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Navigating the Challenges of Infertility

I remember it vividly, sitting in the waiting room of my obstetrician's office feeling exhausted and defeated. I watched a young toddler playing with a toy and desperately trying to get her mother's attention. Her mother, who was heavily pregnant, could not seem to be bothered while she sat looking at her phone. The anger washed over me. Tears silently began to fall as I knew I was there to schedule the D&C of the loss that had recently occurred. Although I shared this loss, it was not truly mine. I was a surrogate for a most deserving couple. They had already been through the ringer, and I was now their partner to ensure success. Why did this woman get to succeed at having not just one baby but two, when some of the most deserving people seemed to hit all of the barriers?

I had never experienced infertility of my own, but, for the first time, I was able to have just a minuscule amount of understanding for what this experience entails. It was heart wrenching, confusing, terrifying, and had me doubting not only myself, but my faith and my understanding of how the world was supposed to work.

After I began sharing my own story, I soon realized that there were others around me silently suffering with their own battles with infertility. Despite its prevalence, the emotional, physical, and financial toll of infertility is often overlooked or misunderstood. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on the challenges faced by those experiencing infertility, offering empathy and understanding to those on this difficult journey.

Defining Infertility

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility is a disease characterized by the inability to achieve a successful pregnancy based on a patient's medical, sexual, and reproductive history, age, physical findings, diagnostic testing, or any combination of those factors. One should start seeking guidance from a fertility physician after trying to conceive for 1 year without success, or after 6 months if over 35 years of age.

Emotional Impacts

The emotional impact of infertility cannot be overstated. For many, the inability to conceive naturally can lead to feelings of grief, guilt, and inadequacy. Every negative pregnancy test, every failed treatment, can feel like a crushing blow to one's hopes and dreams of starting a family.

Woman sitting on couch looking out the window

Moreover, infertility can strain relationships, as couples navigate feelings of frustration, disappointment, and even blame. The pressure to conceive can lead to increased stress and anxiety, further exacerbating the emotional toll of infertility.

Those experiencing infertility may feel isolated, as friends and family members may not understand the complexities of their struggle. This sense of isolation can further compound the emotional toll of infertility, leading to feelings of loneliness and despair.

It can be helpful to seek out community when dealing with the emotional impacts of infertility. Many have found counseling for themselves and their partners extremely helpful. There are also many support groups that can be found either through counseling services or even through social media that allow you to connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles.

Financial Burden

Infertility treatments can be prohibitively expensive, with costs often running into the tens of thousands of dollars. Many insurance plans do not cover infertility treatments, leaving individuals and couples to bear the full financial burden themselves.

This financial strain can force difficult decisions, as individuals and couples weigh their desire for a child against the steep costs of treatment. For some, the cost of infertility treatments can be a barrier to starting a family altogether, adding another layer of heartbreak to an already challenging situation.

Luckily, we live in a world that is starting to shift their understanding of this need. There are now grants, discounts, and other financial assistance that can be applied for to help when exploring your family building options. It's been wonderful to see many employers offering expanded benefits for third party family-building, including IVF treatments, egg donation, surrogacy, adoption, and more.

Four women sitting in chairs in a circle talking

Finding Hope

It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to infertility. What works for one person may not work for another, and it is okay to explore different options and take the time to find what is right for you.

Infertility is a complex and challenging journey, one that is often marked by heartache, frustration, and isolation. However, it is also a journey marked by resilience, hope, and strength. By sharing our stories and supporting one another, we can break the silence surrounding infertility and offer empathy and understanding to those on this difficult path. We here at Collective Surrogacy see you and are here to offer our support in any way we can. To learn more about infertility and resources available, please click the button below to visit RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

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