My Fertility Journey: And What I Wish I Knew

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be considered medical advice.
Always consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment.

Miscarriage, male—factor infertility, in vitro fertilization (IVF)—every fertility journey is unique. We’ve spoken to hundreds of women and families on their own fertility journeys. While each experience is different, many had similar takeaways on what they “wish they knew.” We share their collective wisdom here.

You are not alone.

“When I was going through IVF, I felt so alone. That isolation made my experience so much more difficult. But, in reality, I was far from alone. I didn’t know the numbers—that 1 in 8 couples struggle with fertility challenges. Those numbers are greater for miscarriage and pregnancy loss—1 in 4. By the time I was pregnant, I had found support and community, but I sure wish I found it earlier on.”—Rachel L.

Be your biggest advocate.

“My pre-IVF self wouldn’t know the first thing about an embryo transfer, let alone whether I wanted a medicated one or a natural one. However, I learned very quickly that I needed to become an expert on my own situation. While my doctor and nurse were always helpful in sharing information, I knew I had to learn how to speak up for myself. There was too much on the line to let someone else drive the bus.”—Jennifer E.

Take control of what you can control.

“Throughout my life, I always felt very empowered—in school, my career, my relationships, etc. So, when infertility smacked me in the face, I didn’t know how to cope with this lack of control. One thing that helped me was taking control of what I could control. I changed my diet and exercise routine. I went to acupuncture and therapy. This isn’t going to be right for everyone, but it helped me feel better physically and emotionally through the
process.”—Ayah B.

Set boundaries.

“I really didn’t know how to deal with the unsolicited advice. People always saying, ‘Just relax and it’ll happen!’ That one aggravated me the most. The words ‘relax’ and ‘infertility’ just don’t go together. I wish I knew earlier in my journey how important it would be to set boundaries, ask for what I needed, and tell people what’s helpful and what’s not.”—Liang S.

Every journey is unique.

“When I started on IVF, I was not aware of all the different options (donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryo, surrogacy, adoption, etc.). At the time, I saw IVF as this last resort—always asking myself, how did we get here? But fertility is not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. Knowing about all of the different paths to parenthood would have empowered me and contributed to a healthier emotional state from the get-go.”—Carrie N.

Mother yourself.

“Self-care is paramount on your fertility journey! You’re already dealing with a ton, physically and emotionally, so you have to be extra kind to yourself during this process. For me, it meant making extra time for a bath at the end of the day or buying my favorite dark chocolate for after my injections. Whatever you have to do, just take care of
you
.”—Danielle K.