Being diagnosed with unexplained infertility as a medical provider makes the head really spin. I currently work as a doctorate nurse practitioner and felt I could do more to help others. After experiencing a miscarriage, I knew there was more going on. Exhausted and confused, we proceeded and endured three failed IUIs. We decided it was time to take a break. During this break, I took part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was selected by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for a health policy fellowship for one month in Washington, DC. Little did I know how this opportunity would play into my future of helping others who are experiencing infertility.
Tara and her beautiful family
After I returned, we scheduled a consultation with a new doctor and began down the IVF path. During this, I experienced a canceled transfer. I was not prepared for the emotions that play into a canceled transfer. We decided to do genetic testing and had two beautiful embryos transferred on May 1st, 2017. I would soon be devastated to find out that we miscarried one embryo yet filled with joy that I was finally pregnant.
My pregnancy was normal and going well. It took a long time for me to sit back and enjoy being pregnant without any fear or anxiety, yet I’m not sure that ever truly happened. At 32 weeks, I was rushed via helicopter two hours away to my OB where I spent three nights in the hospital. It was determined that I had a placenta abruption, but everything remained normal. I then spent another four weeks living two hours from home to remain close to my OB. At 39 weeks, Hayden surprised us and was born via emergency c-section. He is a happy and healthy toddler who gives me the courage and strength to keep fighting for others in the wait.
While on maternity leave, it was like a wave of what had all happened over two years finally hit me. I felt so many emotions for what we had just been through but more for those still walking this long journey. That November, I started working with Resolve to determine what steps needed to be done to introduce the first-ever bill into North Dakota Legislation mandating insurance coverage for infertility care and fertility preservation. In three short months, I had a bill with sponsors, a committee hearing, and the bill heard on the Senate floor. Unfortunately, the bill failed, but so much good came from this event. In 2021, legislation was brought forward again to mandate insurance coverage for infertility benefits and fertility preservation. We more than doubled our support during this session but the bill failed once again.
I felt we needed to keep the momentum and awareness alive in the state beyond legislation. Everlasting Hope was established in July 2019 and is the first and only infertility nonprofit in the state of North Dakota and South Dakota (2020). The mission is to create public awareness that infertility is a treatable medical condition and provide support and resources for patients living in North Dakota and South Dakota. We also award grants to help offset medical expenses for patients with no infertility insurance.
I have expanded my career as a doctorate nurse practitioner to a fertility coach. My wish is to help couples better navigate their individualized journey to build their family. My care extends beyond conception and into pregnancy after infertility to support this next stage that is often full of anxiety and fear. I have turned my hurt into hope. It truly brings me joy to share our journey, be there for those going through infertility, and be a source of support.
About Tara Brandner
Tara works as an experienced North Dakota-based doctorate family nurse practitioner and now a fertility coach with patients worldwide. She received her master’s and doctorate degree from George Washington University and has received an additional certification through the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). After enduring a long road through infertility followed by a traumatic pregnancy, she turned her hurt into hope for others. Tara offers a personalized approach to infertility care to help you get unstuck and avoid the fertility journey’s common pitfalls. In addition, she provides services for a peaceful pregnancy after infertility. She has combined her experience as a healthcare professional and personal struggle to help navigate infertility couples through their family building path. Find Tara at Tara B Fertility!