This is Infertility is a bi-weekly podcast where we fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give you a new perspective on what it’s really like to go through a family building journey. Each episode dives into the emotional, physical, and financial burdens carried by those who experience infertility on their path to parenthood. Be it IVF, IUI, egg freezing, surrogacy, adoption, etc., the path is never the same and it can be long, painful, and lonely. It’s our mission to give those struggling a platform to be heard, a community connection, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the 1 in 8 who, for many reasons, struggle with infertility.

Episodes

Episode 63: The Frustrations and Hopes of an Unfinished Fertility Journey

When experiencing something as challenging as infertility, it can be helpful to hear stories, advice, and guidance from those who have been through it. However, we usually hear from people who were successful in growing their families. But what about those who are still going through treatment, and are uncertain of where their fertility journey will lead themHow can you make it through without setting expectations of having a picture-perfect ending 

In today’s episode, we hear from Kelly Partner, who wanted to share her story while the ending was still unknown. Kelly and her husband have been trying to have a baby for over a year, which has been filled with rounds of IUImale infertility diagnosis for her husband, and multiple pregnancy lossesKelly shares the emotions, frustrations, hopes, and fears that occur during the process of trying to conceive while not knowing what the future holds.  

We also hear from Dr. Genevieve Neal-Perry, a Reproductive Endocrinologist and infertility specialist at UW Medicine, who gives us an overview of miscarriageschemical pregnancies, and breaks down the benefits of ICSI and PGT-A testing for IVF. She also discusses how long a couple should wait before trying to conceive again after having a miscarriage.   

READ MORE

Episode 62: How Uterine Fibroids Can Impact Fertility

February is Black History Month, and unfortunately, uterine fibroids have a disproportionate impact on African American women. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in or around the uterus, and while they usually cause no harm, they can have an impact on fertility.

In today’s episode, we hear from Amelia “Mimi” Brown, who shares her complex infertility journey. After a year of failing to conceive naturally, Mimi decided it was time to visit a doctor, which is when she was diagnosed with both PCOS and uterine fibroids, and her husband was diagnosed with male factor infertility.  

Over the past seven years the couple has experienced five failed rounds of IUI, multiple surgeries to remove fibroids, unsuccessful IVF embryo transfers, and devastating pregnancy losses.

Although Mimi is still on her journey, she continues to use her career as a motivational speaker and her online presence to uplift others experiencing infertility. She is also in the process of writing her upcoming book Laugh Out Loud Infertility: Stories to Crack You Up While Trying to Get Knocked Up.

We also hear from Dr. Enrique Soto, a fertility specialist from IVFMD, who explains everything we need to know about uterine fibroids, including the various types, treatment and removal options, and their impact on fertility.

READ MORE

Episode 61: Overcoming Failed Fertility Treatments: A Male’s Perspective

Infertility is a journey that is complex and emotionally challenging for anyone involved, but there tends to be a lack of focus on the feelings and emotions of male partnersIn today’s episode, we hear from Philip Schmidt, who shares his perspective on experiencing an infertility journey. 

Philip and his wife endured three years of emotional, physical, and financial challenges in their family building journey. Fortunately, everything turned around for the couple when Philip found a new job that offered comprehensive fertility coverage, allowing them to expand their family in a way they never could’ve imagined. 

We’ll learn how Philip and his wife pursued both adoption and fertility treatments and within a few months, welcomed not one but two children into their family.  

We also hear from Dr. Stephanie Gustin, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility expert at the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicinewho adds clarity to the infertility diagnosis recurrent pregnancy lossShe also shares her experience working with male partners of women going through fertility treatmenand how their emotional strain can often go overlooked. 

READ MORE

Year End Recap: This is Infertility Season 2

This was another exciting year and season for us as we continue to grow and hear from incredible people who are willing to share the complex road that is infertility.  

As a recap for season 2we reached 51,000 downloads, featured 56 guestsproduced 35 episodes (which means 35 amazing stories), and 5 special series covering endometriosisNational Infertility Awareness Weekgenetic testingPCOS, and infertility in the military. 

In this episode, we’ll dive into our top 5 five episodes for the season and the common themes we’ve found. 

We’d like to thank all of our guests and hosts this year. We couldn’t have done this without you! 

Season 3 will be back on January 20, 2020. In the interim, we’ll be re-playing our top episode from season 2 and season 1.  

Here are the top 5 episodes from season 2:  

HostDan Bulger and Selena Yang, This is Infertility Producers and Editors  

Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at thisisinfertility@progyny.com. 

Episode 59: It Takes a Village to Grow a Family

While fertility treatments have certainly become more innovative, that doesn’t mean they are any less expensive. IVF can cost anywhere from $15,000 – $20,000, and even IUI, a less invasive treatment, can cost $1,000 – $2,000. These treatments are usually not covered by insurance, leaving many individuals and couples paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

So, what’s an individual supposed to do when they can’t afford treatment? In this episode, we hear from Sharika Ramseur, who’s been struggling to have a child with her husband Gabriel for almost eight years. After seeing a number of specialists, the couple discovered that Gabriel had male factor infertility, and were recommended to try IUI – the only problem was they couldn’t afford more than one round.

Luckily, Sharika had an extremely supportive community of friends and colleagues at the hospital she worked at. We hear from Lauren and Megan, Sharika’s co-workers who fundraised almost $4,000 to help cover the costs of IUI. But even this generous gift still wasn’t enough. The couple was then told that IVF would be their best option to get pregnant, which costs a lot more than what Sharika could afford.

Once again, Sharika’s co-workers went the extra mile and applied for a grant that helps couples pay for fertility treatments. Through the help of The Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, Sharika and her husband were able to afford one round of IVF. We’ll hear Sharika’s heartwarming story of getting pregnant after a long journey of infertility and welcoming her baby girl into the world.

READ MORE

Episode 58: There’s More Than One Way to Create a Family

In today’s episode, we hear from Dawn Davenport, a leading expert in adoption, fostering, and infertility. Aside from being the Executive Director of Creating a Family, a national non-profit organization that educates and supports individuals trying to expand their family, Dawn is also the host of the top-rated radio show on adoption and infertility in the U.S. — Creating a Family: Talk about Infertility, Adoption, & Foster Care.

When Dawn began researching options for growing her family, she had a difficult time finding accurate, unbiased information online about the adoption process. Recognizing the need for a reliable source for learning about family expansion options, her online website eventually transformed into what Creating a Family is today, one of the leading providers of infertility and adoption education.

Dawn’s organization uses an unbiased approach and provides information that is both medically and emotionally accurate, so that individuals can make the decision that’s best for them, whether that means adopting, fostering or continuing their fertility journey. Their mission is to support people who are struggling to create a family, regardless of the circumstances. In this episode, we’ll learn about various types of adoption, embryo donation, and the different resources available to individuals and families.

READ MORE

Episode 57: Infertility in the Military: Specialized Care for Our Heroes

November 11th is Veteran’s Day, and in honor of this, we are rolling out three episodes to spread light on an issue that is often overlooked, dealing with infertility in the military. We will hear from those who had their own personal battles with building a family, learn how different treatment can be, but also how similar some of those struggles and challenges are.

In the third and final episode of our three-part series, we hear from Dr. Matthew Retzloff, a Reproductive Endocrinologist at the Fertility Center of San Antonio. With a history of over 300 years of military presence, San Antonio is home to one of the nation’s largest active and retired military populations.

Dr. Retzloff, who served in the U.S. Air Force for over 29 years, now sees several active service members and veterans who are experiencing infertility. In this episode, we learn about service-related injuries that can lead to infertility, factors that often limit access to care for military members, and specialized programs that are providing active and veterans access to the care they need to build their families.

READ MORE

Episode 56: Infertility in the Military: IVF in the Field

November 11th is Veteran’s Day, and in honor of this, we are rolling out three episodes to spread light on an issue that is often overlooked, dealing with infertility in the military. We will hear from those who had their own personal battles with building a family, learn how different treatment can be, but also how similar some of those struggles and challenges are.

In the second episode of our three-part series, we hear from Kerry Karwan, a retired Coast Guard Officer, and Ellen Haring, a retired Army Colonel and CEO of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), a non-profit that supports, connects, and advocates for service women; past, present, and future.

Kerry shares what it’s like to go through fertility treatment while on active duty. For her this meant on the road IVF injections, going to multiple clinics across the country, and going through all of this on her own. During her journey, she found SWAN, which connects women in the military to information, resources, and legal support. We learn how an organization like SWAN are fighting for better policies and healthcare.

READ MORE

Episode 55: Infertility in the Military: From Active Duty to Motherhood

November 11th is Veteran’s Day, and in honor of this, we are rolling out three episodes to spread light on an issue that is often overlooked, dealing with infertility in the military. We will hear from those who had their own personal battles with building a family, learn how different treatment can be, but also how similar some of those struggles and challenges are.

In the first episode of our three-part series, we hear from Rebecca Lipe, who served as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Air Force and served in Iraq. After deployment, she started her family building journey and decided to go through IVF, but things didn’t go as expected. In this episode, Rebecca shares her story of navigating fertility treatment while under military care, suffering from physically and emotionally painful pregnancy losses, and eventually giving birth to her beautiful daughter Genevieve. We’ll also learn about the importance of staying connected and finding a community while dealing with infertility, as Rebecca emphasizes, “Women in the military are the best resource for other women in the military.”

READ MORE

Episode 54: Oncofertility: Having a Fertility Benefit that Covers Fertility Preservation

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re diving into an aspect of breast cancer that’s frequently overlooked. The treatments for cancer (such as chemotherapy, radiation, and other drugs) can put fertility at risk for women in reproductive age.

One drug in particular, Tamoxifen, is taken for a number of years and helps treat and prevent breast cancer from developing. You shouldn’t try to conceive while taking Tamoxifen.

However, there’s a solution; some can take a “drug holiday” or break from medication. Typically, the break can last up to a year, meaning you shouldn’t try to conceive until a few months after using the drug. That also means there’s only a short window for someone to conceive.

People often consider fertility preservation, or egg/embryo freezing, because of the risks and time constraints while dealing with cancer. Just in case you don’t have a healthy pregnancy, fertility preservation is often seen as a safety net so you can move forward with an embryo transfer. It’s an important option to have, but unfortunately, not everyone knows about this until it’s too late.

Today’s guests, Emily Rich and Ian Schwartz, dive into what it was like for Emily to be diagnosed with breast cancer, their journey with fertility preservation, and how their fertility benefit helped them through this journey.

READ MORE

Episode 53: Miscarriage Awareness: Speaking about the Unspeakable, a Pregnancy Loss

Some experiences are extremely difficult to talk about, some are hard to even think about. These experiences are sometimes described as being unspeakable, but when nobody speaks about something it can become difficult to heal, and it can be extremely lonely. This is what happens when someone has a miscarriage – also known as a pregnancy loss.

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an early pregnancy loss is common and occurs in 10% of all clinically recognized pregnancies and approximately 80% of all cases of pregnancy loss occur within the first trimester. Regardless of the timing of the miscarriage or how many, it’s still difficult. So how do you recover emotionally after a pregnancy loss? How do you find the strength to keep trying or move forward?

In today’s episode, we hear from Erica McAfee, the host of the podcast, Sister’s in Loss. Erica suffered two devastating miscarriages during the early years of her marriage and now she’s dedicated her life to helping others who’ve had a similar experience. She’s building a community of women to, “talk about our relationships, treatments, medications, and a lot of the issues that a lot of black women and women of color are having in trying to get and stay pregnant.”

READ MORE

Episode 52: Not Another Instagram Ad: How Doctors are Serving Fertility Education

People use social media for several reasons. For Instagram, most use it to keep in touch with friends and families while others use it to highlight their culture or connect with their fans. They’re also turning to Instagram to get information, get inspired, and build communities. It’s become a place for people to voice their opinions and share info, especially when it comes to infertility.

Some will use Instagram to document their IVF journey (#IVF has over 1M posts) or talk about their loss (#miscarriage has over 360K posts). Regardless of where someone is in their journey, they can share their experiences (the highs and lows) with a community they build from the ground up.

But with all of this knowledge and community building, people are also being served ads. These ads might gloss over heavy topics like infertility. Some have been reported talking about financing procedures like it’s a walk in the park. When this information isn’t coming from a reproductive endocrinologist, how do you know the information is accurate?

In today’s episode, we hear from Dr. Natalie Crawford about why it’s important for fertility doctors to use popular social media platforms to educate patients and the general public about fertility,  and we’ll also hear from Julie R., one of Dr. Crawford’s patients and a Progyny member, about how the patient and doctor relationship is enhanced through social media.

READ MORE

Episode 51: PCOS and Fertility: An IVF Baby After Ectopic Pregnancies

One of the most common questions people ask when they find out they have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is, “Does this mean I can’t get pregnant?” PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that often presents itself with several symptoms, and yes one of those symptoms may be infertility. But, while PCOS itself isn’t curable, it is possible for women with PCOS to get pregnant.   

PCOS impacts a woman’s body’s ability to ovulate, which can lead to an irregular fertile window. These irregularities can affect your ability to get pregnant naturally, but there are several things a reproductive endocrinologist can recommend to help overcome this.   

Treatment options can be as straightforward as oral medications to induce ovulation, injectable medications, or fertility treatments like IUI and IVF. There isn’t a treatment option for all women with PCOS, and each individual needs to work with their doctor to decide the right treatment path for them.  

In today’s episode, we’ll hear from Sarah Rivera, who was diagnosed after experiencing two life–threatening ectopic pregnancies. Because of her experience, she decided that IVF was the safest way to proceed, and because she had coverage for fertility treatments provided by her employer, she was able to pursue parenthood at her own pace.   

READ MORE

Episode 50: PCOS and Fertility: How Certain Foods Can Help with PCOS Symptoms

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance that can lead to symptoms like hair loss, acne and oily skin, irregular periods, excess hair growth in the face, weight gain, and infertility. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS, but hormonal disorders and diseases can often be managed by incorporating a “hormone friendly diet.” Finding the right diet can be difficult for anyone, but for someone with PCOS, it can be even more complicated. 

In this episode, we will try to help you sort out the do’s and don’ts of the ideal PCOS diet. Certified Health Coach Susan May sits down with Progyny’s Lissa Kline to discuss what foods to avoid, what foods to seek out, and some other lifestyle changes women with PCOS can make to manage their condition. 

If you want to learn even more you can visit Progyny’s Education Page. There you can find an article written by Susan May titled, “What Do You Eat if You Have PCOS or Endo?” This article breaks down everything you need to know about PCOS, endometriosis, and how you should cater your diet to help manage both of these common conditions.

READ MORE

Episode 49: PCOS and Fertility: Why it’s a Serious Challenge to Get Pregnant with PCOS 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS, impacts 1 in 10 women of childbearing age and symptoms can include ovulatory issues and infertility. So, PCOS is common and disruptive, but the good news is that with appropriate care PCOS can be managed. 

The first obstacle to managing PCOS is understanding the various symptoms and receiving a diagnosis. PCOS can come with a wide array of symptoms: 

  • Hair loss 
  • Acne, darkening of the skin, skin tags 
  • Pelvic pain, irregular periods 
  • Headaches, feelings of anxiety and depression 
  • Excess hair growth on the face 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Weight gain 
  • Infertility 

These symptoms can be caused by other conditions and everyone with PCOS doesn’t experience the same symptoms, so it can be extremely difficult to get a diagnosis. The best thing for someone who’s exhibiting some of these symptoms is to talk to their doctor, but this can be challenging, as many people don’t know what PCOS is. 

That’s why awareness about PCOS is so crucial. September is PCOS Awareness Month, and to help spread awareness we have created a special three-part series featuring PCOS experts, health specialists, and a fertility patient who built her family despite her diagnosis. This episode features Dr. Stephanie Thompson, from IVFMD, who breaks down everything you need to know about PCOS, and Sasha Ottey, founder of PCOS Challenge, the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association. 

Dr. Thompson will walk us through what PCOS is, what it means for fertility, and how to help women with PCOS build the family of their dreams. Sasha will share her personal experience with PCOS, how she was diagnosed, and how she started the PCOS Challenge. We’ll learn about PCOS Challenge’s mission, gain an understanding of how to contribute to PCOS Challenge, and hear about some exciting upcoming events like the Rise to the Challenge Gala. 

READ MORE

Trailer for Spotlight on PCOS

September is PCOS awareness month, and this year we’re rolling out a special three-episode series covering PCOS from three unique angles. We’ll kick off the series on 9/9 with Sasha Ottey, founder of PCOS Challenge, the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association who will lay out how she came to create a network of over 50,000 women, all dedicated to advocacy and spreading awareness around this common condition. Then, a week later, on 9/16, we’ll hear from Certified Health Coach Susan May who will share some practical advice for women hoping to find a PCOS diet.  And we’ll wrap up the following week, 9/23, with Sarah Rivera, who is living proof that a PCOS diagnosis does not mean you can’t get pregnant, it just means you may need a little help.

You probably know someone with PCOS so please share this with your friends and family, and of course, if you want information about PCOS right now go to progyny.com/education. There you can find lots of helpful resources like our PCOS infographic which breaks down this condition, it’s treatment options, and what it means for a woman trying to get pregnant, an article written by Certified Health Coach Susan May laying out exactly what a PCOS diet looks like, and much more. Also, don’t forget that previous episodes of This is Infertility are always available at progyny.com/podcast, and you’ll find last year’s PCOS Awareness Month content there, just scroll down to Episode 13, 14, and 15. This series is hosted by Julie Hunt, Manager of Business Development at Progyny.

Episode 48: The Solo Path to Motherhood

The hardest thing about having a baby alone is making the decision to do it.” This is a quote from the memoir, Panic & Joy: My Solo Path to Motherhood 

In this episode, we hear from Emma Brockes, a British author, journalist, and New York transplantSince a young age, Emma’s two greatest aspirations in life were to be a writer and a mother. And while she had found her dream career, she didn’t know how to act on her desire to have a child. It wasn’t until Emma was 37 years old and found herself in relationship with a woman called “L,” who was already in the process of her own path to single motherhoodthat Emma was able to take a leap and start her journey towards single parenthood.  

Emma shares some of the challenges, doubts, and worries she had before deciding to become a single mother, including a paralyzing fear of what others would think about her. After two years, she finally made the decision to visit her OB-GYN and begin the process of creating her family. We’ll learn what it was like trying to choose the right sperm donorundergoing multiple rounds of IUI, before successfully getting pregnant with her daughters.

Episode 47: Brewing for a Fertility Benefit

Fertility treatments are expensive, and they’re usually not covered by insurance. So, what do you do when you need IVF, but you can’t afford the associated bills?  

Over the course of her 10-year fertility journey, Brandi Kline found herself asking that question time and again. She had a good fulltime job, but no coverage for fertility treatments. Where did she turn when she was running out of hope? Starbucks.  

Brandi shares with us her story of resilience and resourcefulness, how she got her fertility treatments covered by working part-time at Starbucks, and how after a complicated and draining experience, she is now a mother to a beautiful baby.  

Episode 46: Genetic Testing: Can it be Non-Invasive?

We’ve covered the cost effectiveness of pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy, or PGT-A. In today’s episode, we are going to learn about something called non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (they don’t have an acronym for it yet because it’s still in clinical trials).  

We’ll hear from Dr. Mandy Katz-Jaffe, a Reproductive Geneticist and the Scientific and Genetics Director at CCRM. She’ll break down how this test could work, the advantages this could have for patients, and where they are in the process of clinical trials.  

Episode 45: Genetic Testing: Is it Cost Effective?

The world of fertility is filled with acronyms – ART, IVF, IUI, ICSI, PICSI, SET, FET, HCG, LH, PCOS, AMH, FSH, OMG. But there is one acronym in particular that gets questioned often, PGT-A. It stands for pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy and it can make a real difference.  

Everyone who decides to go forward with IVF has to make a decision on whether or not to go forward with PGT-A. The fact is, many people just aren’t sure if it would be worth the extra cost.  

In this episode we hear from Dr. Shelby Neal who, along with the team at RMA of New Jersey, performed a study to answer one of the key questions most patients have when facing IVF, “When is it cost effective to use pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy?” and “Why should we do PGT-A?”  

Episode 44: Genetic Testing: IVF and Fruitful Fertility

Infertility treatment is often a series of difficult choices. Do you try IUI? How many rounds? What about IVF? Can you afford it? Do you transfer one fresh embryo, or do you freeze them all? What about pre-implantation genetic testing? Is it worth the additional expense?  

Doctors can recommend a treatment path, but each choice is tied to money and time, and it’s up to the patient to weigh those factors against success rates. At the end of the day, if you choose a less expensive fertility treatment, are you actually saving money? Are you being efficient?  

Today we hear from Elyse Ash, who had to face all of those questions and more throughout her infertility journey. Elyse shares what it was like being diagnosed with endometriosiscarefully considering the costs and success rates before undergoing IVF, and enduring years of frustration before finally giving birth to her baby girl Abigail.  

Elyse also discusses one of the most valuable lessons she learned along the way, the importance of support. That’s what led her to create Fruitful Fertilitya free mentorship program that connects those struggling with infertility with those who’ve been through it firsthand. 

Episode 43: A Formal Diagnosis of Male Infertility Didn’t Take Away the Stress

Nearly one-third of infertility cases are caused by some sort of issue with the female, one-third are caused by some sort of issue with the male, and the rest is caused by either a combination of issues from both partners or entirely unknown. The fact is, male infertility is just as common as female infertility, we just don’t usually talk about it that way.  

That’s likely because regardless of the cause of the infertility, the treatments tend to have one thing in common — the brunt of the work falls on the female. We believe it’s important for men and women alike to talk about infertility. It’s an issue that affects everyone, not just those who were born with a uterus.  

Today, we hear from Josh and Stephanie Shirkeya couple who struggled with male infertility along their family building journeyAlthough they were given a formal diagnosis of Josh’s infertility, which helped answer some of their questionsit didn’t take away from any of their stress.  

In this episode, Josh and Stephanie discuss some of the emotional frustrations they experienced throughout their infertility journey, the challenges of undergoing IVF, and the ways in which they supported each other along the way. 

Episode 42: LGBTQ+ Family Building: Baby Bailey Mama Drama

June is Pride Month, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.  

While there is still a lot of work to be done to bring true equity to the LGBTQ+ community, today’s story is a demonstration of how far we’ve come over the past 50 years. We hear from Katie and Christina Bailey, a couple who utilized reciprocal IVF to welcome their baby girl into the world. And a year later, they did it again.  

But their journey wasn’t easy. The couple faced a number of hurdles before they were able to meet their daughters Kennedy and Charlotte, from having to choose the right sperm donor to exploring egg donation due to Christina’s PCOS. In this episode, Katie and Christina share their complex fertility journey, what it was like building a family as a same-sex female couple, and how they decided to give back to the infertility and LGBTQ+ family building communities through their social media and online blog. 

Episode 41: Documenting Fertility Struggles to Create Awareness  

When you are experiencing something as difficult as infertility, it can be comforting knowing you are not alone. But it can be hard to relay what the journey is like for those who have never gone through it. Alaina Bos, a Chicago-based photographer, realized she could use her work and experience to help portray the very personal and emotional frustrations of infertility 

In today’s episode, Alaina shares her story of feeling frustrated and alone after being diagnosed with both endometriosis and PCOS. Fortunately, after months of trying she was finally able to have her baby, and along the way, she decided to use her talents as a photographer to help others who found themselves in a similar position.

So, she started a project called Face of InfertilityWe’ll hear how Alaina used photography to both document her own fertility struggles, as well as share the stories of others, in order to create awareness and reduce the larger stigmasurrounding infertility. 

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, wlearn 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 Helenaboth past, present, and future 

Episode 39: Supporting Family Building Needs for Working Women

What happens when you have the career of your dreamsbut you also want to fulfill your lifetime dream of having a child? Can you manage to do both? Will your career even allow it? And what happens if your plan to grow your family turns out to be more difficult then you expectedwill your employer support you along the way 

Many women, especially those with high pressure or inflexible jobs, find themselves having to choose between their careers and their dream families. Whether it’s trying to get pregnantundergoing fertility treatments, or taking care of your children, expanding your family can take a lot out of youand often shifts your focus away from your job. All of these factors may drive women out of the workforce, especially if their workplace is not supportive of their family building needs.  

In today’s episode, we hear from Jenny Galluzzo, who left her career in television journalism behind in order to grow her family. Jenny shares her family building journey with us, including what it was like enduring rounds of IVF, getting pregnant and taking care of her two young boysand eventually feeling ‘a hunger’ for working again. But after being out of the workforce for almost 3 years, she found herself asking: What is my value? Who’s going to hire me? And what am I really qualified to do?   

Jenny co-founded The Second Shift, an online platform that connects highly-skilled women seeking flexible work options to businesses that need employees for short-term, high-profile projects. She shares with us the importance of putting women in leadership positions, but also changing the status quo for all working women who wish to prioritize both their jobs and their families.

Episode 38: #InfertilityUncovered: Infertility Support Through Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates

National Infertility Awareness Week falls on April 21 – April 27 and this year’s theme from RESOLVE is #InfertilityUncovered. In honor of this week, we’re doing a four-part series on what it’s like to truly uncover the world of infertility.  

This is the last episode in our four-part series. This episode follows the experience of Jennifer Kattula, a patient who is covered by the Progyny Fertility Benefit, and takes a deep dive into an invaluable resource she found along the way: the Progyny Patient Care Advocate (PCA) team.  

Infertility is a disease that demands support, and today we will examine what real supportive care looks like by having a chat with a few of our devoted Patient Care Advocates here at Progyny. We’ll hear a few of the heartwarming stories and rewarding experiences that keep our PCA’s dedicated to supporting Progyny members each and every day 

Episode 37: #InfertilityUncovered: IVF in the Workplace

National Infertility Awareness Week falls on April 21 – April 27 and this year’s theme from RESOLVE is #InfertilityUncovered. In honor of this week, we’re doing a four-part series on what it’s like to truly uncover the world of infertility.  

In the third episode in our four-part series, we address the topic of infertility in the workplace. Why, in 2019, are American workplaces still so ineffective in dealing with issues around infertility? That’s 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 in 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 support employees with infertility.  

Episode 36: #InfertilityUncoveredWhen Limited Fertility Benefits Fall Short  

National Infertility Awareness Week falls on April 21 – April 27 and this year’s theme from RESOLVE is #InfertilityUncovered. In honor of this week, we’re doing a four-part series on what it’s like to truly uncover the world of infertility.  

If a fertility benefit is offered, but there are no providers who accept it, is it really a benefit at all? In the second episode of our four-part series, we hear from Wajmah Yaqubi, an Emmy-nominated Photo Director who found herself asking that very question when she researched her employer’s fertility benefit.  

Although Wajmah’s employer provided fertility benefits, they were extremely limited and restrictive in what was coveredFor starters, there was only one in-network doctor in all of Manhattan who accepted her company’s insurance. On top of this, insurance policies required that individuals go through six rounds of IUI before even being able to receive coverage.  

Wajmah is still trying to conceive, and she’s doing it with very little financial supportIn this episode, she shares how she’s been navigating infertility with little to no coverage, how she has learned to be her own advocate throughout the process, and how her partner supports her along the way.  

Episode 35: #InfertilityUncovered: In the Spotlight with Jamie Stelter

National Infertility Awareness Week falls on April 21 – April 27 and this year’s theme from RESOLVE is #InfertilityUncovered. In honor of this week, we’re doing a four-part series on what it’s like to truly uncover the world of infertility.  

In the first episode of the series, we hear from Jamie Stelter, the morning transit and traffic reporter for NY1 and 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 never really know what’s going on in people’s lives… not until they tell us.  

After months of trying to conceive naturally with no results, Jamie and her husband Brian visited a fertility specialist, where they discovered that Jamie had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The complexity of their infertility journey didn’t stop there. Jamie was later able to get pregnant both from IUI and naturally, but the pregnancies unfortunately were unable to carry to term, which left the couple hopeless and devastated 

In today’s episode, Jamie shares the emotional and physical challenges of her infertility journey, what is was like having to endure it all while managing her job as a public figure, and how she was able to eventually get pregnant with her daughter Sunny through IVFWe also learn about what inspired Jamie to become a vocal infertility advocate, spreading her message about the realities of infertility both on social media and on-air. 

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

In today’s episode, we hear from Samantha Buschlifestyle blogger, entrepreneur, and wife of NASCAR champion Kyle Busch. While they were trying to conceive, Samantha discovered she had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and after visiting a fertility clinic, they learned male factor infertility also contributed to their infertility. 

Despite the low odds the couple faced, Samantha was able to get pregnant with her son Brexton through IVFDuring her pregnancy, Kyle was badly injured during one of his races, which put an additional strain on the couple and their marriage. They were able to stay strong in the face of adversity, but things got even tougher when Samantha and her husband decided to try for a second child, which resulted in Samantha experiencing a devastating pregnancy loss.   

Along her fertility journey, Samantha was disheartened to learn how costly the IVF process is, and how this creates a significant financial barrier for individuals and couples trying to create a familyThis inspired her to co-found the Samantha & Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, an organization that provides grants to people who are struggling to afford fertility treatment in the Charlotte area.  

Today, we’ll learn how Samantha got to where she is now, what she’s learned along the way, and how she’s transforming her own pain into something more like joy – bundles of it! 

Episode 33: Endometriosis and Fertility: Finding Support Through a Facebook Group: Nancy’s Nook

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a common condition that is often extremely painful, hard to diagnose, and can affect a woman’s fertility. In honor of this month, we’re rolling out a four-part series to bring awareness to this disease.  

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 82,000 members. The group has grown to be such an important resource that even doctors refer patients to it.  

In the final episode in our four-part series on endometriosis, we hear from Donna Laux, one of the key administrators for Nancy’s Nook, who shares how the group was created and how it’s helped thousands of women.  

Episode 32: Endometriosis and Fertility: Promoting Awareness through Endo What? 

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a common condition that is often extremely painful, hard to diagnose, and can affect a woman’s fertility. In honor of this month, we’re rolling out a four-part series to bring awareness to this disease.  

This episode may seem like it’s about two womenShannon Cohn, an award-winning filmmaker, attorney, and activist, and Mary Alice Hatch, an endometriosis and women’s health advocate. But it’s really an episode about 200 million women who suffer from endometriosis around the world.  

Shannon and Mary Alice are co-founders of an endometriosis awareness organization called Endo What? In this third episode in our four-part series on endometriosis, we hear how this organization was created, what they’re doing to increase research and awareness for the condition, and how they’re changing the way we talk about endometriosis.  

Episode 31: Endometriosis and Fertility: Trying IVF After Being Diagnosed

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a common condition that is often extremely painful, hard to diagnose, and can affect a woman’s fertility. In honor of this month, we’re rolling out a four-part series to bring awareness to this disease.  

This is the second episode in our four-part series on endometriosis and we’ve broken this episode into two parts. In this episode, we continue hearing Amanda’s story about how she came to discover she had endometriosis, and how that impacted her infertility journey.  

After paying out of pocket for four unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Amanda Lesesne had an exploratory laparoscopy which revealed stage three endometriosis. After having the endometriosis tissue removed, she 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.  

Episode 31: Endometriosis and Fertility: Trying IVF Before Being Diagnosed

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a common condition that is often extremely painful, hard to diagnose, and can affect a woman’s fertility. In honor of this month, we’re rolling out a four-part series to bring awareness to this disease.  

This is the second episode in our four-part series on endometriosis and we’ve broken this episode into two parts. We hear from Amanda Lesesne, who endured four rounds of IVF before she was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease she had never really heard of, but one that explained many of the symptoms she experienced as a teenager.  

In part one, we 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 a laparoscopy for her endometriosis. Amanda will also discuss her decision to try IVF for the fifth time, what she expects to be different now that she has dealt with her endometriosis, and has the Progyny fertility benefit 

Episode 30: Endometriosis & Fertility: Jessica Smith-Payne

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a common condition that is often extremely painful, hard to diagnose, and can affect a woman’s fertility. In honor of this month, we’re rolling out a four-part series to bring awareness to this disease 

In the first episode in our four-part series on endometriosis, we hear from celebrity make-up artist Jessica Smith-Payne, who shares her experience of trying to get pregnant while living with endometriosisEver since Jessica was a teenager, she experienced pain, but her condition went undiagnosed for yearsIt wasn’t until she got married and tried to get pregnant, that her and her husband Logan learned  that their journey of trying to begin their family would be more difficult than they had expected.  

After receiving a laparoscopy and discovering that she had stage three endometriosis, the first question Jessica asked was, “Am I going to be able to be a mom?” We learn how Jessica and her husband navigated their fertility journey, given Jessica’s diagnosis with endometriosis and Logan’s male factor infertilityhow the couple was introduced to IVF, and how Jessica was able to give birth to her daughter after enduring a traumatic pregnancy.  

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.

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

The two-week wait is a term used to describe the period of time in between a fertility treatment cycle and the first blood pregnancy test. It can be an extremely stressful timeoften filled with anxiety, worries, and frustrations.  

In today’s episode, we sit down with Dr. Georgia Witkin, a clinical psychologist and infertility expertwho discusses a number of survival and coping methods that can help alleviate some of the stress of waitingWe’ll learn how connecting with friends, doing light exercise, and practicing self-care are some of the various ways in which individuals can keep themselves busy during the two-week wait. Dr. Witkin also provides some ideas for how partners can offer support and comfort during this critical time. 

Episode 28: IVF, Persistence, and Paying it Forward when Battling Infertility

When you fall, you get back up again. Although it’s an old sayingit teaches a lesson about persistence, and it can be applied to almost any aspect of life. But it’s not always easy to just get back up, especially if you are struggling with infertility 

In this episode, we’ll learn about 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. After experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions during her journey of infertility, Lynn was motivated to help others and started her a peer-led support group through RESOLVE and a fundraising campaign by organizing a Walk of Hope. 

Episode 27: Becoming a Single Parent by Choice

What do you do when you feel ready to have a baby, but your circumstances might not agree? You might not have found the person yet, or you are in a relationship, but your partner isn’t on the same page when it comes to family building. So, what do you do?  

In today’s episode, we hear from Tania, who always wanted to be a mother, but found herself in her 30’s, single, and realizing she was running out of time. Tania decided she was done holding onto the traditional expectations she had for her life and made the choice to be a single parentShe discusses the challenges she faced in her love life, and how she eventually shifted her focus from dating to family building.  

Like Tania, Jennifer Cruz found herself dating for the wrong reasons, trying to find a father for her child rather than someone she genuinely felt a connection withJennifer decided to follow her dream of becoming a mother and decided to pursue IUI, which successfully got her pregnant with her son 

Through their journeysboth Tania and Jennifer discovered a community of like-minded women called Single Mothers by ChoiceIn this episode, we learn about the journey of becoming a single parent by choicethe importance of having a community, and what it takes to run one.

Episode 26: Portraying the Realities of Infertility Through ART

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 ways 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, who share their personal struggles with infertility, and how they created this innovative organization.  

Elizabeth shares how creating art allowed her to see and feel tangible progress, something she lacked during her own journey. On the other hand, Maria began to focus her PHD research on the rhetoric surrounding infertility. The two collaborated on their ideas and created The ART of Infertility project to engage people with infertility through a combination of art and oral history.

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: The Miracle of Adoption and Helping Others

When people are having trouble having a baby, they often want support from their friends and family, but sometimes this support backfires, and arrives as unwanted advice. There are few pieces of advice more unwanted by those trying to conceive than the suggestion to “just adopt” a baby. This idea is a double-edged sword, as it minimizes both the experience of going through fertility treatments and the experience of adoption. Choosing one does not mean you are giving up on the other, and both can be incredibly difficult in their own ways.  

In this episode, we hear from Becky Fawcettwho, along with her husband, spent years trying to have a baby through fertility treatments, before deciding to pursue adoption insteadAfter enduring multiple rounds of IVF and devastating miscarriages while trying for baby number two, Becky realized that adoption was now her preferred path to parenthood.  

The complex nature of adoption, along with the prohibitive costs led Becky to create HelpUsAdopt.org, an organization that helps bridge the financial gap for those looking to build their families through adoption. Becky shares her own experience of adopting her two children, as well as the discriminatory adoption practices she discovered along the way, and how that motivated her to help other families navigate the costly adoption process

Episode 24: Taking Control of Her Future by Freezing Eggs

Egg freezing is a topic that is being talked about more often recently, as more couples are choosing to have children later in life, more women are recognizing how their age plays a role in their fertility, and more companies are choosing to offer egg freezing as a fertility benefit to their employees.  

In today’s episode, we hear from Laura Perez, a Progyny employee who shares her personal experience with egg freezingWhen Laura 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 even helped change the nature of her relationship. Shortly after she froze her eggs, Laura’s boyfriend proposed, and they are planning to try to extend their family in the near future.  

Episode 23: Helping Others Beat Infertility: Heather Huhman

The journey of infertility is complex for a number of reasons, but one factor that can often make or break your experience is the quality of care and support you recieve from your fertility clinic. It’s important to choose a clinic that is up to date with reproductive technology, had good IVF success rates, and doesn’t have complicated billing and insurance policies. However, the most crucial aspect of a clinic is if they are willing to go the extra mile to physically and emotionally support their clients throughout the process of fertility treatment.

In today’s episode, we hear from Heather Huhman, who endured a series of traumatic events throughout her journey with infertility, a few of which stemmed from the lack of quality care and support she received from her doctors. From being given little to no information on her diagnosis with endometriosis to experiencing a dangerous pregnancy after a round of IVF as a result of transferring multiple embryos, she reached an all-time low in her efforts to try and get pregnant. 

But Heather wanted some good to come out of her pain, so she dedicated herself fulltime to helping others via her twice a week podcast, Beat Infertility. In this episode we’ll hear about her struggle, how she got through it, and why she says her podcast gave her the hope and perspective she needed to carry on. 

Episode 22: OncofertilityHelping Patients Navigate Between Oncology and Fertility  

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in light of this, we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the bridge between oncology and reproductive research that explores and expands options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors.  

In the fourth and final episode of our oncofertility series, we hear from Kristin Smithwho dedicated her life to helping educate young cancer patients about their fertility preservation options. As Program Manager for Fertility Preservation at Northwestern Medicine and the Oncofertility Consortium, Kristin helps patients navigate their treatment between their oncology team and their reproductive endocrinology team.  

We’ll learn how fertility preservation has evolved over the past decade, how cancer patients are now being offered more preventive options, and how advocates like Kristin are offering individualized support to newly diagnosed patients.  

Episode 21: Oncofertility: The Hope Fertility Preservation Can Bring

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in light of this, we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the bridge between oncology and reproductive research that explores and expands options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors.  

In the third episode of the four-part series, we hear the story of Megan Connolly, a college student whose entire world stopped when she discovered she had cancer. Megan was only 19 when she began her battle against Hodgkin’s LymphomaCancer threatened not only her life, but her lifelong dream of becoming a mother.  

Well hear how Megan beat cancer (twice!) and with the help of patient navigator Kristin Smith of the Oncofertility Consortium, was able to freeze her eggs. Fertility preservation offered Megan a sense of control over her life and allowed her to focus on the future of her life after cancer.  

Episode 20: Oncofertility: Fighting for Fertility Preservation Coverage

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in light of this, we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the bridge between oncology and reproductive research that explores and expands options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors.  

In the second episode of the four-part series, we hear from cancer survivor Amanda Rice. When Amanda was diagnosed with breast cancer, her doctors recommended an aggressive treatment protocol that would potentially threaten her fertility. She had some fertility health insurance but when she called the insurance company, she found that they had illogical barriers that excluded her from coverage for fertility preservation 

After her intense physical and emotional battle of surviving cancer three times, Amanda decided she wanted to use her expertise in finance, fundraising, and project managing to help others. She created Chick Mission, a non-profit organization relentlessly focused on critical issues unique to cancer patients – including fertility challenges that may follow surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and drug treatment.  

Episode 19: Oncofertility: Making Fertility Preservation a Priority

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in light of this, we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the bridge between oncology and reproductive research that explores and expands options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors.  

In the first episode of the four-part series, we hear from Joyce Reinecke, a young and newly married lawyer, who was devastated when she found out she had cancer. Learning she could become infertile from cancer treatment made it tremendously more difficult, and at the time, fertility preservation was not a priority for cancer patients.  

Joyce tells her brave story of surviving cancer, preserving her fertility, and dedicating her life to helping other cancer patients through her work with the Alliance for Fertility Preservation. 

Episode 18: Miscarriage Awareness: The Causes, Treatments, and Future

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is estimated that almost 1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriage. Despite the high prevalence, the condition remains a topic that is still not talked about enough. In honor of this month, we are dedicating two episodes to spread awareness and shed light on a condition called Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. 

In the second and final episode of the two-part series, we hear from Dr. Zev Williams, Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Columbia University Fertility Center. He dedicated his life to helping individuals and couples who are suffering from pregnancy lossboth on a clinical as well as research level.  

When Dr. Williams first started his career, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss wasn’t understood very well. He shares how the condition came to be more researched in the field of reproductive medicine, and what we know about it today. In this episodeDr. Williams takes us on a deep dive into the causes, treatments, and even the future of this devastating condition 

Episode 17: Miscarriage Awareness: A Real Housewife’s Story of Pregnancy Loss – Emily Simpson

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is estimated that almost 1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriageDespite the high prevalence, the topic remains taboo and is still not talked about enough. In honor of this month, we are dedicating two episodes to spread awareness and shed light on a condition called Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. 

In the first episode of the two-part series, we hear from Emily Simpson, of the Real Housewives of Orange CountyEmily had no difficulty getting pregnant, but she did have difficulty staying pregnant. Her and her husband, Shane, suffered 6 devastating lossesbefore finding their way through Emily’s sister, who generously offered to be their surrogate 

Emily discusses the immense emotional and physical toll that the losses had on her and her husband, as well as their marriage. She also shares the unique coping strategies that helped her throughout her journeysome of which included horseback riding and studying for the Utah bar exam.  

Episode 16: LGBTQ+ Family Building: One Voice that Changed a Company’s Paternity Leave Policy for Same-Sex Parents  

While many companies are striving to improve their maternity leave policies for their female employeesthere is also a vast need for expanding paternity leave policiesThis can be extremely detrimental for recent fathers, and especially for same-sex male couples, creating additional barriers for LGBTQ+ individuals trying to build their families 

In this episode, we hear from Jason Rudman, who shares his experience of navigating family expansion options, including egg donationsurrogacyas well as adoption. Jason and his husband Alvin ended up utilizing a gestational surrogate to start their family, and then, two years later, utilized another one to grow 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.  

Episode 15: PCOS and Fertility: When the PCOS Symptoms Don’t Match

September is PCOS Awareness Month. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that impacts 10% of women of childbearing age. Among the list of frustrating symptoms that PCOS can cause, some of which include weight gain, excessive hair growth, irregular periods, stress, anxiety, and depression, the condition is also unfortunately one of the leading causes of infertility. 

In honor of this month, we’re doing a three-part series on PCOS to spread awareness and share patient stories. In the third and final episode, we hear from Julie Hunt, who during her years of working as a Patient Care Advocate at Progynybecame an expert in all things related to fertility, including PCOS.  

How could it be that years later, at 27 years old, she discovered that she had PCOS the entire time? In this episode, Julie discusses her own experience with PCOS and her winding road to diagnosis with her friend and colleague Lissa Kline. 

Episode 14: PCOS and Fertility: Creating Awareness about PCOS

September is PCOS Awareness Month. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that impacts 10% of women of childbearing age. Among the list of frustrating symptoms that PCOS can cause, some of which include weight gain, excessive hair growth, irregular periods, stress, anxiety, and depression, the condition is also unfortunately one of the leading causes of infertility. 

In honor of this month, we’re doing a three-part series on PCOS to spread awareness and share patient stories. In the second episode, we hear from Megan-Marie Stewart, who was diagnosed with the condition at 16 but started experiencing symptoms even earlier.  

When Megan was told to ‘change her outlook on her condition,’ she decided to change the world instead. In this episode, Megan tells us about a traumatic experience that drove her to create the PCOS Awareness Association, how she’s trying to help others with the same condition, and the various resources that are available to individuals living with PCOS.  

Episode 13: PCOS and Fertility: Getting Pregnant with PCOS

September is PCOS Awareness Month. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that impacts 10% of women of childbearing age. Among the list of frustrating symptoms that PCOS can cause, some of which include weight gain, excessive hair growth, irregular periods, stress, anxiety, and depression, the condition is also unfortunately one of the leading causes of infertility.  

In honor of this month, we’re doing a three-part series on PCOS to spread awareness and share patient storiesIn the first episode, we hear from Satoya Foster, Co-Founder of the PCOS Awareness Association, who tells us about her journey with the condition and how she became inspired to help others living with PCOS.  

Satoya explains the frustrations she felt when she couldn’t make sense of her body, like the unexplained weight gain and absent periods. For her, it felt like her body was, out of control.” In this episode, we’ll learn about how she was eventually diagnosed, her fertility journey that followed, and how she was able to successfully get pregnant with her daughter Zoey. 

Episode 12: Supporting a Friend with Unexplained Infertility

What do you do when you find out that someone close to you is struggling with fertility? How do you find the right words to say? Many people are often at a loss of words, not knowing how to address their friend, co-worker, neighbor, or loved one who is dealing with infertility. But staying quiet about infertility can be detrimental, as it leaves individuals feeling even more isolated and alone, during an already emotionally challenging process 

In this episode, we hear from Jess Moran, who recently started her fertility treatment journey. She found that speaking about her experience not only helped her through this emotional and frustrating time, but it also became her most valued resource.  

Jess’s story involves meeting her husband on Tinder, dealing with unexplained infertilityundergoing IUI, and gaining the courage she needed through her friend Johanna. She shares what really happens when people stop worrying about awkwardness and stigma and start saying the F word.’  

Episode 11: Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure and Reflection on Male Infertility

The conversation surrounding infertility frequently revolves around women and their reproductive systems. There is often a lack of focus on male infertility, and the unique challenges it can bring to individuals and couples trying to conceive.  

Infertility can be an extremely tough journey, regardless of the cause, and it is often crucial for people going through fertility treatments to have an outlet for expressing their emotions and frustrations. Today’s guests, Matt Mira and Doree Shafrir, share how they created their own outlet: the hit podcast Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure

When Matt, a veteran podcaster and television writer (ABC’s The Goldbergs), discovered that he had an extremely low sperm count, him and his wife Doree, a senior writer at Buzzfeed and author (Startup), began their fertility treatment plan. They decided to document their journey through a series of podcasts, where they discuss in detail what it’s like to deal with male factor infertility, undergo multiple rounds of IVF, and encounter unexpected hurdles along the way. 

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

Dealing with infertility can often be extremely physically and emotionally demanding. Sometimes, it may even feel like you’re living two different lives at once. One in public, pretending to be okay and going about life as you know it, and one behind the scenes, waiting, worrying, and 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.coman online magazine dedicated to helping individuals navigate the emotional, personal, and practical realities of dealing with infertility and fertility treatments.  

In this episode, Andrea recounts her journey of undergoing both IUI and IVF, dealing with multiple devastating pregnancy losses and exploring gestational surrogacy. She shares her story of how she stopped focusing on getting pregnant and started focusing on becoming a parent, to build the family she always wanted.  

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.  

Episode 9: Family After a Vasectomy: Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley

There’s never a linear process when it comes to deciding if you want to expand your family or not. So, what happens when you take steps to permanently prevent pregnancy, because that was worked best for you in the moment… but you later desire to have a child? Can you get a second chance?

In this episode, Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley share their story of navigating fertility treatment after Slade’s vasectomy, a procedure that prevents the sperm from reaching the seminal fluidHoping for a second chance, the coupltried IVF in order to get pregnant, given Slade’s male infertility.  

While the idea seemed straight forward, the journey that followed tested their relationship and threatened to bring them to their breaking point. In this episode, we learn the trials and tribulations that fertility treatment can have on a couple’s relationship, and the importance of supporting one another during this difficult time 

Episode 8: LGBTQ+ Family Building: Building a Family with an Inclusive Fertility Benefit

For Pride month, we’re rolling out four episodes that cover family building for the LGBTQ+ community. The fourth and final episode in the Pride month series addresses two of the most significant barriers to accessing fertility treatment: exclusivity and affordability. 

A study by the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey reported that almost 58% of people are forced to forego fertility treatment due to the anticipated financial burden. And for those who go forward with treatment, the high price tag forces many individuals, couples, and families to spend thousands of out-of-pocket dollars. In some cases, patients go to extreme lengths to afford treatmentsuch as refinancing their homes, selling their belongings, or even switching careers for better benefits. Even if their employer provides coverage, a number of plans will exclude same-sex couples with unrealistic diagnostic requirements. 

But what if your employer covered your treatment and made it accessible to everyoneIn this episode, we hear from couple Lindsey and Chrissy Callahan who were eager to start a family when they learned their employer-sponsored Progyny benefit would make their dream of having a child a reality.  

Episode 7: LGBTQ+ Family Building: Understanding the Legal Side

For Pride month, we’re rolling out four episodes that cover family building for the LGBTQ+ community. The third episode discusses the additional obstacles same-sex couples often encounter when trying to start a family.  

Any fertility journey can be complex, but for same-sex couples there are additional legal and political challenges, both on Federal and State levels. In this episode, 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.  

We also hear from Theresa Witherspoon who, with her wife, found her family through reciprocal IVFTheresa shares some of the hurdles she and her wife faced as a same-sex female couplelike finding the right sperm donorabsorbing the costs of fertility treatments and donor feesand navigating the legality of same-sex parenting 

Episode 6: LGBTQ+ Family Building: Two Dads and the Journey to Build Their Family 

For Pride month, we’re rolling out four episodes that cover family building for the LGBTQ+ community. The second episode goes into further detail about what it’s like to build a family as a same-sex couple, specifically for same-sex male couples 

We explore the option of gestational surrogacy. 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.  

In this episode, we hear from Benjie and Jimmy Hyde, a couple who found themselves at a crossroads when their known egg donor was unable to produce embryosWe’ll learn how they were able to eventually become daddy and papa to their twin daughters, Isabella and Gabriella, through an anonymous donor, as well as the challenges and triumphs they encountered along the way. 

We also hear from Shelly Marsh, who shares with us what it’s like to be a surrogate mother, how she’s helped three same-sex male couples achieve their dreams of having a child, and how she found the organization Men Having Babies along the way, a non-profit dedicated to providing unbiased surrogacy parenting advice and support for gay men worldwide. 

Episode 5: LGBTQ+ Family Building: Two Moms and the Journey to Build Their Family

For Pride month, we’re rolling out four episodes that cover family building for the LGBTQ+ community. The first episode is about what it’s like to build a family as a same-sex couple. There are important decisions to make up front such as, who’s going to carry the baby? How do you choose a sperm donor? And which fertility treatment – IUIIVF, or reciprocal IVF – do you choose? 

But even when you’ve made all of those decisions, sometimes things don’t go as planned. In this episode, Katie Acosta and Hilary Smith explain how their chosen family building path didn’t work, how they embarked on a new fertility journey called reciprocal IVF, and how they navigated the legal logistics with their new family.  

Episode 4: Trying to Conceive with Premature Menopause

Many things can impact a woman’s fertility, but age is often the primary factor. Today, many men and women are choosing to start families later in life and a woman’s chances of having a baby decrease as she ages. But what happens when you encounter fertility struggles in your 20s?  

Jenna Marinelli and her husband decided to try to conceive the month after they got married. After a year of no success, she was diagnosed with premature menopause at the age of 26. It’s a diagnosis typically made in women struggling with infertility, and simply means a woman’s ovaries have less eggs than they should for her age.  

Women with this diagnosis can often use their own eggs and successfully conceive through IVFIf that isn’t an option, there are a number of treatments out there that can help people achieve their dreams, including ovum donation, also known as donor eggs.  

In this episode, Jenna shares her personal story of getting diagnosed with premature menopause, being faced with difficult decisions, and living a life without regret. 

Episode 3: Breaking the Silence about Fertility with #SaytheFword 

Fertility is not a dirty word and it’s time we dispel the stigmas surrounding it by talking about it. The aim of thiepisode is to discuss infertility openly – sharing real stories from real people and raising awareness for this disease. 

In January, the next generation women’s health companyCelmatixlaunched the #SaytheFword campaign to shine a light on the widespread issue of fertility, and to raise money for some pretty great non-profits. In today’s episode, we #SaytheFword and talk about why sharing your fertility stories are important 

Episode 2: The Toll of Multiple Miscarriages and Learning to Cope with the Physical, Emotionaland Mental Side Effects

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL), also known as a miscarriage, is a heart wrenching and physically difficult challenge many women and couples face when trying to start a family. It doesn’t matter if you’ve experienced a miscarriage once or multiple times, it’s still difficult to recover emotionally and physically. 

Today we hear from Karin Ajmani, President at Progyny. Karin suffered from secondary infertility where she didn’t have a problem getting pregnant, but she had trouble staying pregnant. Karin talks about her experience with her multiple miscarriages, the toll it took on her body – emotionally, physically, and mentally, the impact it had on her family and her career, and where she is now. 

Episode 1: Removing the Infertility Stigma Through National Infertility Awareness Week

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is a week dedicated to uniting millions of Americans who want to remove the stigmas and barriers associated with infertility. The best way to remove infertility stigma is to talk about our experiences with infertility, and the best way to remove barriers to fertility treatments like IVF and IUI is to ensure coverage for these treatments are made available to the masses.  

In this inaugural episodewe’ll hear from Barb Collura, CEO of RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. Before Barb became the CEO, she was struggling to start a family of her own. She says, “When I started experiencing some [fertility] failures, I did not anticipate how emotionally trying that would be on me. So, when I faced some adversity and faced some challenges, I really just fell apart.” We’ll learn about the history of RESOLVE, the origins of NIAW, and how awareness is an important first step to removing the stigma and shame of infertility and bringing access to fertility treatments to those who need it.