Because of the high popularity of Eva's World TTC Story, we've decided to launch another blog series - Expert Chat. In this series, we invite fertility experts, including doctors, reproductive specialists, relationship consultants and infertility authors, to share their point of view regarding conception, infertility and pregnancy. We hope to help more couples get pregnant more easily by providing educational and in-depth reproductive information.
We are thrilled to welcome our first expert, Fran Meadows, an infertility advocate and the author of The Truth Behind The Secret "Infertility". Fran has gone through infertility treatments and now actively assist other women with fertility issues. Let's take a look at her interview now.
1. What is your definition of infertility?
As an advocate I am familiar with the known definition of infertility. Before I knew the complete definition of infertility prior to my diagnosis I believed infertility to be the inability to conceive, can't have a baby bottom line! I had no idea of the known "trying time" as after a few months I started to get concerned. I had no idea that it is a disease and the cause can be the men too not just us women. I always thought it had more to do with a hormonal disorder for the female since my menstrual cycles were always "my normal" of a period every 20-23 days. There is so much that I have learned through the journey which now allows me to educate others with the known definition and causes.
2. What attitude should a woman have to face her infertility?
At times it is hard to have a positive, sunshine attitude when going through infertility, as it can be an emotional and financial strain. My thoughts as a prior patient myself going through infertility, yes have a positive outlook with hope but don't be afraid to feel the anger, disappointment, fear, or your emotions. The best positive outlook is to express all your emotions good or bad as long as you jump out of the hole and face infertility head on!! There were days I hated the world and I thought that I was feeling and doing something wrong but I wasn't I was feeling what I was supposed to be feeling. [Check out Chelsea’s interview: Infertility will never win over her faith]
3. What is IVF? What are the pros and cons?
IVF Otherwise known as In vitro fertilization is assisted reproductive technology (ART) when an egg is removed from a woman, joined with a sperm cell from a man in a test tube (in vitro). The cells form and become an embryo.
There are a variety of benefits for patients to undergo IVF. IVF technology has advanced and continues to improve over time. Its number one purpose is to help infertile couples become parents through these IVF advancements. Women with damaged or no Fallopian Tubes can benefit from IVF as can other infertile couples. Women 35+ might have a lower chance of conceiving through IVF but for an infertile couple a small chance is a chance they most likely will take. IVF is also used to preserve fertility in women before chemotherapy begins. This is a great benefit and way for women to have a chance for a child in the future after preserving their eggs.
As with any surgery there are risks involved and while taking medications for IVF to occur some patients can experience Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), with symptoms such as a swollen stomach, stomach pains and nausea. There is also still a risk of ectopic pregnancies as well as multiple births. For most trying to conceive twins would be a double blessing however, the pregnancy can be more of a high risk and have a higher rate of premature birth. IVF is an expensive procedure and with limited or no insurance coverage for most patients it can be a tough financial decision before moving forward with treatment.
[Check out Lisa’s interview: When IVFs Bring A Baby, to know her points of view about IVF]
IVF is still known to be extremely controversial with various religious groups and those questioning the moral beliefs of a couple that undergoes treatment. It is talked about as "the unnatural way" or "taking control of a natural process of conception".
4. How do you think about ovulation monitoring? (Is it helpful for infertility? In what phase of TTC?)
Ovulation monitoring is something that I tried in the early stages of trying to conceive without knowing my infertile diagnosis. It was a fun start to babymaking by taking my basal body temperature, examining cervical mucus, noting when my menstrual cycle began and when we had sexual intercourse. I always felt as if I was always off by a day or two with ovulation days and I thought I wasn't doing my charting correctly so after a few months I became frustrated with ovulation monitoring. It became too much work and then if I missed a day or two of monitoring I would be upset trying to substitute my chart with similar figures from the previous day. It wasn't exactly the best way for me. The only thing that helped me with ovulation monitoring was that when I finally saw a reproductive endocrinologist I was knowledgeable about my cycles and was able to give the Doctor lots of information prior to any evaluation testing. This is an alternative option to monitor for a natural cycle without looking further to any fertility treatment. However, keep in mind that if there are underlying medical conditions or other causes ovulation monitoring might not be the answer. [KNOWHEN Saliva Ovulation Monitor has 98% accuracy with/without medication. Learn more. ]
5. What resources do you recommend for couples to face the struggle? Can you tell us one book other than yours, one site, one blog, one social media that you think are useful?
There are many different resources that can help new patients with the emotional and financial struggles.
- As an advocate I would like to firstly mention Resolve, the National Infertility Association, it is a powerful resource that helps couples through each step of their journey. Resolve focuses on letting others know they are not alone and they have a voice in the community for special fertility legislation that can benefit patients. There are also many support groups that are listed by state on their website.
- I also highly recommend that each couple know what is right for them. For my husband and I private therapy verses open support groups were our choice. Seek out therapy to get you through the emotional pain.
- Fertility Within Reach is a national non-profit organization providing education, coaching and resources to empower individuals to advocate on their own behalf, create a consistent understanding of the disease of infertility.
- There are a variety of different Authors in the infertility community that share their personal stories to self-guided help along the journey. Connecting with so many Authors it is hard to choose one but a useful book would be On Infertile Ground ~ Healing Infertility by Helen Adrienne, L.C.S.W. It is a self-guide to balance, de-stress and feel like you again while going through infertility.
- A blog that I think is truly helpful to so many through their candid nature, honesty and togetherness is Our Misconception. It is a blog that shares the vision of a loving couple that has been through so much with infertility and other life experiences where they allow you in and make you feel less lonely. A lot of other resources, blogs and sites are listed on my website.
About Fran Meadows:
Fran Meadows is an Author and Infertility Advocate. She shares her story to help other's know they are not alone! Through her personal experiences with infertility her passion is to support and speak out on the disease hoping to make a difference for others! Visit her website at http://www.secretinfertility.com/ for more information about her speech and articles.