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 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.

Expert: Dr. Matthew Retzloff, fertility specialist from the Fertility Center of San Antonio.

Host: Dan Bulger, Producer at Progyny.

For more information visit Progyny’s Podcast page.

If you want to learn more about the programs mentioned in this podcast you can find them here:

Compassionate Care Program and Heart for Heroes Program.

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

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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.

Guests: Kerry Karwan, retired U.S. Coast Guard and member of Service Women’s Action Network, and Ellen Haring, CEO of Service Women’s Action Network.

Host: Dan Bulger, Producer at Progyny.

 For more information visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Service Women’s Action Network.

If you want to learn more about the report discussed in this episode, you can find it here: Access to Reproductive Health Care: The Experiences of Military Women

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

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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.”

Guest: Rebecca Lipe, attorney at a private law firm.

Host: Dan Bulger, Producer at Progyny.

 For more information visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources on how to best handle a miscarriage.

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

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Episode 54: Securing the Future Through Oncofertility

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.

Guests: Emily Rich, VP of Strategic Planning and Operations at UJA and Progyny Member, and Ian Schwartz, VP Tailgate and AE Men’s Graphics at American Eagle Outfitters.

Host: Lissa Kline, VP of Member and Provider Services at Progyny. 

For more information visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources about Oncofertility.

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

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Episode 53: Miscarriage: Speaking the Unspeakable

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.”

Today’s episode is hosted by Selena Campbell, Manager of Member Services at Progyny.

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s resources on how to handle a miscarriage.

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

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

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.

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Episode 51: PCOS and a Rainbow Baby: Sarah Rivera

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 IVFThere 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 episodewe’ll hear from Sarah Rivera, who was diagnosed after experiencing two lifethreatening 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.  

This episode is hosted by Julie Hunt, self-described “proud PCOS cyster”, and Manager of Business Development at Progyny. 

Guests include: Sarah Rivera, Progyny member. 

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and PCOS resources from Progyny Education 

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

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Episode 50: What Should You Eat If You Have PCOS?

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 do so at progyny.com/education. There you can find an article written by Susan May entitled, “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.

This episode is hosted by Julie Hunt, self-described “proud PCOS cyster”, and Manager of Business Development at Progyny.

Guests include: Susan May, QA Analyst at Progyny and Certified Health Coach, and Lissa Kline, LCSW, VP of Member & Provider Services at Progyny.

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and PCOS resources from Progyny Education.

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

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Episode 49: PCOS is a Serious Challenge: Sasha Ottey

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

For more info check out this PCOS infographic.

These symptoms can be caused by other conditions and everyone with PCOS 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. The biggest challenge is, many people don’t ask because they don’t know what PCOS is.

This is 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.

This episode is hosted by Julie Hunt, self-described “proud PCOS cyster, “and Manager of Business Development at Progyny.

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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: Solo Path to Motherhood, the Panic & Joy: Emma Brockes

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 the author, a British journalist, and New York-transplant, Emma Brockes. At 37 years old, Emma found herself in the early stages of a relationship with a woman called “L” who was already in the process of her own path to single motherhood, and Emma had to choose exactly how she planned to become a mother. Today’s host is Amanda Sanchez, part of the Provider Relations team at Progyny 

Episode 47: Brewing for Fertility Benefits: Brandi Kline

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. Today’s host is Julie Stadlbauer, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Progyny 

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. Today’s host is Claire O’Neill, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny.

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?” Today’s host is Claire O’Neill, Patient Care Advocate (PCA) at Progyny.

Episode 44: IVF, Genetic Testing, & Fruitful Fertility

Infertility treatment is often a series of 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 things 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, founder of Fruitful Fertility, who had to navigate all of those questions during her fertility journey. Today’s host is Brandi Guthrie, Provider Account Manager at Progyny.

Episode 43: Male Factor Infertility: The Shirkeys

Nearly one-third of infertility cases are caused by some sort of issue with the female, nearly one-third are caused by some sort of issue with the male, and the rest is caused by some combination of issues with both partners, or the cause is simply unknown. The fact is, male infertility is 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 think 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. In this episode, we’ll hear from Josh and Stephanie Shirkey who overcame male infertility in order to grow their family. Today’s host is Justin Alvis, Director of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

Episode 42: 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. And 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’ll hear from Katie and Christina Bailey who utilized reciprocal IVF to welcome their baby girl into the world. And a year later, they did it again. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Member and Provider Services at Progyny.

Episode 41: Face of Infertility: Alaina Bos

When Alaina Bos found herself struggling to conceive after being diagnosed with both endometriosis and PCOS she felt frustrated and alone. Fortunately, after months of trying she was finally able to have her baby, and she wanted 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 Infertility. Today’s host is Carl Martinez, part of the Provider Relations Team at Progyny.

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.