How can you make your life different and better?
•    What changes need to be made?
•    How will you address your fears?
•    What are you settling for?
•    What are you waiting for?
•    How can you make your relationship more of a treasure?
•    When will you go to the adoption seminar?
•    When will you make an appointment at the fertility clinic?
•    How will you change the way you eat?
•    How will you find different or better work?

For some of you, the message might be a “Do Something New”.  For others of you, the message might be “Slow Down and Move with Intention.”  (You can read my earlier blog post, Moving With Intention, here.)   Either way, I challenge you, lovingly, to grow and change.

Take the bull by the horns.  If you’re nervous about getting too close to the bull, examine your internal bull**** instead.  You know what I’m talking about, friends.  It is the stories you tell yourself that keep you stuck.  Edit or write new stories.  Move it and move on!

Be curious.  We learn best when we are curious about something or when a situation is new.

Lose your fear of social media.  You can go where no man has gone boldly before.  Also go where people are already.  Connect and reconnect more with others in the year ahead.

In 2014, I send my every good wish for those of you who are building your family through fertility treatment, adoption, or the old-fashioned way.

I wish you a better relationship, with yourself and others.

Treasure your relationships.  You and your loved ones matter.

And most of all, I wish you courage, happiness, good health, and prosperity in 2014.  Happy New Year!


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Frozen Donor Eggs Are Making Dreams Come True

I am seeing more and more Intended Parents who are using frozen donor eggs. I’ll be writing a blog post soon about the pros and cons of using frozen donor eggs.

In the meantime, here’s a good story about successes with frozen donor eggs through Boston IVF and Donor Egg Bank USA.  It’s called A Family for the Holidays:  Woman Becomes Mother Through Frozen Donor Egg.


A Family for the Holidays: Woman Becomes Mother Through Frozen Donor Egg

Holly Dickey Enjoys First Holiday Season With Her Daughter After a Long Journey Through Infertility and Successful Pregnancy With Donor Egg Bank USA  and Boston IVF

BOSTON, Dec. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Holly Dickey knew she wanted to be a mother at age 26. At age 40 she decided to become a single mother, but no fertility treatments resulted in pregnancy. After meeting the love of her life, they decided to build a family together. Holly experienced four pregnancies, three times by in vitro fertilization and once naturally, but all ended in miscarriage.

After learning about frozen donor egg, Holly gave fertility treatment one last try. Working with Dr. Brian Berger at Boston IVF, Holly combined frozen donor eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA with her partner’s sperm, and transferred two embryos to her uterus. Nine months later she had the baby of her dreams at age 47. Ashley, now seven months old, brings Holly joy each and every day.

“Everything about her is so wonderful,” explains Holly. “She is the light of my life. She makes every minute worth living.”

Heidi Hayes, CEO of Donor Egg Bank USA, had a similar journey to motherhood. Over the course of four years, she completed a combination of nine IVF and frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles. After Heidi and her husband tried donor egg, she became pregnant on the first try with twins.

Donor Egg Bank USA is a national frozen donor egg bank who has partnered with Boston IVF. Donor Egg Bank USA is currently partnered with more than 150 of the leading fertility specialists in the country.

“I was confident that Holly would achieve her dream of parenthood using frozen donor eggs,” explains reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Brian Berger with Boston IVF. “By using frozen donor eggs, Holly was able to pursue treatment at a lower cost and start her treatment cycle more quickly.”

While a traditional (fresh) donor egg IVF cycle can cost $25,000-$45,000, a frozen donor egg IVF Single Cycle is half the cost.

Patients can obtain frozen donor eggs and complete an IVF cycle in as little as one to three months from the time the egg donor is selected. The traditional fresh donation process can take three to six months. In the past, working with a (fresh) egg donor was the only option for patients unable to produce their own viable eggs.

Patients have access to a national donor database of young women with a range of characteristics such as physical traits, ethnicity, education level and more.

Patients using frozen eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA are offered two options, a Single Cycle and a refund guarantee through the 100% Assured Refund Plan if the delivery of a baby is not achieved.

Boston IVF
Boston IVF is a leading center for cutting-edge reproductive technologies and exceptional patient care. With more than 30,000 babies born since 1986 and 12 locations throughout New England, Boston IVF is considered one of America’s most experienced fertility centers. Boston IVF is committed to caring for each patient as an individual, offering the highest quality of personalized care. Boston IVF is a national leader in research. All Boston IVF physicians are on staff at Harvard Medical School. For more information, see or call 888-300-2483.

Donor Egg Bank USA is a frozen donor egg program developed through the collaboration of more than 150 of the country’s top reproductive specialists and available at more than 60 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Donor Egg Bank USA offers immediate access to a broad donor egg pool and uses advanced freezing technology to produce success rates similar to traditional (fresh) donor egg programs. Using frozen eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA requires less time than a fresh donor egg cycle (1-3 months versus 3-6 months in a traditional cycle), and is more affordable. Donor Egg Bank USA offers the financial security of a 100% Assured Refund Plan™ if a couple does not deliver a baby. Donor Egg Bank USA offers frozen egg fertility options to couples nationally and across the globe. For more information:, 855-344-2265.



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