PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are trying to conceive and you DON'T want to readabout my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at thebeginning of the blog (March2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so thereis a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny,helpful or especially relatable. Wishing you all the luck in theworld!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Still Here... In A Womb With a View

Sooo… it’s been a while, no? Like an embarrassingly long time! What’s even sillier is every week, I would say to myself, “I’ve GOT to write a blog this week!” but then something else always came up. I know, I know… I sound like a shitty boyfriend that hasn’t called in a while but this year has kicked my ass every which way. I have been calling 2014, “The Year of the Curve Balls”.

Heh, heh... I said balls...

Interview with Fox on Egg Freezing
I’ll spare you all of the details but the short version is my son (product of my 3rd IVF) getting an EEG and MRI for minor seizures due to his Autistic Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis (no – ASD has nothing to do with ICSI. Oy.), my father having major surgery (he’s currently down a pancreas), my husband’s pay unexpectedly getting cut (WTF?), then him switching jobs (yaaay!), financial strain due to this transition (haven’t resorted to stripping yet though!), us moving to a new place (the new digs doesn’t have mice or mice shit so that’s progress!) and endless meetings about my son’s schooling going forward (it was easier for me to get into college).

Trust me – That truly is the short version.

Despite it all, I’ve remained very active and passionate about all things related to the reproductively challenged. Here are also a few of my favorite pieces that I’ve written related to my infertility related activities among a few others should you be interested in checking any of them out:


My job at Fertility Authority also continues to keep me busy and always manages to provide one fertility related call a day that cracks me up. Some recent highlights are:

“I’m calling about artificial insinuation.”

Me: "Do you have intercourse when you're ovulating?"
Caller: "Do I have what?"
Me: "Intercourse".
Caller: "No. Blue Cross."

“Both my wife and I had our tubes tied.”

“If my eggs don’t work, can I use my husband’s eggs?”

“I have a unicorn in my uterus.” (She meant bicornuate uterus… although I like the sound of a magical uterus.)

“My friend is pregnant but doesn’t want the baby. Can you transfer the baby to my uterus? I’m in great shape!”

Male Caller: “My sperm gets lost apparently.”
Me: “And like most men, it won’t ask for directions, right?”
Male Caller: “Exactly. And I’m going to use that joke going forward!”

Among these calls though, I’m also fortunate enough to continue to connect with both
The No Baby Shower
with @@ChancesOur and
@@gsmwc02
couples and women who inspire me with their perseverance and sense of humor. What’s particularly shocked me lately is how many women who’ve contacted us about egg freezing find out that they have a fertility issue they knew nothing about.

In general, roughly 20% of women who go to get an egg freezing consultation get diagnosed with a fertility related concern (blocked tubes, diminished ovarian reserve, etc.). I also have been working with the mother of a 15 year old who somehow has started menopause. It never ceases to stun me how many infertility issues there are and how the public at large still has no awareness or understand of it. I’m floored that it still doesn’t seem to be recognized as a real medical diagnosis and so many OB/GYN’s (bless their hearts) don’t really seem to educate women on knowing their fertility health. I’ll never be able to wrap my head around that. Never.

Me at the Cade Gala
A few weeks back, I went to the Cade Foundation Gala and I have to tell you – that was a wonderful night. I’m particularly impressed with this group. They really did feel like a family holding your hand, encouraging you to pursue whatever fertility goals you have and unlike some other groups out there, they put the emphasis on those struggling with infertility. I’ve never been to an event where you heard more from patients than you did doctors or staff. I loved it and recommend you check them out if you haven’t already.

I’ll also be judging Sher’s I Believe Video Project again and I can’t wait. To be a part of someone getting a free donated cycle means the world to me as I know firsthand what it feels like to want a baby and be totally out of funds.

All in all, the word 'humbled' doesn't cover how I feel these days. Yes, I'm stressed, overworked, tired and behind on everything but just so deeply appreciative for any opportunity I get to make a possible difference or impact in the world of fertility matters.



So basically, I swear I’m still here, I absolutely care and if there’s anything I can ever do to help anyone – you just let me know. I’m on Twitter (either at @jennpal or @the2weekwait)
Me with PHENOMENAL ladies at Resolve's Advocacy Day
and you can email me at the2weekwait (at) gmail (dot) com.

What I personally need right now is for things to just calm the fuck down. I long for just one weekend of boredom. Just one. Can I get an amen?

Sending you hope, hugs and humor… as always.

- Jay

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resolve to Know More… And Educate Others


Every year, RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, designates a week to bring awareness to those struggling with infertility. It’s called ‘National Infertility Awareness Week’ (NIAW) and officially starts on Sunday, April 20th and ends on Saturday, April 26th.

While this event brings needed attention to infertility to the public at large for a week, for some, infertility is for a lifetime. That is why when I read this year’s theme, “Resolve to Know More…”, I was particularly inspired.

If you’ve been reading my blog on a regular basis, if you’ve seen some of the pieces I’ve written on various other sites, if you connect with me through my job (which is in the infertility space), or if you simply talk to me for more than ten minutes, you know that infertility issues are something that I’m deeply passionate about year round. I strive to help and support others who fight this heartbreaking and isolating disease as much as I try to inform the public that infertility affects one in eight couples and must not be ignored or dismissed with a, “Just relax and it will happen.”

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have children. To be a mother was the most important goal to me. So when I started trying to conceive and nothing was happening, it cut me deeper than I could have ever even imagined. I became a different person. I was depressed, resentful, and felt like a tremendous failure. You never know how often the subject of babies, pregnancy and parenthood come up in every day life until it becomes something you so desperately want and can’t achieve.

My marriage became strained, my friendships suffered, our savings account was depleted and I began to avoid people and situations for fear they would ask me why I hadn’t had children yet. This time in my life was a dark period of endless doctor appointments, blood work, therapy, sonograms, calls to my insurance company, injecting hormones and wondering what I did wrong to deserve this.

To get the diagnosis of “Unexplained Infertility” made me feel even worse. Without any answers, I’d never know when or if this nightmare would end.

Although there were many things that helped me during this period, the biggest most valuable lifesaver was the infertility community itself. They not only empathized, supported me, and cheered me on but quite frankly, they were my best resource in teaching me what I needed to know about infertility treatment.

It was my fertility challenged friends who told me to ice before I did a hormone shot in my stomach, who told me what an autoimmune panel was and among many other tidbits, gave me the single best piece of advice ever: to get a second opinion.

On my third in vitro, when my husband and I were paying out of pocket and money was tight, again, the community came to my rescue. They donated their medications to us. I had one friend while we were at the movies pass me a vial of progesterone in oil, another who gave me her left over boxes of Gonal-F and I even received estrogen patches from a fellow infertile that lived all the way in Ireland.

Much to my surprise, I’m often asked why I still care so deeply about infertility issues since I now have a son. This question astounds me. How could I NOT care???

I have not forgotten for one second what infertility put me through. More importantly, I have not forgotten the community, like RESOLVE, like my fellow bloggers and like my very dear infertility friends on Twitter and Facebook, that helped me. I would never abandon them when in truth, I owe them for so very much.

I know so much more now that I didn’t know back when I started my journey. I know that infertility is a real medical disease. None of us have done anything to deserve it and “just relaxing” will never solve the problem.

I know the best way for friends and family to support someone going through infertility is to just say, “I’m so sorry. What can I do to help?"

I know that you can be an advocate for yourself and find another doctor if you are at all unsure about the treatment you’re currently getting. This is a big deal and YOU are a big deal. If you’re not enthusiastic about your protocol, you take your fabulous uterus somewhere else and get another opinion.

I know just how much the public really doesn’t understand infertility. When I wrote an article recently about thinking before you ask people why then don’t have children, some of the comments showed how uninformed people are. This is why I firmly believe we can educate others in our own way: Whether you join us for National Advocacy Day or whether you privately confide in a friend that you have been diagnosed with this issue, you are making others aware.

I know that it doesn’t have to be IF you become a mom. Sometimes the question just is HOW you become a mom. There are so many options: donor egg, surrogacy, embryo adoption, donor sperm, etc. If you feel comfortable with exploring all of these family building options, then your choices open up.

Finally, I know that living childfree is not giving up. It’s making a choice to put your hope in another part of your life. It’s courageous to acknowledge when you feel this is something you need to move on from.

I’m so grateful to RESOLVE for giving the community an opportunity to draw attention to this condition. I know coming out of the infertility closet isn’t easy so I have sincere respect to those who choose to keep this issue private. However, I do want to say that if myself, RESOLVE or others like me can hold your hand, lift you up (like others did for me) and help you resolve to know more, you have a standing invitation all year round.

To learn more, please visit these links:

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)

With hope and humor always,

Jay

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The No Baby Shower



It’s on! I’ve got a date, a location and I’m thinking of fun ideas to put in the Goody Bag! What do we think? Maxi pads? Ovulation Prediction kits? Boxes of Chocolates? Soft cheese? Sushi? Any thoughts?

I'm thrilled that many organizations and people are donating items for us to give out to our guests for free. Lord knows when you're going through treatment, you're already paying so damn much for everything else!

I am looking forward to meeting so many of the people I’ve connected with through my job, this blog and of course, Twitter and Facebook. It’s my sincere hope that guests will have fun and find support from one another! If you’d like to attend, there’s still time! Just email me and we’ll get you all set up! Here's the invite:


For reasons that perhaps many of you can relate to, being invited to baby showers when I was in the midst of trying to conceive was both painful and difficult. I would always make my excuses; send an expensive gift and stay home to be depressed in private.

In my very bitter state, I would often think to myself, “Not only do fertile women get a baby but they get a party with presents too! How the hell is that fair???” Mind you – this wasn’t the nicest thought for me to have, but again, I hope some of you can possibly empathize or relate.

That’s when I started joking about having an “Infertility Baby Shower”. In my mind, I felt that if anyone really needed a party with presents, it was those who either were trying to conceive or unable to conceive.

A few of my friends in the infertility community and I started joking about it: What games we would play ('Pin the Tail on the Sperm' as mentioned in my last post), what the decoration theme would be (Barbie or Minnie Mouse), etc.

What started as a painful event for me slowly morphed into something I was “owning” and even making fun of. Some even remarked that it reminded them of the episode where Carrie Bradshaw of Sex & the City was single but decided to register for a new pair of shoes after spending thousands of dollars on other people’s bridal showers, baby showers and weddings.

For years, I volunteered at Gilda's Club. For those of you who don't know, Gilda's Club was named for Gilda Radner, the very funny comedian and one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live who is a bit of a hero of mine. Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986 and very sadly, passed away in1989. Gilda’s husband, Gene Wilder and her psychotherapist, Joanna Bull started the Gilda’s Club movement in 1995.

The spirit and humor of Gilda, even when facing Cancer was always present at the club. I also always remember when she did a guest spot on The Gary Shandling Show (See Video Clip by clicking HERE). She had a sense of humor throughout her incredibly difficult struggle. This is something I've thought of often and have been inspired by in my worst moments and it's in the spirit of the work of Gilda's Club that I was modeling the NBS after.

Overall, I’ve received so many wonderful responses from people asking if I could bring the NBS to their neck of the woods, others who have expressed the willingness to travel to the event and several just simply complimenting the humor behind it. It’s been overwhelming and very touching to me.

However, I do want to acknowledge that there have been a few that have expressed being offended by this event. If you know me or have been following my blog for a while now, I sincerely hope you’d know that offending people is never, ever something I set out to do. Although it was just a few, they felt this “No Baby Shower” was making fun of infertility issues in a negative way.

I absolutely respect their feelings, their honesty and applaud them for feeling comfortable enough to share this with me. This is why I did want to mention it here as I’m sure there are others out there who may feel the same way.

Therefore, I want to say that as passionate and excited as I am about the NBS becoming a reality, I do want to extend a very sincere heartfelt apology to anyone who may have been offended. This event is something I sincerely care about and I only had the best of intentions. Although I fully realize not everyone can share my humor and that you can’t please everyone all of the time, I am truly sorry if something I did upset anyone on any level.

There are two things though I will never apologize for: Caring or continuing to be an advocate for those who are dealing with infertility. I know that there are some who go through treatment, have a child and choose to put the world of endless vaginal sonograms, blood work, retrievals, transfers and financial strain behind them. I understand it completely but that’s just not me.

I recently wrote an article on the Huffington Post called, "Your Biological Clock Turns Cuckoo Earlier Than You Think" about educating women that age sadly and annoying can affect their fertility and I’m currently working on a new piece letting the fertile community at large that asking, “When are you doing to have kids?” can be unintentionally hurtful. I’m also exceedingly proud and excited to be a part of Resolve’s National Advocacy Day and will be traveling to Washington D.C. to speak to our elected officials about the needs of so many amazing, loving, fabulous people struggling to build a family.

Yes, my journey has come a long way from when I was avoiding baby showers but no, just because I’ve had a child through IVF does that mean I’ve stopped caring, fighting or trying desperately to bring my sense of humor to infertility.

I mentioned all of this to a personal hero of mine, Carolyn Savage, and she advised, "Just because you had a baby doesn't mean you can no longer advocate for infertility. That would be the equivalent of saying survivors can't advocate for breast cancer." Those words meant so much to me.
For those of you who do understand why I'm doing the No Baby Shower and why I continue to try in my small way to pay back the IF community that helped me so much when I needed them, I sincerely thank you from the very bottom of my heart (and uterus). I do hope that I'll meet you all soon... if not at the NBS or National Advocacy Day, then at some point in the future!

Ultimately, even though we may not always agree or deal with things the same way, I do know we all think infertility is one evil, cruel bitch. No matter our differences, let's always remember to try and support one another as much as we can.

Sending you humor and hugs... as always.
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ADDENDUM: An anonymous person pointed out that I might want to explain why I didn't put this together when I was still "in the trenches". Thank you whoever you are as it's a very good question! The sad truth is I couldn't afford to! All my money was being put towards my fertility treatment. That's why this is exciting for me. Between putting in some of my own money and the very generous team at my job (Fertility Authority), we're putting this together so no one has to pay. It's a free event to again, raise awareness, connect those in the community to one another, hopefully have fun and support each other.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pin The Tail on the Sperm

First, I’d like to start with a few of the “fertility fun” highlights from this past week:

  • There was the woman who told me that a doctor told her thirteen years ago, her doctor said she was fertile. Thirteen years ago? Honey, we were ALL fertile thirteen years ago.
  • There was a different woman crying to me about only having FIVE kids. She’s been trying to conceive her sixth for three months and nothing. I’m not even going to comment. If you’ve gone through infertility treatments and been practically sawed in half to have just ONE child, then you know exactly what I’m thinking.
  • There was a man who emailed me saying he was in jail but wanted to get his sperm out to his girlfriend. Other than hiding it in a cake, I’m fresh out of ideas.
  • And then my personal favorite, the woman who was 59 years old, hasn’t had her period in years but insisted to me that she could use her own eggs because the actress, Laura Linney did. Yup. Celebrities apparently have Botox for their eggs. Who knew???
It’s sincerely that I don’t mean to make fun of anyone (no really - I truly don’t). It’s more that enjoy these little anecdotes because, as I’ve mentioned more times than I can count on this blog, I’m a big proponent of having a sense of humor at all times. (Well, that and I’m STUNNED at how many people don’t know their bodies, how babies are made, that age matters and that semen can’t get “time out for good behavior”.) Whenever I’ve come across someone who is born without the “funny gene”, to me, it’s one of the absolute saddest medical conditions imaginable.

“Slip on two bananas… and call me in the morning.

I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t offended too many people over the years as I can have a bit of a warped sense of humor. For whatever reason though, the infertility community in particular seems to share my sense of humor and for that, I’m exceedingly grateful. I can honestly count the people I’ve offended on one hand (At least the ones I know about...) and although I wish these individuals well, I wish more that they would stop taking things so damn seriously. Their lives would be way happier if they learned to laugh.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that my father has been having health issues and my son (who has you know, I conceived through my third IVF) has been diagnosed as being on lower end of the Autistic Spectrum. Both of these events have been stressful, concerning and at time, scary.

My dad, who I absolutely adore, had a tumor/cyst in his pancreas. When you hear the word ‘pancreas’, you always think, “Uh-oh”. Those who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have, from what I understand, a 95% mortality rate. Yikes.

After many, many tests, it was determined that my dad needed to have his pancreas, spleen and gallbladder out. I told my father, “You’re like the actual guy from the game, OPERATION.”

And you know what he did? He laughed.

After the nine hour long surgery, through what I can only describe as a miracle, he was able to keep a portion of his pancreas as well as his spleen. They also confirmed that he was cancer free. To celebrate, I gave him a plush pancreas. 



We’ve named him Pete. Now, when my dad’s friend’s come over, he asks them if they want to see his pancreas and when they reluctantly answer, “Uhhhh, ok. I guess.” He hands them Pete, the Pancreas.

I also love that my father traded in his extremely dated cell phone (his cell may have been the only rotary cell phone in existence) for the latest, hippest i-Phone. His logic was, “I need a new phone to go with my new pancreas!!!!

Around the same exact time (when it rains, it pours), my son was diagnosed as having a speech delay (although I think that since he’s living with me, he just can’t get a word in edgewise) and again, has several “ASD qualities”. Through Early Intervention, he is excelling in leaps and bounds and we couldn’t be more grateful. His team consists of three different therapists who come six days a week and two nannies.

Yes. Two nannies. Let me explain…

My parents used to watch MJ Monday and Tuesdays but due to my dad’s recent health issues, they had to stop. Since our current nanny (who we’ve had since MJ was 3 months old and watches him Wednesday through Friday) didn’t want to work full time, we found a new nanny who is also a licensed art and music therapist and, in the words of my husband, looks like a super cool version of Velma from SCOOBY DOO. We adore her, the ukulele she brings with her (Can one adore a ukulele??) and love that he is getting a creative outlet in addition to everything else.

So, we have three therapists, two nannies and I’m not even a celebrity. I don’t even have the income, toned arms or apparent “magic eggs” of a celebrity. Early Intervention is covered by the city and our nannies are remarkably reasonable (THANK YOU ECONOMIC GODS).

It’s a weird feeling to know that while you’re at work, more people are cramped in your railroad apartment then when you’re actually at home. It’s like our home is FANTASY ISLAND or THE LOVE BOAT as you never know who is going to stop by that week. All in all, it’s really inspired me to clean more often as we continually have guests. Really, when they say a guy “gets more ass than a toilet seat”, trust me - not my toilet seat. It gets more ass than George Clooney.

Some have asked why I don’t stop working and stay home. Aside from the fact that we couldn’t afford that, I honestly think that when it comes to his issues, he’s in better, more capable and educated hands the way things are now. I majored in theatre; I write and used to do stand-up comedy. I couldn’t be his speech therapist or work with him on his “Applied Behavior Analysis”. The only thing I CAN do is love him, support him and tell him the best well-written knock knock jokes a two year old has ever heard.

There have been some suggestions but those who did not need the fertility arts if IVF is the reason MJ is having these issues. I feel like there’s always one story or another pinning something or other on IVF (Cancer, Autism, etc.) Next thing you’ll know, IVF will be responsible for Global Warming and the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight.

I was fortunate enough to meet the amazing Carolyn Savage and the inspiring Lisa Stark (who works at the SHER Institute) who both assured me that the Autism/ICSI/IVF link was recently disproved. Lisa was even kind enough to share Dr. Sher's Blog on the subject (Click HERE to read).

In the midst of dealing with all of this (dad, MJ, a staff of five, a busy day job, lamenting over my non-toned arms, etc.), I remembered a post I wrote ages ago called, "The Infertile Plans a Baby Shower".

I recently decided that now that my father was on the mend and my son is getting the resources he needs, there was no better time than to make that post a reality.

Therefore, I’m planning, what I’m calling, THE NO BABY SHOWER”. It will be held in New York City on Saturday, April 26th (please contact me at the2weekwait (at) gmail.com for specific details). There’s no charge, no catch – it will just be people getting together, eating some brunch, playing pin the tail on the sperm, getting a goody bag filled with OPK’s and best of all, laughing at infertility with people who understand.

Despite everything, I have so much to be happy about. My dad is going to be ok, I truly believe MJ will also be ok (as long as we’re doing everything we can for him), I love my job (even the silly questions I get asked) and I feel like I’ve taken this infertility thing that tortured me for so long and have laughed in it’s face.

Infertility is NOT funny and I know this. I also know the person I was while going through treatment: Bitter, resentful, depressed, feeling like a failure and wondering if it was a nightmare I would ever wake up from. That’s why it’s so important to throw each other life lines and say, “I’ve been there, it sucks. How can I help?” My warped sense of humor is the best way I know how. Jokes about having difficulties conceiving doesn’t solve the problem but if it buys you even a few minutes of sanity, it’s worth it. Don’t you think?

I do hope any of you within traveling distance will join the “No Baby Shower” and that I’ll get to meet you in person!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Infertility Confidential: Infertility Info That You Need to Know and May Get Me Killed



Do you ever meet up with a friend for dinner or coffee and they are like, “Oh my god! I have SO much to catch you up on!” That’s exactly how I feel. Although I have no big news, I did want to fill you in on the latest in my life in general. That will have to wait for another time though. l felt so inspired to write the below post that it took priority over the ever continuing and amusing events of my own life.

Next week, my son will be two years old. I know, I know… I can’t believe it either. Since then, as you all may know, I’ve become a hard core infertility advocate both professionally and personally. Because of this, I’ve learned so much that I sincerely wish I knew when I was still peeing on ovulation prediction kits thinking I was going to get pregnant the first month of trying.

*Cue studio audience laughing*

So, here are a few of the bigger lessons that I’ve learned that I wanted to share with all of you. I hope it will empower and inform you but really, more than anything, I hope it helps you be your own kick ass advocate.

Here we go…

On Average, Most Patient Cycle an Average of 3.2 Times – I posted this on Twitter (my account is @the2weekwait. Feel free to stalk me!) and it got retweeted quite a few times. According to the ASRM, most patients going through IVF around 3 times before they have a baby. As daunting as that sounds (especially when you’re at the beginning of your TTC journey), I wish I knew that back then. I wouldn’t have felt like such a failure for not getting pregnant on the very first IVF. And the reality is, at least for me, I did get pregnant on my third IVF so if anything – I was the average (although in many other ways, I’m fabulously exceptional!)

I should note though that if you haven’t gotten pregnant on your third time, that doesn’t mean you never will. I have known plenty of people get pregnant on their fourth or fifth and even in one case, their ninth (I still have no idea how they afforded that many cycles!) Every case is different but again, this is the average.

Success Rates Aren’t Everything – Did you ever see the movie Silkwood where the main character Karen Silkwood (played by the freaking awesome Meryl Streep) gets killed after exposing worker safety violations at her plant? Drama! Oscar nominations! Well, that’s how I feel about bringing to light this particular point so I’m going to speak in general terms before a clinic sends a hit man after me.
Aside from the fact that some clinics refuse to treat certain patients because they feel they will hurt the clinics success rates, if you look carefully at SART, some of the numbers don’t actually add up. If you look at the number of cycles a clinic says they did up top and then manually go through all of the cycles one by one adding up what's reported below, chances are they will not equal the same number.

Plus, let’s just say some clinics get "creative" in what numbers they report (only the embryos transferred and not all that were produced, etc.). I do know efforts are being made to improve this but I wanted to mention it because some live and die by the SART data and I gently wanted to suggest you base your decision on other factors as well (insurance, how far it is from you, when they can see you, online reviews).

Really, nothing can replace your gut. I suggest you meet with a doctor before making a decision.

And before I do get run off the road under mysterious circumstances (good thing I don't drive), let me make clear that if the numbers are off or questionable, that's NOT SART's doing. Again, it's how it was reported to them and both clinics and SART (from what I understand) are sincerely making efforts to improve this in the coming years.

There Are Only a Handful of Clinics that will Treat You if you’re Over 42 and Want to Use Your Own Eggs – I can’t begin to tell you how many women I have to say that to in a day. If I took a shot every time I told a woman this, I’d be drunk by noon. Women are shocked when I tell them this and honestly, I was too when I first found this out.

Clinics all across the country feel that over 42 (some clinics cut off age is 43, others 45 but overall, 42 seems to be the magic number), there is such a decline in egg quality that they either:

A) Don’t want to affect their success rates (see above point)

B) They genuinely care about you and don’t want to put you through cycling over and over again OR expose you to the risk of having a miscarriage (which can happen when your egg quality has diminished).

Any which way, if you are over 42, I’m not at all suggesting to lose hope, not try or that no doctor will see you but I will say that many doctors will most likely suggest donor eggs. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can either ask the front desk what their stance is on that before making an appointment OR you are welcome to contact me and I can tell you the doctors that will see you. You may have to travel (just wanted to warn you).

Some Doctors Don’t Know What the Hell They are Doing – I've lost track of how many stories I’ve heard through this blog, my job or the infertility community at large where I hear what they are saying and it throws me into a homicidal rage on their behalf.
If you’ve had more than several miscarriages and your doctor says that you’ve just had "bad luck", if you have PCOS and were severely overstimulated to the point where you have over 30 something follicles, if you’re over 35 years old, have been TTC more than a few years and your OB/GYN is telling you that you have nothing to worry about – SEE ANOTHER DOCTOR.

What’s CRAZY is if you read any of the above and thought to yourself, “Is Jay talking about me????”, that’s the thing – I’ve heard all of the above more than a few times. That's how often these things happen. I can’t believe it myself. I’m particularly taken aback by how many stories I’ve heard about OB/GYN’s “keeping” the patient and not referring them to an RE. I honestly don’t get it.

Two Things About Surrogacy – Here are two things I didn’t know about surrogacy that I know now and that I found interesting:

1. You can’t be a surrogate if you’ve never had children previously. They are not only worried about the emotional attachment you may form but they also have no historical data (to put it clinically) on how your body responds to pregnancy.

2. The majority of clinics (if not all) will not do “true surrogacy”. This is when you use a surrogates eggs AND uterus (so, in effect, it’s her baby). It’s only donor eggs and a totally different woman for a surrogate. Same as above, they want to avoid emotional attachments and possible legal drama down the road.

Some Doctors Truly Do Care and Can Help – I’ve had the opportunity to connect and meet with many doctors now that I’m on the other side (so to speak) and I’ve been blown away by how truly caring some doctors can sincerely be. Years ago, an infertile friend of mine who had been around the infertile block more times than most said to me, “In the end, I’ve learned that these doctors don’t care about me. They just want my money.”

Although I can’t say that there aren’t doctors out there who do feel this way (there are many top doctors out there that won’t accept patients with insurance or who only want cash paying patients), I’ve met many fertility doctors first hand who will email me back right away about a patient expressing genuine concern. There are also doctors who really do want to figure you out and get you that baby. To be fair, I can’t mention their names but I do adore them and love referring friends and patients their way.

You Shouldn’t Cycle with Clomid More Than 6 Times – Again, I’m stunned at how many women I’ve connected with who are doing Clomid cycles over and over and over again. Research shows that if you are going to conceive with Clomid, it would roughly happen by the third time AND women who used Clomid for more than 12 cycles developed an increased incidence of ovarian tumors. If your doctor keeps giving you Clomid past 6 months, please break up with them immediately.

Sperm Sorting and the Ericcson Method Aren’t Done in the United States – Mostly people who are interested in Gender Selection ask me this but I did feel the need to mention it as it’s come up A LOT. It’s not FDA approved and it’s not conclusive so if you’re dying to do this and you’re possibly in the mood for a burrito, you would need to go to Mexico which is the only place I know that does it.

Shared Risk Products May Be Slightly Suspect – Mind you, I’m not talking about multi-cycle discounts. It’s the ones specifically marked as “Shared Risk. This is a program where you prepay a certain amount, and in return you get a package of around 3 IVFs. They usually state that if you don’t have a baby after those three cycles, you’ll get a refund. 

However, you have to “qualify”. (Note that I’m putting qualify in quotes which is my form of using punctuation for sarcasm.)

When you “qualify”, the odds are that they know you will most likely get pregnant on the first try. A very small percentage that they even accept in to the program will actually need all 3 cycles nor will they ever get their money back.

If you do not “qualify”, that means that you, like the average, will need all three cycles. So, the clinic feels they may lose money if they offered you the shared risk deal... which is why you wouldn't "qualify". Perhaps your blood work shows a high AMH or that you have premature ovarian failure. They would say you can’t be accepted.

Bottom line, if you are selected, you may have just overpaid for your IVF. 

And yes, I'm worried about the Shared Risk people are no hiding in a bush outside of my home so again, I'm not saying ALL shared risk packages are like this but just be aware and ask a lot of questions.

You are NOT in a Committed Relationship With Your Doctor – If you haven’t gotten the message by now, if you’re not happy or satisfied in any way with the treatment you’re getting, go see another doctor. Really. It’s just that simple. You can love your doctor and think they are a sweetheart but it’s your uterus, it’s a big effing deal and it’s better to take your reproductive parts elsewhere in the hopes of getting the results you want.

Many have told me that they feel bad doing that but this is me telling you not to. You have no loyalty to any doctor, you can easily ask for a copy of your records (you can say you want to have them for your own file) and again, this is too important not to feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options. You never know what a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective can bring to your case!

It May Not Be ‘IF’. It May Just Be ‘How’ – I say this probably 20 times a day. It may not be if you’ll become a parent, it may just be how you will become a parent. There’s adoption, surrogacy, donor eggs, donor sperm and so many options that if you are somehow lucky enough to afford it, it may help you get to where you are hoping to be. When I was cycling, I don’t think I really know all the options I had available to me. That sounds silly but it’s true. Of course, you may not want to do any of the above which is totally fine as YOU have to be comfortable but it is comforting to many to know they do have many resources open to them.

It’s OK To Stop Treatment – I’ve mentioned a lot recently on here about how much I would have loved to have had a second child. Granted – I’m in the fortunate position of having had one child through IVF but no matter where you are in the infertility journal, if you feel you just can’t do it – that is ok. You’re not giving up. You are just putting your hope and future down another avenue.

This is sort of how I feel about not pursuing treatment to have a second child. My husband and I just feel we can’t go through all of that again (nor can our bank account). I recently wrote myself a letter on this so years from now, when I wonder or possibly regret what I didn’t pursue it further, I can read it and remember how I came to this conclusion, that I did think about it and that I have very good reason.

I’m sure there’s more I could list but those are the ones that come to mind. I do want to add one more though but I say this often on here and I did know it back then. Still, there are many who have asked me about this so I want to say again that if you are trying to have a child or expand your family to some extent and you haven’t see a doctor, please do. That sounds simple but quite often, when I suggest this to people, they’ll say, “Let me try one more cycle on my own.” Or “After the holidays…” Or “I’m hoping to get pregnant on my vacation.” If you’re under 35 years old and have been trying for over a year or you’re over 35 years old and have been trying for over six months, please, please, please see a reproductive endocrinologist. I sincerely want to spare you the regret you may feel years later for not getting started sooner.

Now, all of those are the serious, educational points I wanted to share. On a lighter note, I’d like to throw in the following mini-list:

- You are NOT a horrible person if you don’t go to baby showers or occasionally not have the nicest thoughts about pregnancy announcements. You’re human, this sucks, stop beating yourself up.

- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT INFERTILITY OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR MIND. IT'S UTER-US PEOPLE! WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

- It’s ok to indulge in a Golden Girls Marathon and eat chocolate if that will keep you sane (not that I did that every Saturday night while trying to conceive. Ahem. *Cough.*)

- Take comfort in the infertility community at large. They are an amazing, supportive group that will claw anyone’s eyes out if they so much as look at you funny. I recommend my friends at Twitter (let me know if you need me to introduce you to people!), FertileThoughts and of course, the phenomenal, supportive people of Resolve.

- If you can (and I know this is easier said than done), please don’t feel ashamed of having infertility issues. You did nothing to deserve this, it’s a medical issue, you’re still fabulous and don’t you dare let anyone tell you differently. I will be happy to smack them for you.

And if any of YOU have any lessons or things learned that you'd like to share - PLEASE COMMENT!

With hope and humor… always,
Jay