the business of fertility. (part 1)

The distressed child pictured above is the product of three long years, 8 treatment cycles, 2 infertility docs and their awesome PA, several procedures and thousands of prayers.  She is well worth the effort.

This begins what will be a 2 part blog on fertility and infertility.  Thanks to my best girls who suggested it for the blog.  It’s a big topic with multiple angles so it will take more than one post to cover everything I think is important to discuss.

My oldest child was born during my third year of residency.  I got pregnant the second month we attempted to conceive.  I had a hunch I would have fertility issues so when I didn’t I questioned whether I really knew what I was doing in my career if I couldn’t diagnose myself!  Turns out…I was right.  My chances of getting pregnant on my own are about 5% per year.  PER YEAR.  Normal fertility is about 20% per MONTH.  My first pregnancy was literally a miracle.  I ovulated and got pregnant on my own.  It is probably the only time I have ovulated on my own since that month 9 years ago.  I have no desires to have another baby but am pretty sure I would be in for another long haul if I tried.

Fertility is a funny business.  Our culture has a huge problem discussing normal reproductive anatomy and human sexuality but feels like they can ask everyone they’ve ever shared lunch with “so when are you having kids?”  or “aren’t you going to try for a boy?”  Because I had one child everyone assumed two things.  First, that I wanted another child.  And second, that I could become pregnant whenever I wished.  We don’t tell our kids how pregnancy happens but we will ask the lady in line next to us at Target when she’s planning on having another baby.  Seriously.  It seems everyone has an opinion on fertility including what to do with yours and mine.  It’s an easy trap to fall prey to.  In my line of work you need to ask patients about their current and future fertility plans.  But sometimes I catch myself wondering about friends or acquaintances and have asked when it really wasn’t my business.

Another funny thing about the business of fertility is going through treatment.  I remember feeling a bit strange sitting in the waiting room at the reproductive medicine clinic and knowing that almost everyone in that room was seeking medical care in an attempt to expand their family.  These families are often investing a significant amount of time and money into having the chance to have a child.  You can’t help but look around the room and wonder where each person is in their journey and what will be their outcome.  Will I see them again?  Will their treatment be successful?  Will they get good news or bad news today?  All these questions get left unsaid, of course, because your fertility is your own business…even when you’re in the waiting room of the fertility clinic.

If you have difficulty becoming pregnant should you seek treatment?  Should you adopt?  Will it work?  How will you pay for it?  All these questions and more surround the business of fertility.  In part 2 I’ll tell you a bit more of our story about the business of making baby #2 and try to address these questions as best I can.  Stay tuned…



Author: gynecologyandtheology

Academic OBGYN. Married to a theologian. Thoughts and words are based on research as well as my opinion. Enjoy.

6 thoughts on “the business of fertility. (part 1)”

  1. Sharing your story is very brave; I’m not shy about our struggles either. Particularly because many people assume PCOS is a phenotypic phenomenon. I’m excited to read the next part!


      1. I had so many of the same questions about the other people in the waiting room. So many difficult stories. So much waiting and wanting a child. And I’m very open about fertility treatment now. I had many misconceptions.


      2. I had PCOS too! Our stories are soooo similar. Layla came after 2 cycles of “trying”. Hudson was after 2.5 years of fertility treatments. I love your blog. Keep it real sista.


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