Monthly Archives: February 2012

Infertility Grass Roots and News

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Several years ago my wife was on bed rest for eight months after a bleed occurred shortly after an IVF cycle. My wife’s family lived seven hours away and I worked as many as twelve hours a day. She had a laptop but did nothing on any social network. She did not have an I Pad or a Nook only a book and TV. She did not have any friends who had been through the infertility process. I turned our bedroom into a pseudo hotel room with a fridge and snacks galore. She was by herself a lot. I can only imagine where her mind wandered sometimes.

After our daughter was born my wife discovered Facebook. I wrote a book called “The Longest Love Letter”. It tells our story with infertility. I used Facebook to help get the story out to the public. I discovered several support pages including my favorites Resolve, Attain Fertility, and 999 Reasons To Laugh At Infertility. I have always wanted to pay back to the community our experiences. I started a new blog that is dedicated to Assisted Conception called Sunshine Dreams and Hope.

Recently I have read about so many things that affect the Assisted Conception Community. I thought it would be wonderful if there were one place these things could be shared and found. It is very important that it is a true community page where bloggers and news come together to give people a place to discover they are not alone. I want people to post things on the page wall that can benefit others. I want people to get another perspective here too. It is not for any profit. My wife would have felt better if she had a place she could go to from time to time to get information. I hope everyone will go to there discover things, add things, and feel better. It should not be considered a site that has “The Answers” because only your physician can give you that but if you read an article or blog that discusses something you never considered you may want to ask your doctor about it.

Recent stories and developments in the Assisted Conception world are Walk of Hope and The Personhood Laws. If you visit Resolve.org there is a link to Walk of Hope. Below is Resolve’s description of the event.

“RESOLVE’s 2012 Walk of Hope is a 1-mile walk that recognizes the many ways in which families are built, supports local support and programs for the 7.3 million women and men living with infertility and raises public understanding of how the disease of infertility impacts families nationwide.

The Walk of Hope is being held in several locations across the country. Funds raised from the Walk support local RESOLVE programming which includes support groups and educational events, public awareness initiatives, and advocacy efforts to ensure family building options are available to all!

The name “Walk of Hope” embodies the emotion that most people living with infertility feel. They are hopeful their dreams of family come true. Some hope to simply find a peaceful resolution to their infertility journey. A Walk of Hope is an event that represents the infertility journey—a series of small steps, each one filled with hope and a reminder that no one should walk on this journey alone.”

The Walk of Hope will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 24, 2012. Atlanta Georgia on April 28, 2012 and in Washington DC on a date to be announced this Spring. We hope to attend the DC walk. Resolve gives you the ability to create a safe page to collect donations from your friends for your team. I have used this type of page when doing the Polar Plunge and they are very easy to use.  This is a great chance to share a wonderful experience with equally wonderful people.

Another ongoing story is the “Personhood” law some states have tried to pass. Recently it made it through the House in Virginia. This law is an abortion law that inadvertently or purposely lumps IVF in with it. Personhood laws aim to declare life to begin at the earliest point of conception, basically giving the earliest form of an embryo Human Rights. There is  a provision that states that lawful assisted conception is protected but if an embryo has Human Rights any act that endangered it would possibly be unlawful. Lumping IVF and Abortion together is dangerous. Most people are afraid to debate abortion, including myself, and they may not notice or be afraid to argue Personhood because they do not want to look down the barrel of a very strong Pro Life Contingency. The facts are that IVF is about life and abortion is not so keep them separate and do not take away the ability for families to be realized with a child through IVF and other legal, regulated, and safe practices.

These stories and stories similar to it can be be found on my new Facebook page “Infertility News You Can Use”. I hope you will visit that page and like it and add to it. Let’s make this a grass-roots movement that helps everyone.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Infertility-News-You-Can-Use/168649429917070?ref=tn_tnmn

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God, Government, and IVF

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I recently read an article on a Resolve website that talked about Newt Gingrich and other politicians expressing a wish to possibly regulate some parts of IVF, which actually already has some proper regulations in place. Although the regulations they seek are unclear the center of their concern appears to center around when life begins.

Before I give my opinion I must be honest. I have an IVF child. My wife and I are veterans of fertility clinics. I believe in God. My faith, however, is personal and I would never push it on others. Few things bother me more than someone pushing their faith at me when I am clearly uncomfortable with it. When it comes to faith, to each their own. I admit my bias up front to the process.

One of the political arguments are the eggs that are frozen and what their fate is. Some politicians, often guided by their personal faith, view this as playing God and some may even view it as a form of abortion when the eggs are disposed of. Is it possible that government could regulate IVF to the point that they limit the number of eggs you can use? Could they tell a couple IVF itself is illegal? The latter may be a stretch but I think at the end of the day they just do not understand what infertility couples go through.

Infertility is not a choice it is a condition. It affects the health of marriages and the well-being of some people. The causes of infertility are true medical conditions and they sometimes rob people of the gift of having children. While I do believe and welcome government regulation that keeps patients safe at fertility clinics I do not welcome or believe that government should criticize the process of IVF on a faith-based belief that it could be a sin to create eggs and some of them possibly not be used.  Infertility patients are not participating in an action with the purpose of destroying life. They are trying to create life to the best of their ability and means. This is a truly beautiful endeavour.

It is understandable and quite acceptable that a politician is guided by their faith but they should not base their policies and regulations on their faith. I express this not only because of separation of church and state but because we are a nation of many races, opinions, and of course faiths. One politicians faith-based policy would have bias to someone somewhere.

Faith is very important to many IVF couples. It gives them the strength to move on. It bolsters couples  that may otherwise part ways under the stress. Our fertility doctors practice was created in part because of a family the doctor knew in their church. The doctor had assisted the family to have children while she was practicing at another facility and the family paid the doctor back by assisting in creating the doctors practice many years later. A shared faith helped created an institution that has help bring hundreds if not thousands of families children. I think God gave us the science of fertility medicine and practice as a gift.

Politicians have tough jobs. They must try to make everyone happy and we know that is not possible. I respect that responsibility as long as it is fair and equitable and not guided by personal faith. I expect government to make well-educated and deeply investigated investments in its people not a forced agenda.

Our IVF required a very detailed and very thought out contract with our facility that covered every aspect of the care of any remaining eggs. Our facility had a very strong respect for the sanctity of life. Families that go through the IVF process have enough stresses just trying to have a child they do not need pressure from the government added to it. They do not need to feel immoral and they certainly do not need doors closed to them.

I wish everyone in the infertility community the best of love, luck, and faith.

What Infertility Taught Me About Women

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It is simple to have kids. It really is. Man and woman go out on romantic date. Man and woman get lost in each others eyes while drinking a nice Merlot and they forgo the movie after dinner for some private sexy time. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Nine months later you both have a mini-me. A little bundle. A little ‘un. A baby. There is nothing to it right? That use to be what I thought. I never once in my life considering having a baby would be hard. I had never known any one in my 30 odd years of life that had fertility issues and IVF was more likely to be on a Lifetime special for women than a real life issue one of my friends would have to deal with. I had seen commercials for the two local fertility clinics in my area but I gave them no thought.

When I was in my early to mid 30’s my wife and I tried to have a baby. Pregnancy didn’t happen right away but I figured that it would happened soon because I am a man and there is nothing that could prevent me from being a Daddy. Finally we got pregnant. It was time to celebrate and tell the world. A week later we lost the baby. After my wife caught her breath from dealing with our loss she said we might need to go to a fertility clinic for help. I was willing to do anything and I told my wife to just tell me the when’s and where’s and I would be there. I still thought that success was just around the corner. Nearly five years later, several IUI’s, an IVF attempt, two clinics, several doctors, numerous nurses, dozens of needles, bruises, a psychic named Sylvia Brown, multiple prayers, more miscarriages, and we threw in the towel. We were done. We were broken, not financially, but emotionally. A few months passed and my wife called me from an airport. She was on her way to visit her family when she had an epiphany that she wanted to try again. She gave me little choice in the matter and I fell in line with her wishes. We did one more IVF. Before the egg extraction my the doctor told us we had well over twenty eggs, if not more. I don’t remember the exact number anymore. When we went in for the extraction there was a complication and we only got a couple of eggs. By the time they did the implant we had exactly two eggs, low odds for success. The eggs were implanted and she became pregnant. A few weeks I got a call from my wife and she was cramping and bleeding. The doctor told her to lay in bed and come to the clinic the next day. Every indication pointed toward another miscarriage. The next day we went in to get the bad news. We were stunned at the appointment because it would be the first time we saw our babies heartbeat. My wife had a sub-chorianic bleed. She spent nearly eight months on bedrest and when it was all said and done we had a beautiful little girl. She is three today.

Infertility struggles can destroy couples. The stress of the aurdous journey can lead to divorce. They can make both couples doubt themselves, each other, and their relationship. Infertility struggles made me se my wife as a warrior. She fought for the joy of becoming a parent. She overcame incredible self doubt to have a baby with me. She wanted a baby but she kept fighting more for me than her. I was ready to quit many times because I could not see her hurt the way she was. I could not see her beat herself up. She saw over all that and became not only my only love but my hero. Men are not stronger than women, no way, no how. Women are amazing. My wife is beautiful and amazing. We were lucky and I know it. I would have loved her with or without our daughter. I still right on the subject because it had such a profound affect on me. Infertility struggles solidified our relationship. I wish you all the luck and never forget to love each other.