Today, August 22, is National Rainbow Baby Day, a celebration of children born after loss. The rainbow signifies the life of a child born after the trauma and grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. Loss and the struggle to grow a family is more common than you might think. The first year my husband and I tried to have a baby, I miscarried three times, and we were far from alone: 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage (March of Dimes); 1 in 100 pregnancies in the US end in stillbirth (CDC); 1 in 8 couples in the US have trouble conceiving and getting pregnant (CDC).
After our year of miscarriages, I went on to do multiple rounds of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)—a fertility treatment that more, and more people are choosing to grow their family. Treatment isn’t just for heterosexual couples struggling with infertility—LGBQT+ couples and single parents by choice rely on various types of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to have children.
I worked in sales for a large Silicon Valley software company during my IVF treatment and I quickly realized a lot of people keep their fertility treatment secret due to the shame and stigma tied to infertility. Subsequently, this created a huge gap in the tools and support needed for those going through IVF, and many of us didn’t know where to find it.
I knew I needed to do something about it so I left my executive career and took the leap to start my own company, MyVitro helping others take control of their fertility injections and medications—something I wish I had access to during the IVF process. Today, our team is dedicated to raising awareness and normalizing ART among potential parents, family, and friends along with providing practical support for the daily needs of those self-administering fertility treatments. Our IVF Organizer helps women going through these treatments feel more supported, more in control of their health, and more confident in their injections.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a working woman (and I’m sure you agree), it’s that support and community is everything. Fertility awareness has created the opportunity for me to empathize with other women who, like me, “want to have it all,” whatever that means to them. To have a fulfilling career, we need tools, community, and empathy—starting a family intentionally is no different.
So, whether you’ve suffered loss as I did and are ready to start down the ART path or you’re simply wanting to learn more about the fertility process for the future, I want to help. Ahead, I share a few things I wish I’d known before I started IVF that can help you best prepare for the journey ahead.
Don’t Be Afraid to Think About Your Fertility
Even if you aren’t ready to have kids now, understanding your hormones and fertility early will help you make informed decisions when the time comes. At-home fertility testing like Modern Fertility has made this easy to do.
Understand Your Employer Benefits
Not all insurance plans cover family planning options like egg freezing, IVF, or Adoption, but some do. If you know one of these paths may be in your future, keep this in mind when changing jobs, and make sure to ask specific questions. Resolve.org has some great resources for understanding your insurance benefits and talking to your employer about family planning.
Be Your Own Advocate
If you’ve struggled with miscarriage or loss (or even if you haven’t!) be ready to advocate for yourself with your doctor. Come prepared with questions, and trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right. The Broken Brown Egg has great resources to help you navigate this, especially for people of color.
It’s an Investment
If IVF isn’t covered by your insurance (which it probably isn’t), you will end up paying $20-$30k per cycle depending on your location. Egg Freezing is less but will still typically run between $10-$15k plus storage. Fertility IQ has detailed info on what to expect when paying for IVF and egg freezing.
Free Up Your Schedule
IVF takes up a lot of time, so the less you have on your schedule, the better. IVF involves daily injections at home along with multiple blood draws and recurring visits to the clinic for ultrasounds. Know you have a crucial work trip coming up? Not the time to start an IVF Cycle. Keep your schedule light, and be prepared to talk to your boss about time out of the office for appointments.
Getting Organized is the Only Thing You Control
Most of us have never given a shot (let alone give ourselves a shot!), so having your IVF medication and supplies clearly organized will give you confidence and a sense of control. My company, MyVitro makes an IVF Support Kit that has everything you need to get started. I received an email recently from a customer who wished she had our products before her last embryo transfer because it failed in part when she misadministered her medication dose. Being organized is crucial, and it’s pretty much the only thing you can control.
Rally Your Support System
No matter what your family planning journey looks like, it’s going to have ups and downs. Confiding in your partner, your friends, and family, or a community of like-minded people going through it will help you mentally navigate the experience. Groups like The Fertility Tribe and Fertility Rally are great communities to check out.
Turn Rain Into Rainbows
I’m not the only one who turned grief around family planning into a rainbow of sorts. If you’re thinking about someone that you want to offer support to (and maybe it’s you supporting yourself!) but aren’t sure how here are some small businesses that can help you find the perfect gift for your loved one on their journey to parenthood.
For Someone Struggling with Loss: You Are Loved Miscarriage Gift Box
This sweet gift box includes soaking salts, a candle, and tea, a lovely and gentle way to let someone know they and their baby are in your thoughts.
For Someone Going Through Fertility Treatments: MyVitro Organizers + Accessories
Fertility treatments require a cocktail of prescription medications, many that will be self-injected at home. MyVitro’s beautifully designed and curated line of Organizers and Accessories help people feel in control of their fertility treatments by storing their medications and supplies.
Mindfulness Cards for Any Stage of the Journey: Conceivable Designs
Whether they privately share their story with their partner, a few special friends, or with the world on social media, these cards will help to honor the ups and downs of fertility treatments and pregnancy after loss.
For Those Celebrating Their Rainbow: Rainbow Wall Hanging by Life After Miscarriage
Honor a rainbow baby with this sweet wall hanging. Perfect for a nursery!
If you need support or someone to talk to, call or text the M+A Hotline on 1-833-246-2632 or visit mahotline.org
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