Reflecting on National Infertility Awareness Week 2022

Rebecca Hochreiter

CMO of GoStork

It’s been a busy and eventful week for GoStork and the infertility community. Thanks to RESOLVE’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), we had the opportunity to connect with many inspiring infertility advocates and professionals who empower others on a daily basis and add so much to the infertility conversation.

Did you know?

🧡 In 1989 @ResolveOrg founded NIAW to change the conversation, educate the public about issues facing the infertility community, and encourage intended parents to share their experiences dealing with this diagnosis.

🧡 NIAW helps to normalize honest conversation for intended parents who bear the weight of their diagnosis, and often, the obligation to explain their condition to friends, family, and others around them.

🧡 “This week unites millions of Americans who want to remove the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of building families.”

🧡 Each year, GoStork donates 1% of its revenue to RESOLVE and the 1 in 8.

Reflecting back on NIAW, we wanted to highlight some of the events, initiatives and social media posts that made this week an amazing one. Check them out below! 

The Two Sides of Surrogacy: An Instagram Live with Alex Kornswiet and Madison Williams

Ahead of NIAW, I had the pleasure of hosting the incredible Alex from @ourbeautifulsurprise and her gestational carrier, Madison. Alex and Madison shared their perspectives on the surrogacy journey, how they both came to surrogacy, the screening process, pregnancy and delivery as well as the elements that made their journey a successful one. Check out our recap or watch the IG Live here.

GoStork in the New York Post 

We were thrilled to be featured in the New York Post’s extensive infertility segment! Thank you to Perri Ormont Blumberg and the New York Post for dedicating an entire section of the paper to shed light on infertility (showing that we’re making progress with media awareness around this important time and topic), as well as for featuring our Founder Eran Amir’s family building journey, the inspiration for GoStork, our vision, and how our unique marketplace is supporting so many more intended parents. Check it out here.

GoStork Founder Eran Amir’s family building journey was featured on the New York Post

International Donor Conception Awareness Day

Wednesday was dedicated to donor conception: donor conceived people who bring awareness by sharing their stories and advocating for the rights of others, the amazing donors who help intended parents conceive the child they’ve hoped for, and all the health care professionals who support and care for intended parents, donors and donor conceived people.

Learn more about international donor conception awareness day and this year’s theme, “Let’s Talk, Listen and Learn” here.

Instagram Live with Erin Bulcao from @mybeautifulblunder

GoStork Founder Eran Amir joined Erin Bulcao, the inspiring IUI and IVF mom of three, passionately supporting and encouraging others by openly sharing her story. It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with amazing fertility advocates like Erin to raise awareness on all paths to parenthood. 

The FU Project Podcast with Tasha Blasi

Eran was a guest on Tasha Blasi’s amazing podcast The FU Project. Tasha is a fertility consultant and advocate working tirelessly with fertility patients as they navigate their journey. You can listen to the podcast here. Thank you to Tasha for the opportunity to share the unique ways we support intended parents and for covering so many important topics during her podcasts episodes (including how to communicate with your fertility doctor, navigating pregnancy after a loss, advice from fertility lawyers, and much more!) Learn more about Tasha and her services, here.

Coping Strategies Along the Infertility Journey

Throughout the week, we featured coping mechanisms recommended by experts for situations many face throughout their infertility journey. Learn more about each below:

#1 When friends or family make comments or give unsolicited advice

Dr. Elizabeth Grill and Dr. Alice Domar, Co-Founders of FertiCalm suggest that when this happens, your response depends on what you’re comfortable disclosing. If, for instance, someone asks you when you plan on having kids, you can either use humor in your response, or otherwise try to educate that person so they don’t make the same mistake again. If you’re comfortable sharing what you’re going through, you can say something along the lines of, “We’re seeing a physician for fertility issues”, or “That didn’t land well, here’s why:”. Many people experiencing infertility aren’t comfortable sharing what they’re going through, and it also depends on the person you are talking to and your relationship with them … is it worth investing the time? When it comes to people who you know will never change their approach, you have to protect your boundaries – they’re not worth your time or hurt.

Dr. Elizabeth Grill and Dr. Alice Domar, Co-Founders of FertiCalm

#2 Surviving family events and holidays

The infertility journey is filled with lots of different phases, places, and people that can act as a trigger and make you feel ‘othered’. Aimee Baron, Founder of I Was Supposed to Have a Baby recommends two ways for dealing with events:

– You have to decide for yourself what is important for you to attend, what’s not, and what you can handle emotionally. This is different for each person. Some make a hierarchy of things they must or can attend and others they’re OK to miss. What you’re going through is emotional, but your feelings are as valid as any physical illness as a reason to skip certain occasions.

– Have a code word for yourself and your partner (or a friend), and when you’re starting to feel like you can’t take it anymore, just say the word and the other person should know that you’ve had enough and you need to leave – and the same in reverse of course if they need to. It helps to plan your out so that you’re not struggling and searching for it at the moment you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Aimee Baron MD, Founder of I Was Supposed to Have a Baby

#3 When you’re invited to a baby shower

If you’re invited to a baby shower but don’t feel comfortable attending, prepare in advance and avoid it if you think it may trigger you. Marriage and Family Therapist Samantha Lavy recommends you talk about it with your partner, and if you’re comfortable, with the person who invited you. When you’re trying to have a baby, everything can be a trigger and it’s really hard to prepare for that feeling. It’s important to communicate and express your feelings. If you decide to attend, you can role play conversations in advance so that you’re prepared with a thought-out answer that you’re comfortable with – you can also process this together with your therapist who will have ideas you can use. 

Samantha Lavy, Marriage and Family Therapist

#4 Connecting with your partner

Fertility Coach Caryn Rich suggests reminding yourself of the things you liked doing before infertility and to do the things you enjoyed. Dinners you love, dates… it shouldn’t be all about making a baby. You need to make time for yourself, and for each other and – more importantly – you have to be on the same page. As Caryn says, “Your partner can be your best advocate or your worst enemy through this whole thing. So you have to stay connected, you have to find a way to stay connected.” Dedicate time to talk about what you want, what your partner wants and what your end game is. Go to movies, a wine and paint night or do something else that’s creative together. At the same time, reserve time for yourself, to go out with your friends. Strike a balance. As Caryn notes, the process is hard and it will drive you crazy if you let it, so you have to identify what you enjoy doing and keep on doing it.

Caryn Rich, Fertility Coach

#5 Identifying your feelings – and opening up to them

Fertility Coach Monica Bivas recommends activities, such as coloring, reading or knitting to help distract your mind from negative thoughts. However, as she emphasizes, it’s important to open up to those negative feelings – piling them all up will only result in toxic positivity. Rant, give your feelings space, feel them and then move on. If you have someone you trust, share your feelings with them. Identifying your feelings is the only way to let go and to open a space to create. Once you do that, you can think of ways to make things easier. As Monica explains, the only thing we can control is how we act upon what’s happening; what you can do to ease the hurt.

Monica Bivas, Fertility Coach

#6 Privacy

As Psychotherapist Lori Metz, LCSW notes, it’s important to remember that you’re allowed to have privacy until you’re ready to share. Sharing what you’re going through with people who are experiencing something similar to start, can help you feel more understood”

Lori Metz, LCSW, Psychotherapist, Author of the book “I Dreamed of You, the story of an egg donor baby”, and host of the podcast LIFE: Live, Insight, Fertility, Experience

When social media becomes too much

Social media platforms we use daily are full of pregnancy announcements and baby photos. Close it down for a while, and if you feel better after a couple of days (which should tell you something) stay away longer. The priority is to take care of yourself.

Dr. Elizabeth Grill and Dr. Alice Domar, Co-Founders of FertiCalm

Thank you RESOLVE for organizing yet another successful week – which gets bigger and bigger every year… it’s really inspiring for the entire community! 

Intended parents, learn more about RESOLVE and how GoStork supports the organization all year round.

Ready to start your journey? At GoStork, we’re here to support as you research your family-building options, connect with providers that may be your ideal match, and make your final decision about which to move forwards with. Join us today to keep learning about your fertility options, and to find the ideal providers to help you on your journey. Start by creating your account here.