Episode 132: #NIAW: It Takes a Village: The Importance of Support
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and this year, we’ve crafted two episodes that address the age-old truth: it takes a village. Not only does it take a village to raise a child as the saying goes, but it also often takes a village to start or grow a family, especially with an infertility diagnosis. Reproductive endocrinologists, nurses, Patient Care Advocates, managers, and HR leaders all play a crucial role in the journey, but a personal support system – friends, family, or a partner, can be the crux of someone’s village.
Earlier this week, we talked to Cristina Loughrey, a Progyny Member who underwent IVF to conceive a baby girl, and while the journey was trying on Cristina, her partner, Ian, felt the emotional hardships of infertility, too. In today’s episode, Ian details his path to parenthood, from deciding to go through treatment, navigating the Progyny fertility benefit, supporting his partner through IVF, and the emotional burden infertility can have on a couple. Although their journey was difficult, their love and mutual support carried them through a successful pregnancy and healthy birth.
Guest: Ian Armstrong, UX Manager at Dell
Host: Lissa Kline, Progyny
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources.
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
03:12 – 04:04
Ian Armstrong: Dell just recently picked up Progyny benefits, which is pretty cool. The whole time we were going through this we were using a different company, although I haven’t seen much competition for what Progyny does. It was certainly a different program and it only afforded maybe a round and a half of IVF. Compared to what Progyny does, it would have been a struggle. A lot of people within the company really fought for better fertility benefits and we got them this year. I’m excited for all my colleagues. Children were always part of my loose plan. By my 30s I was grinding away at work and living in a big city. Cristina and I met after my first marriage, and I just assumed that unless I got together with somebody quite a bit younger than me, kids were just off the table.
Having a Support System
12:04 – 13:07
Cristina Loughrey: It was so important that I had my partner on my journey with me or if you don’t have a partner just having a support person. Just keeping track of what the options are and what to go through is difficult. Finding the right provider, even a trusted provider, is tough but I was happy that one of the first calls I had was with Progyny explaining to me what all the processes were, what it meant and how many times I could try within my benefits. IVF is expensive and it makes sense because there’s so much that goes into it. I had four rounds and a transfer, and those rounds are broken down into stages. If you don’t get eggs to go to blast and that that’s one thing and there’s so much to it. It’s worth reading about or talking to Progyny or providers. That’s a big deal, to be able to talk to someone.
The Struggles Begin
14:57 – 16:25
Ian Armstrong: They tell you there’s no weight gain if you talk to the manufacturers of the drugs, but when you put them all together, there’s a lot of it. She slowly put on weight and was heavier than she’s ever been in her life despite doing regular exercise and watching her diet. She’s worried about whether she can conceive, giving herself shots every day, but my only job was to manage the medication on time, set the alarms and then be done. Then I froze all of it so you might imagine there was a bit of stress around that on my part, and not hers. Thankfully, Progyny swooped in with a cape and dropped us all a bunch of new medication. They kind of brought us back from the brink of tragedy there. We finished a round and at the end of that round, I was putting together the trigger shot. I’d loaded up a double dose and I said that’s okay, I can just give her half of this. I put all the medication in the trigger shot and then I went to apply the trigger, which had to happen at exactly one o’clock in the morning for us. As I went to push the trigger, the end on the needle cap hadn’t screwed in so the entire trigger shot, both doses went all over the kitchen floor.
Lissa oversees the Patient Care Advocates and the Provider Relations Team. She worked at Columbia University Medical Center for several years in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Involved in Patient Services and the Donor Egg Program, she loved working with patients while they underwent fertility treatment. Lissa graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.
Ian Armstrong is a UX Designer and process evangelist based in San Francisco, California. He is currently a Principal at Dell Technologies within the Digital Marketing organization, as well as an author with UX Planet.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Artist: Brylie Christopher Oxley
Track: Heavenly Motion
Artist: Philipp Weigl
Track: Western Shores
Track: No-End Ave