This post is in partnership with CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine) Fertility (#CCRMFertility). All views expressed are my own.
CCRM Fertility has provided me with the unique opportunity of sharing my story of infertility as a way to spark conversation about a topic that is still brushed under the rug. As explained later in this piece, I felt shame, embarrassment, and guilt when I was diagnosed with infertility. Above all, I felt painfully alone. It is my intention and that of CCRM that we open up the discussion in order to empower others to be proactive about their fertility and research all options sooner rather than later. No one should feel alone in this.
The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine or CCRM Fertility
Before I tell my IVF story, I want to introduce CCRM Fertility to those that aren’t familiar with them. CCRM is a leading pioneer in fertility research and treatment and delivers some of the highest IVF success rates in the industry. Unlike many other fertility clinics that outsource their specialists and testing needs, CCRM leverages its own data, as well as a dedicated team of in-house reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists, and geneticists in order to deliver consistent, successful results.
I first heard of CCRM when I was watching Giuliana Rancic on her TV show, “Giuliana and Bill”. Giuliana and her husband, Bill, experienced infertility and I am so grateful to them for using their platform to bring awareness to the ups and downs of fertility treatments. Giuliana was traveling from LA to CCRM in Colorado for treatment. Since then, CCRM has expanded to nineteen locations in eleven cities across the U.S. and Canada. CCRM has such an impeccable reputation and I am honored to work alongside them!
Growing up, my dream was to one day have a family of my own. I loved playing “house” and I had it all planned out. I’d get married and enjoy a successful start to my career. I’d have my first baby by age twenty-eight. I wanted three or four children: maybe two girls and two boys. Because, why not?!
Fast forward to life in my late twenties. I was engaged to be married and was planning a huge, fairytale wedding. Life was going somewhat according to my plan, but I was experiencing some health problems and a lot of pain and bleeding with my periods. I got married, had a beautiful wedding, and prepared for the next steps of family planning and getting pregnant. After a year or two of trying naturally for a baby (and one laparoscopic surgery to diagnose severe endometriosis), we landed in the office of a reproductive endocrinologist. A reproductive endocrinologist, also known as an RE, is an OB/GYN who specializes in managing problems related to the reproductive system.
My husband and I had some reservations before seeing the specialist. We doubted ourselves and second guessed if we tried hard enough naturally. It all felt very daunting. I also felt some shame and embarrassment at the mere mention of the word “infertility”. I remember thinking, “No one we know has gone through fertility treatments. Why us?” We may have felt alone, but we weren’t the only ones.
Did you know that one in eight couples and individuals struggle with infertility? Once I opened up about our fertility struggles, I connected with so many other individuals of all different ages who had experienced issues having a baby.
We ran blood panels and my husband had a semen analysis. I had to undergo a hysterosalpingogram or HSG to test if my fallopian tubes were blocked. All of our results came back within normal ranges. However, the HSG showed evidence of scarring and damage to my fallopian tubes likely caused by endometriosis. At this point, our RE recommended IVF. He felt that due to our young age and the likelihood of the endometriosis affecting my fallopian tubes, we were excellent candidates for IVF.
IVF seemed like such a huge step, and I was nervous and scared. Thinking back on that time, I am so thankful that I didn’t let my fear of the unknown stop me from trying IVF. Our infertility story is a little different from others in that we were fairly young when we stepped foot in the fertility clinic, but I feel that ended up being one of our biggest advantages in achieving IVF success. We found out later that I had pretty poor egg quality (even at age 30) and although we retrieved dozens of eggs, only a couple of eggs were viable for transfer. During our first cycle of IVF we transferred two blastocysts, but the result was negative. We took a year-long break after the first cycle to heal emotionally and save money. Our second cycle, we again transferred two blastocysts, and one took. Our daughter was born in 2014.
With one in two millennials choosing to delay starting a family, we need to have these conversations about fertility and family planning right now.
I am thankful to industry pioneer, CCRM Fertility, for recognizing the need to help couples and individuals make the most informed decisions when it comes to family planning. IVF was the right choice for our family, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the light our daughter brings to our lives every single day.