Episode 88: Hilariously Infertile: Infertility Unfiltered
Dealing with infertility comes with an abundance of raw and painful emotions. It’s ok to cry after an especially difficult appointment and it’s not uncommon to feel discouraged. While infertility itself isn’t funny, one way that we take control of stress and sadness is through humor.
Karen Jeffries is the founder of Hilariously Infertile. This includes very honest, witty, and perfectly inappropriate accounts of her own infertility through her book and blog, and meme pages surrounding the subject.
At 29, Karen was diagnosed with PCOS after 6 months of inability to conceive naturally. Although the news inevitably sparked sadness, this is when she started to pick up on funny little details during her appointments. The way her doctor called her husband’s sperm sample a “donation” and explained how the lab “cleans and buffs” the sperm like it was at a spa, Karen couldn’t help but laugh.
She eventually conceived two beautiful girls through IUI and IVF. While on maternity leave with her second child, her husband suggested she write a book. Luckily, for all of us, Karen decided to share her story and she continues to unite and help women by spotlighting the comedy of a shared situation.
Join us to hear how Karen overcame her struggles and created a loyal following with her unfiltered humor.
Guests: Karen Jeffries, author of the Hilariously Infertile book and affiliated brand
Host: Dan Bulger
Need a good laugh? Follow Hilariously Infertile on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and click here to check out Karen’s website and blog.
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources.
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Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some highlights from this episode:
It’s Not as Easy as it Seems
Karen Jeffries: Month after month after month, I wasn’t getting my period. And every single month I thought I was pregnant because I didn’t actually know that much about trying to conceive. I didn’t know about ovulation. I never had to learn that stuff. I was always on the pill. So, I just knew what they taught you in seventh grade Sex Ed which is if you have unprotected sex and you don’t get your period, you’re pregnant. So, every month I was like, ‘I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant!’ and I was never once pregnant. After about six months of that I went to my OBGYN and I said, ‘this is totally normal, right?’ and she said, ‘No... This is not normal.’
Why IUI before IVF?
Dan Bulger: IUI carries national success rates between 5 and 15%. Success rates depend on a few factors. Primarily, the likelihood of success is related to age, but there are other factors as well. This means that in the best-case scenario, the chances of success with IUI are still significantly low at 15%. This is why so many people end up moving to IVF. IVF can carry much higher success rates from closer to 50%, all the way up to 65, or even 70%. So, you may wonder why so many people end up doing many rounds of IUI before they get to IVF. And the answer is, in many cases, simply a financial one. IUI is much more affordable than IVF. Many people have coverage for IUI and don’t have coverage for IVF.
Finding Humor in Difficult Situations
Karen Jeffries: [The doctor] was explaining the IUI process and he explained, ‘when your blood and egg levels are starting to look to be the right size and the right levels, you will come in and your husband will give his donation.’ And I remember… it was really funny, the code word for giving us a sperm sample, I found that hilarious. And then the doctor said, ‘then we have a lab on site that will clean and buff his sperm.’ And I remember looking at my husband, almost white knuckling, it was just so funny.. And it was really weird for me because I was so emotional and kind of irrational about everything with all the news I was getting. At the same time, I was like, is this guy for real? This is a hilarious, I couldn’t handle it. I remember leaving his office and looking at my husband saying, ‘how come your sperm gets to go to the spa and I get the ultrasound wand every day?’
Karen Jeffries: I post funny, inappropriate memes. Whether it’s about the fertility clinic or anything about a menstrual cycle period, men giving their sperm donation, about having a rough day, a rough week, losing your mind on someone telling you to relax, baby shower invites and gender announcements and pregnancy announcements and gender reveals and all that stuff like that. Those are the funny things that I post about. And my whole mission with Hilariously Infertile is if someone is having a bad day, and going to treatment, or coming from treatments, or just got bad news, and they open up their phone, and they see my content, and it makes them laugh or cracked a smile, then that’s my goal.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Karen Jeffries is a fourth grade dual language teacher outside of New York City. She does not consider herself a writer by trade, but she did write a hilarious book about infertility, which she has been sharing with her followers for years. Karen is infertile and funny! This combination is equal parts unlikely and spectacular. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family and apply numerous layers of face cream, due to her recent realization that she is on the slippery slope to forty years old. More than anything, Karen hopes to help other women through their infertility treatments, one laugh at a time.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Andy G Cohen
Track: A Perceptible Shift
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Sad Marimba Planet
Track: Secret to Growing
Artist: Doctor Turtle
Track: Wherever I lay my hat is my wife
Artist: Brylie Christopher Oxley
Track: Heavenly Motion URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/
Artist: Kai Engel
Track: Holiday Gift
Artist: Steve Combs
Track: A Vital Piece of Music for All Your Soundtrack Needs
Artist: Soft and Furious
Track: Melancholic Ending