Episode 40: Infertility in the Military: Secondary Infertility and Traveling for IVF
It can be hard to balance a demanding workplace with a goal of family building, especially for active service members. If the first step to having a baby for many is timed intercourse, how do you manage this if you are in the military and have no time for intercourse?
In today’s episode, we’ll hear from Staff Sergeant Helena Giammarco who plays the French Horn in the United States Airforce Band. Helena and her husband had no trouble conceiving their first child, but when they tried for a second, they faced roadblock after roadblock. This dilemma is called secondary infertility, when a woman is unable to get pregnant after previously giving birth to a baby, and it often comes as a surprise.
Although age plays a significant factor in secondary infertility, as you are naturally older when you are trying for a second child, the nature of Helena’s work in the military made it increasingly more difficult. Helena shares what it was like enduring multiple rounds of IUI and dealing with the emotional trauma of multiple miscarriages, all while constantly being on the road for her job. She also depicts the challenge of having to travel back and forth between states in order to receive IVF treatment at a military clinic.
In this episode, we learn a little about what it’s like to experience infertility in the military, and how organizations like Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) are advocating for service women like Helena, both past, present, and future.
Guest: Helena Giammarco, Staff Sergeant in the US Airforce
Host: Jasmine Villa, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny
If you want to hear more, here are a few episodes we’ve released on infertility in the military:
Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility.
Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jasmine has always been passionate about patient care and has eight years of healthcare experience. Jasmine’s passion and curiosity for the world around her is why she is a self-proclaimed “lifelong learner” and “answer seeker.” She is known in her community as a fierce advocate for all people, fighting tirelessly for the right to better healthcare. It brings Jasmine great joy to be part of a life-changing organization that helps to build families.
Helena started her military career in the United States Navy in 2004. She played in and soloed with the Pacific Fleet Navy Band at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii until 2008. She joined the Air Force in 2013 and is currently a member of the Air Force Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base. She is married to Michael Kelly, clarinetist and educator, and they enjoy living in Illinois with their son Copland and turtle Tibby.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Title: What Have You Done
Artist: Captive Portal
Title: What Is?
Title: #1 Wish
Artist: Josh Woodward
Title: Hollow Grove Instrumental Version
Title: Private Hurricane
Title: Stars Collide Instrumental Version
Title: Under the Stairs Instrumental Version
Artist: Philipp Weigl
Title: Even when we fall