For some, the road to parenthood may include things such as IUI, IVF, PGS, ICSI, and COVID-19. Those all sound familiar except for the last one. These past few months, COVID-19 has upended many aspects of daily life, bringing grief and uncertainty for people all around the globe. And the fertility industry, one that is often shrouded in uncertainty, is no exception.
In this episode, we hear from Kim Tranell and Josh Roth, about their family building journey. After years of trying to conceive naturally, Kim and Josh found themselves in the world of infertility. One that was filled with different fertility treatments, a diagnosis of poor egg quality, and mixed emotions. They soon realized the only thing they could control was their next step to parenthood. But what happens when a pandemic hits? Josh and Kim share the impact of COVID-19 and where they are today.
Guests: Josh Roth and Kim Tranell, Infertility Advocates
Host: Lissa Kline, LCSW, VP of Member and Provider Services at Progyny
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
A Transfer Interrupted
15:39 – 18:56
Lissa Kline: Kim and Josh decided to do a fresh transfer this time. It was set to happen sometime in mid-March. Just around the time New York City was talking about shutting down due to Coronavirus.
Kim Tranell: The doctor let us know that the embryos were progressing well, but the bigger question became, should we do the transfer at all at this point? It was March 18 or something, when the city was transforming from a theoretical risk to constant ambulance sirens and flooded emergency rooms. The doctor didn’t cancel it outright, but he gave us all the information that he felt we needed to make the call.
He talked about all the other things we needed to consider, other than just going into the hospital on that day. Like what about coming back for other appointments? Or what if I miscarry and have to come back for a D&C?
So, we felt we didn’t want to do it. We didn’t want to tax the healthcare system. It didn’t feel right and it didn’t feel safe. So, we decided not to do it, but we felt horrible after that.
Sharing Their Story and Finding Support
19:13 – 24:48
Lissa Kline: During this forced pause, Kim decided to share her story. A little background – Kim is a freelance writer and editor.
Kim Tranell: Josh and I discussed eventually telling our story. We had been very open with close friends and family, but it never seemed like a good time to bring it up with people.
But we felt like after so many years of going through this, it had become such an undeniable part of our life. It felt like the time to do that, especially because we were at the beginning of when everything was shutting down. It was devastating and I felt like there wasn’t that much out there about how it was impacting fertility treatments.
Lissa Kline: Her story was published in Women’s Health magazine, and then it was also picked up by People magazine. We’ve posted links to both in our show notes. And just like that, people were now talking about COVID and infertility.
Josh Roth: Throughout this process, my focus has been supporting my wife in any way that I can. I’m the type that likes to fix things and I’m an eternal optimist, so it was very hard to face and wrap my head around the fact that it wasn’t working. It can be hard and isolating.
Lissa Kline: This episode is actually airing during Mental Health Awareness Month, and I think that’s very appropriate, as Kim and Josh worked hard to keep their relationship strong and their mental health intact during this journey. They started seeing a therapist together who specializes in reproductive issues.
Lissa oversees the Patient Care Advocates and the Provider Relations Team. She worked at Columbia University Medical Center for several years in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Involved in Patient Services and the Donor Egg Program, she loved working with patients while they underwent fertility treatment. Lissa graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.
Josh and Kim first met on a pizza tour of New York City and live in Brooklyn with their rescue mutt, Miso. Josh works as an artist manager and talent buyer in the music industry, while Kim is an Editorial Director at Scholastic who specializes in stories for middle school students. In the nearly three years since getting married, they’ve been on a long and winding journey to grow their family—one that has included a pregnancy loss, three IUIs, four egg retrievals, two failed transfers, and lots of tears. By sharing their story together, they’ve found solace in connecting with other couples who are struggling to become pregnant and raising awareness about the physical and mental toll of infertility.
Music From This Episode:
A Very Brady Special by Kevin MacLeod
Artist: Loyalty Freak Music
Track: Hope and Love
Track: The candle
Track: Family Tree
Track: Good Night
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Small Steps
Track: Completely Lost
Track: The Secret to Growing Up