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.

Episode 88: Hilariously Infertile: Infertility Unfiltered

Dealing with infertility comes with an abundance of raw and painful emotions. It’s ok to cry after an especially difficult appointment and it’s not uncommon to feel discouraged. While infertility itself isn’t funny, one way that we take control of stress and sadness is through humor.  

Karen Jeffries is the founder of Hilariously Infertile. This includes very honest, witty, and perfectly inappropriate accounts of her own infertility through her book and blog, and meme pages surrounding the subject. 

At 29, Karen was diagnosed with PCOS after 6 months of inability to conceive naturally. Although thnews inevitably sparked sadness, this is when she started to pick up on funny little details during her appointments. The way her doctor called her husband’s sperm sample a “donation” and explained how the lab “cleans and buffs” the sperm like it was at a spa, Karen couldn’t help but laugh 

She eventually conceived two beautiful girls through IUI and IVF. While on maternity leave with her second child, her husband suggested she write a book. Luckily, for all of us, Karen decided to share her story and she continues to unite and help women by spotlighting the comedy of a shared situation.  

Join us to hear how Karen overcame her struggles and created a loyal following with her unfiltered humor. 

Guests: Karen Jeffriesauthor of the Hilariously Infertile book and affiliated brand 

Host: Dan Bulger 

Need a good laugh? Follow Hilariously Infertile on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook, and click here tcheck out Karen’s website and blog 

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast pageand Progyny’s Education page for more resources.  

Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcastand use the #ThisisInfertility.     

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

Here are some highlights from this episode: 

It’s Not as Easy as it Seems
4:19-4:57

Karen JeffriesMonth after month after month, I wasn’t getting my period. And every single month I thought I was pregnant because I didn’t actually know that much about trying to conceive. I didn’t know about ovulation. I never had to learn that stuff. I was always on the pill. So, I just knew what they taught you in seventh grade Sex Ed which is if you have unprotected sex and you don’t get your period, you’re pregnant. So, every month I was like, I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant!’ and I was never once pregnant. After about six months of that I went to my OBGYN and I said, this is totally normal, right? and she said, No... This is not normal. 

Why IUI before IVF?
12:37-13:24 

Dan Bulger: IUI carries national success rates between and 15%. Success rates depend on a few factors. Primarily, the likelihood of success is related to age, but there are other factors as well. This means that in the best-case scenario, the chances of success with IUI are still significantly low at 15%. This is why so many people end up moving to IVFIVF can carry much higher success rates from closer to 50%, all the way up to 65, or even 70%.  So, you may wonder why so many people end up doing many rounds of IUI before they get to IVF. And the answer is, in many cases, simply a financial one. IUI is much more affordable than IVF. Many people have coverage for IUI and don’t have coverage for IVF. 

Finding Humor in Difficult Situations
7:228:37 

Karen Jeffries: [The doctor] was explaining the IUI process and he explained, ‘when your blood and egg levels are starting to look to be the right size and the right levels, you will come in and your husband will give his donation. And I remember it was really funnythe code word for giving us a sperm sample, I found that hilarious. And then the doctor said, ‘then we have a lab on site that will clean and buff his sperm. And I remember looking at my husband, almost white knuckling, it was just sfunny.. And it was really weird for me because I was so emotional and kind of irrational about everything with all the news I was getting. At the same time, I was like, is this guy for real? This is a hilarious, I couldn’t handle it. I remember leaving his office and looking at my husband sayinghow come your sperm getto go to the spa and I get the ultrasound wand every day?’ 

Hilariously Infertile
21:2822:29 

Karen Jeffries: I post funny, inappropriate memes. Whether it’s about the fertility clinic or anything about a menstrual cycle period, men giving their sperm donation, about having a rough day, a rough week, losing your mind on someone telling you to relax, baby shower invites and gender announcements and pregnancy announcements and gender reveals and all that stuff like that. Those are the funny things that I post about. And my whole mission with Hilariously Infertile is if someone is having a bad day, and going to treatment, or coming from treatments, or just got bad news, and they open up their phone, and they see my content, and it makes them laugh or cracked a smile, then that’s my goal. 

Host

Dan Bulger, Producer at Progyny

Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children. 

Guests

Karen Jeffries, author of the Hilariously Infertile book and affiliated brand

Karen Jeffries is a fourth grade dual language teacher outside of New York City. She does not consider herself a writer by trade, but she did write a hilarious book about infertility, which she has been sharing with her followers for years. Karen is infertile and funny! This combination is equal parts unlikely and spectacular. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family and apply numerous layers of face cream, due to her recent realization that she is on the slippery slope to forty years old. More than anything, Karen hopes to help other women through their infertility treatments, one laugh at a time.

Music From This Episode:

Artist: Andy G Cohen
Track: A Perceptible Shift
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/ 

Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Sad Marimba Planet
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/

Track: Secret to Growing
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/ 

Artist: Doctor Turtle
Track: Wherever I lay my hat is my wife
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/ 

Artist: Brylie Christopher Oxley
Track: Heavenly Motion URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/ 

Artist: Kai Engel
Track: Holiday Gift
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/ 

Artist: Steve Combs
Track: A Vital Piece of Music for All Your Soundtrack Needs
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/ 

Artist: Soft and Furious
Track: Melancholic Ending
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/