This is Infertility

There is nothing more fundamental to life than the urge to continue it. But while it may be the most natural thing in the world, childbirth is far from the easiest and no two fertility journeys are the same. For that reason, we are breaking from the typical podcast form. Each episode is hosted by a different voice who brings their own unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, real fertility patients, and others who are, in one way or another, experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give you a new perspective on what it’s really like to go through this journey.

Episodes

Episode 40: Infertility in the Military: Staff Sergeant Helena Giammarco

It can be hard to balance a demanding workplace with a goal of family building. If the first step to having a baby for many is timed intercourse, how do you manage when you 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. She and her husband had no trouble conceiving their first child, but when they tried for a second, they faced roadblock after roadblock. We’ll hear about Helena’s experience, and learn a little about what it’s like to be infertile in the military. Today’s host is Jasmine Villa, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny.

Episode 39: Shifting Priorities: Jenny Galluzzo

Life is filled with shifting priorities. Your focus when you were younger is a lot different than your focus now. As you enter the workforce, especially as a woman, shifting priorities doesn’t stop, and the choices get tougher. If your workplace doesn’t support your family building needs, you may need to find one that does. But after years of struggling to start your family, followed by years supporting it, can you ever reclaim the career you left behind? In this episode, we hear from Jenny Galluzzo, co-founder of The Second Shift, who struggled with infertility before having two children, and found the career she worked so hard to build was suddenly not working for her new lifestyle.  Today’s host is Janelle Branch, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny.

Episode 38: Infertility Uncovered with a Devoted Care Team: Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates

This is the last episode in our four-part series for National Infertility Awareness Week on #InfertilityUncovered. This episode is going to follow the experience of a patient who is covered by the Progyny Fertility Benefit, while taking a deep dive into an invaluable resource she found along the way, The Progyny Patient Care Advocate Team. Infertility is a disease that demands support, and today we will examine what real supportive care grounded by experience and devotion really looks like. Today’s host is Melissa Johnson, Director, National Accounts at Progyny.

Episode 37: Infertility Uncovered in the Workplace: Katherine Goldstein

This is the third episode in our four-part series for National Infertility Awareness Week on #InfertilityUncovered. Why, in 2019, are American workplaces still so bad at dealing with issues around infertility? That is the question that Katherine Goldstein, reporter and host of the podcast The Double Shift, asks in her article for Slate titled, “IVF & The Office.” Katherine has been researching and writing about issues relating to women and the workplace for years now, and when she turned her attention to infertility and the workplace she found herself with more questions than answers. In this episode Katherine uncovers what she’s learned while researching her article, the advice she has for women, and what workplaces can do to address these shortcomings. Today’s host is Cassandra Pratt, VP of People at Progyny.

Episode 36: Infertility Uncovered When Limited Benefits Fall Short: Wajmah Yaqubi

This is the second episode in our four-part series for National Infertility Awareness Week on #InfertilityUncovered. If a fertility benefit is offered, but there are no providers who accept it, is it really a benefit at all? In this episode we from Wajmah Yaqubi who found herself asking that very question when she researched her employer’s fertility benefit. Wajmah is still trying to conceive, and she’s doing it with very little coverage for her fertility treatments that she needs. Today’s host is Brandi Guthrie, Provider Account Manager at Progyny.

Episode 35:Infertility Uncovered in Front of Cameras: Jamie Stelter

National Infertility Awareness Week falls on 4/21 – 4/27 and this year’s theme from RESOLVE is #InfertilityUncovered. For this week, we’re doing a four-part series on what it’s like to truly uncover the world of infertility. The first episode is with Jamie Stelter, the morning transit and traffic reporter for NY1 and a co-host with Pat Kiernan on Morning’s on 1. She’s been smiling on TV for so long that many who watch her feel like they know her, but of course, we don’t really know what’s going on in people’s lives… not until they tell us. In today’s episode Jamie shares her infertility journey, what she’s learned, and uncovers why she has decided to become a vocal infertility advocate spreading her message on social media and on-air. Today’s host is Julie Hunt, Manager of Business Development at Progyny.

Episode 34: Samantha Busch: Transforming Pain into Bundles of Joy

Samantha Busch is the wife of NASCAR champion Kyle Busch. After utilizing IVF to conceive their son, Brexton, Samantha recently experienced a pregnancy loss when trying IVF for a second child. Today, we’re going to learn how she got here, what she’s learned along the way, and how she’s transforming her own pain into something more like joy –  bundles of it! She co-founded Samantha & Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund which provides grants to those who are struggling to afford fertility treatment in the Charlotte area. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Member and Provider Services at Progyny.

Episode 33: Endometriosis & Education: Nancy’s Nook

Being diagnosed with endometriosis is just the first step and now you’re left with more questions than answers. So what do you do? You start searching on the internet and you’re flooded with information. How could you possibly sort through it all? Well, there’s a special Facebook group called Nancy’s Nook that offers education around endometriosis to its 57,000 members. It’s such a trusted and authoritative group that even doctors refer patients to it. In the fourth and final episode of our special endometriosis series we hear from Donna Laux, one of the key administrators for the group, on how Nancy’s Nook was created and how it’s helped thousands of women. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 32: Endometriosis & Activism: Endo What?

On the surface today’s episode is about two women. One, Shannon Cohn, an award-winning filmmaker, attorney, and activist, and the other, Mary Alice Hatch, an endometriosis and women’s health advocate. But it’s really an episode about almost 200 million women – that’s the estimated number of women who suffer from endometriosis in the world. Shannon and Mary Alice are co-founders of an endometriosis awareness organization called Endo What? In the third episode of our special Endo series, we hear how this organization was created, and how they’re changing the way we talk about endometriosis. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 31: Endometriosis & IVF After Being Diagnosed: Amanda Lesesne: Part 2

This is the second episode in our four-part series on endometriosis and we’ve broken this episode into two parts. After paying out of pocket for four unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Amanda Lesesne had an exploratory laparoscopy which revealed grade three endometriosis. She had the endometriosis tissue removed and decided to try IVF for the fifth time. This time she entered the process with renewed hope, a new financial situation (she now has Progyny Fertility Benefits), and an audio recorder. In part two, we follow Amanda in real time as she experiences her fifth cycle of IVF. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 31: Endometriosis & IVF Before Being Diagnosed: Amanda Lesesne: Part 1

This is the second episode in our four-part series on endometriosis and we’ve broken this episode into two parts. Amanda Lesesne went through four rounds of IVF before she was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease she had never really heard of, but one that explained a lot of the symptoms she had experienced since she was a teenager. In part one, we will hear about Amanda’s past, what it was like to have to pay for multiple rounds of IVF, and how she finally came to have laparoscopic surgery for her endometriosis. Amanda will also discuss her decision to try IVF for the fifth time, and what she expects to be different now that she has dealt with her endometriosis and has the Progyny Fertility Benefit. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 30: Endometriosis & Infertility: Jessica Smith-Payne

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month! Endometriosis is a common, often painful, hard to diagnose condition, and it can affect a woman’s fertility. For this month, we’re doing a four-part series on this disease. In the first episode, we hear from Jessica Smith-Payne who experienced pain since she was a teenager. She tried to live a normal life but everything changed when she tried to get pregnant. We also hear from Dr. Kaylen Silverberg, a reproductive endocrinologist with Texas Fertility Center, who dives into how endometriosis is diagnosed, treatment options and how women can build the family of their dreams. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 29: The Two-Week Wait: Surviving, Coping, and Finding Support

The two-week wait is a term used to describe the period of time in between a treatment cycle and the first blood pregnancy test. It can be a stressful time. In today’s episode Lissa Kline, a licensed clinical social worker, and Dr. Georgia Witkin, a clinical psychologist, sit down to discuss some survival and coping methods that can help alleviate some of the stress of waiting, and some ideas for how partners of those who’ve undergone treatment can better offer support during this critical time. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 28: Lynn & Drew Polin: IVF, Persistence, and Paying it Forward

When you fall down, you get back up again. That’s an old saying. It’s a lesson in persistence, and it can be applied to all aspects of life. But it’s not always easy to just get back up, especially if you are struggling with infertility. Today we’re going to learn the power of persistence through Lynn and Drew Polin’s fertility journey. They went through multiple rounds of IVF, and a life-threatening pregnancy to have a baby. But they found out that this was just the beginning of their fertility journey when they started trying for baby number two. Today’s host is Jaime Ford, Claims and Billing Specialist at Progyny.

Episode 27: Becoming a Single Parent by Choice

Choice can really make all the difference. Tania always wanted to be a mother but realized she was running out of time. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands and through her journey connected with a community of like-minded women called Single Mother’s by Choice. In this episode, we hear about Tania’s decision and journey to becoming a single parent by choice. We also hear about the importance of having a community and what it takes to run one. Today’s host is Melissa Maldonado, Implementation Manager, at Progyny.

Episode 26: The ART of Infertility: Where Art Meets Advocacy

Unless you’ve been through an identical experience it can be difficult to understand what it’s really like for those who are struggling to build their families. But what if there was a place where people could communicate their personal stories of infertility in a way that others could truly understand? The ART of Infertility, founded in 2014, curates innovative and emotionally provoking art exhibits to portray the realities, pains and joys of living with infertility. Today we hear from its founders, Elizabeth Walker and Maria Novotny, about each of their personal struggles with infertility, and how they came to create this innovative organization. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Member & Provider Services at Progyny. 

Year End Recap: This is Infertility Season 1

In 2018 we heard from some amazing people who shared their fertility stories with us. Stories of struggle, frustration, pain, sacrifice, hope, joy, and love. In this episode we look back at a season of This is Infertility, from the beginning to the end, as we try to get a true sense of what it means to build a family. Today’s host is Dan Bulger.

Episode 25: Becky Fawcett: The Miracle of Adoption

After years of trying to have a baby via fertility treatments, Becky Fawcett and her husband chose to adopt their first child. When deciding if they should try IVF for baby number two, Becky realized that adoption was now her preferred path to parenthood. The adoption process can be extremely complex and prohibitively expensive, which is why Becky founded an organization that helps bridge the financial gap for those looking to build their families through adoption: HelpUsAdopt.org. Today’s host is Dan Bulger, Producer at Progyny.

Episode 24: Laura Perez: Taking Control of Her Future

When Laura Perez turned 35, she felt like she was running out of time. She was in a long-term relationship, but her partner already had children from a previous marriage and indicated that he didn’t want to have any more kids. So, Laura took things into her own hands and froze her eggs. For Laura, freezing her eggs was an empowering process that gave her peace of mind, and it also changed the nature of her relationship with her boyfriend (now husband!) Today’s host is Selena Campbell, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 23: Heather Huhman: How She Beat Infertility

Heather Huhman and her husband struggled with infertility for years, enduring trauma after trauma, until finally they met their daughter, Aurora. But Heather wanted some good to come out of her pain, so she has dedicated herself fulltime to helping others via her twice a week podcast, Beat Infertility. In this episode we will hear about her struggle, how she got through it, and learn why she says her podcast gave her the hope and perspective she needed to carry on. Today’s host is Janelle Branch, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny.

Episode 22: Kristin Smith: Bridging Oncology and Fertility

Oncofertility Series – Part 4 of 4. Kristin Smith is the Program Manager for Fertility Preservation at Northwestern Medicine and the Oncofertility Consortium. In the final episode of our oncofertility series we hear how Kristin helps patients navigate their treatment between their oncology team and their reproductive endocrinology team. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 21: Megan Connolly: The Hope Fertility Preservation Can Bring

Oncofertility Series – Part 3 of 4. When Megan Connolly was 19, her whole world stopped, and she entered a fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer threatened not only her life, but a lifelong dream of becoming a mother. In today’s episode we hear how Megan beat cancer (twice!) and with the help of patient navigator Kristin Smith of the Oncofertility Consortium, preserved her fertility. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 20: Amanda Rice: The Barrier of Not Being Infertile…Yet

Oncofertility Series – Part 2 of 4. When Amanda Rice was diagnosed with breast cancer her doctors recommended an aggressive treatment protocol that would potentially threaten her fertility. She had some infertility health insurance but when she called the insurance company she found that they had illogical barriers that excluded her from coverage for fertility preservation. Now, a cancer survivor, Amanda has created Chick Mission, a non-profit organization relentlessly focused on critical issues unique to cancer patients – including fertility challenges that may follow after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and drug treatment. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 19: Joyce Reinecke: There Was No Checklist

Oncofertility Series – Part 1 of 4. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the subfield of medicine that bridges oncology and reproductive research to explore and expand options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors. In today’s episode, we hear from Joyce Reinecke, who survived cancer, preserved her fertility, and is now dedicated to helping others do the same through her work with the Alliance for Fertility Preservation. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 18: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Causes, Treatments, & Future

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and this is the second of two episodes dedicated to Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. In this episode Dr. Zev Williams, Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Columbia University Fertility Center, takes us on a deep dive into the causes, treatments, and even the future of this devastating condition. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 17: Emily SimpsonA Real Housewife’s Story of Loss

Emily Simpson, of the Real Housewives of Orange County, had no difficulty getting pregnant, but she did have difficulty staying pregnant. She and her husband Shane suffered 6 devastating losses before finding their way through with an extremely generous gift from Emily’s sister. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, so we are dedicating two episodes to a condition called Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. This is episode one. Today’s Host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.  

Episode 16: Jason and Alvin: Building Equity in Equality

Jason Rudman and his husband Alvin utilized a gestational surrogate to start their family, and then, two years later, utilized another one to continue their family. Along the way Jason used his voice to change his employer’s paternity leave policy and ended up helping more than just his immediate family. Today’s host is Salaia DaCruz, Sr. Account Manager at Progyny.

Episode 15: PCOS & Me: Julie Hunt

Julie Hunt had been a Patient Care Advocate for years, and in that time, she became an expert in all things related to fertility, like PCOS. How could it be that years later, at 27 years old, she discovered that she had PCOS the entire time? In the final episode of our three-part series in honor of PCOS Awareness Month, host Julie Hunt, Business Development Associate at Progyny, discusses her own experience with PCOS, and her winding road to diagnosis with her good friend and colleague Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny. Today’s Host is Julie Hunt.

Episode 14: PCOS & Awareness: Megan Stewart

When Megan Stewart, founder of the PCOS Awareness Association (PCOSAA), was told to change her outlook on her condition she decided to change the world instead. In the second of the three-part series on PCOS, we hear from Megan who tells us about a traumatic experience that drove her to create the PCOS Awareness Association, how she’s been trying to help others with PCOS, and the different events and resources available. Today’s host is Julie Hunt, Business Development Associate at Progyny.

Episode 13: PCOS & Fertility: Satoya Foster

September is PCOS Awareness Month! Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a frustrating condition that can have symptoms like weight gain, excess hair on the face, stress, anxiety, depression, and…infertility. For this month, we’re doing a three-part series on PCOS. Today we hear from Satoya Foster, Co-Founder of the PCOS Awareness Association, who tells us about when she started experiencing symptoms, her diagnosis, and her infertility struggles. Today’s host is Julie Hunt, Business Development Associate at Progyny.

Episode 12: #SaytheFword in Action: Finding Hope by Speaking Out

So many people just don’t know what to say when they find out that someone in their life is struggling with fertility. Today we hear from Jess Moran, who just started her fertility treatment journey. She has found speaking about her experience has not only helped her through this emotional and frustrating time, but it has also been her most valued resource.  Jess’s story includes Tinder, unexplained infertility, intrauterine insemination, her good friend Johanna, and what really happens when people stop worrying about awkwardness and stigma and start saying the F word. Today’s host is Selena Campbell, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 11: Matt Mira & Doree Shafrir’s Bogus Fertility Journey

It’s often crucial for people going through fertility treatments to have an outlet for their emotions. Today’s guests, Matt Mira, and Doree Shafrir have created their own outlet: their hit podcast Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure. Matt is a television writer (ABC’s The Goldbergs) and veteran podcaster, and Doree is an author (Startup), and together they share their story of male factor infertility, unexpected hurdles, and what it’s like to podcast their way through all of it. Today’s host is LaTisha Maxwell, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny.

Episode 10: Andrea Syrtash: What it Means to Be Pregnantish

Dealing with infertility can often feel like you’re living two different lives. One in public, pretending to be ok and go about life as you know it, and one behind the scenes, worrying, waiting, wondering when your dream of having a family will finally come true. Our guest came up with the perfect term that encapsulates this life in limbo: Pregnantish. Andrea Syrtash is a relationship expert, founder, and editor-in-chief of pregnantish.com, and today she’ll share her story of how she stopped focusing on getting pregnant and started focusing on becoming a parent to build the family she always wanted. Today’s host is Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny.

BONUS: Gretchen Rossi & Slade Smiley’s Quest for the Right Doctor

In the previous episode, you heard about Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley’s fertility journey. In this episode you’ll hear their hilarious story about how they finally got to their reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Mark Surrey from SCRC. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 9: Gretchen Rossi & Slade Smiley: A Second Chance

There are many reasons couples go through IVF, and for Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley they first tried IVF because of Slade’s vasectomy, a procedure that keeps the sperm from reaching the seminal fluid. While the idea seemed straight forward, the journey that followed tested their relationship and threatened to bring them to their breaking point. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 8: Lindsey & Chrissy: Better Benefits, Clearer Decisions

According to a recent study by Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ, almost 58% of people are forced to forego fertility treatment due to the anticipated financial burden. But what if your employer covered your treatment? We hear from Lindsey and Chrissy Callahan who were eager to start a family when they learned their employer-sponsored inclusive benefit would make their dream of having a child a reality. Today’s host is Manuela Henderson, Patient Care Advocate, Progyny.

Episode 7: Family Building & Equality for Same-Sex Couples

Any fertility journey can be complex, but for same-sex couples there are additional legal and political challenges that vary state by state. We hear from Trystan Reese, a transgender activist who works to ensure that every LGBTQ person has the right and ability to start their own family at Family Equality Council, and Theresa Witherspoon who, with her wife, found their family through reciprocal IVF. Today’s host is Parawana Yasmin, Patient Care Advocate, Progyny.

Episode 6: Benjie & Jimmy: Becoming Daddy and Papa

Surrogacy can allow same-sex male couples, or single men, to have a biological child by using the intended parent’s sperm with the assistance of an egg donor and gestational carrier. We hear from Benjie and Jimmy Hyde, who found themselves at a crossroads when their original egg donor was unable to produce embryos. Today’s host is Justin Alvis, Manager of Member Services, Progyny.

Episode 5: Katie & Hilary: Changing the Plan

For same-sex female couples, one of the first decisions to make when you decide to start a family is who will carry the baby. But sometimes those roles don’t turn out as planned. We hear from Katie Acosta and Hilary Smith, a couple who had worked through those details. But when their chosen path didn’t work, they embarked on a new fertility journey called reciprocal IVF. Today’s host is Melissa Maldonado, Patient Care Supervisor, Progyny.

Episode 4: Jenna’s Story: Sooner Than You’d think

Age is often the primary factor when it comes to fertility, but what happens when you encounter fertility struggles in your 20’s? We hear from Jenna Marinelli who shares her personal story of early menopause, difficult decisions, and a life without regret. Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny.

Episode 3: #SaytheFword: It’s Time to Break the Silence

Fertility is not a dirty word. In January, the next generation women’s health company Celmatix launched the #SaytheFword campaign to shine a light on the wide spread issue of infertility, and to raise money for some pretty great non-profits. Today’s host is Selena Campbell, a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. Guests include, Karin Ajmani, President at Progyny, Angie Lee, Chief Product Officer at Celmatix, Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny and millennial women in New York City.

Episode 2: Karin’s Story: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) is a heart wrenching and physically difficult challenge many women and couples face when trying to start a family. We hear from Karin Ajmani, President at Progyny, who tells us her personal struggle with RPL. Today’s host is Dr. Georgia Witkin, Clinical Psychologist, Mount Sanai, and Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny and the guest is Karin Ajmani, President at Progyny.

Episode 1: National Infertility Awareness Week

For National Infertility Awareness Week, we examine what it’s really like to be infertile in America and uncover how people can encourage companies, policy makers and health insurance companies to cover fertility treatment. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny.