Let me take you back to Valentine’s Day 2020. On a day dedicated to celebrating love, I chose to practice self-love by prioritizing my goals. Little did I know self-love and self-care was going to be the recurring theme in 2020 for most of us. And so, there I was at Kindbody’s 5th Avenue, New York location for an egg freezing assessment.
I decided to move forward with an assessment after attending an informative Fertility 101 session at Kindbody in January. On the day of my assessment, I was nervous about my results and what that could mean for my path forward. A typical assessment consists of an ultrasound and blood work – results are provided within 3-4 days. The entire Kindbody team was supportive and comforting, making my first visit that mucheasier. That day I met one of the stars in my journey, Dr. Browne. Very quickly turned my anxiety of “what will my results be?” to “what’s my end goal…and let’s figure out how to accomplish it.”
It became very clear that this journey should only begin if I set goals. This inevitably led to a month of self-reflection and something I’d encourage you to do if you ever envisioned having a family. Question your intentions. Does your ideal family consist of only biological kids or would you consider adoption or surrogacy? How many kids? Does your ideal family life involve a partner or would you consider being a single mom? For me, I knew that I always wanted kids (both biological and adopted) and that I indeed wanted to have a family with a partner. Considering this vision, acknowledging my relationship status, and understanding my baseline levels, I realized that egg freezing was the best decision for me at the given time.
“Question your intentions.”
My next action item was to do my due diligence as a patient and make an informed decision on where I’d like to embark this journey. Fertility clinics are a competition of its own, something I picked up on as I continued my online research (not to mention the social media ads that popped up on my feed!). I knew that it was important for me to feel comfortable and heard. While learning about the facts on fertility was difficult to swallow, the energy and vibe that the Kindbody team shared was so comforting. I, like many patients, vetted other fertility clinics too but in the end I chose Kindbody because it felt like family. They weren’t out to pressure me and sell their services but rather had a genuine interest in helping pursue my goals. I also LOVED that it was led and staffed by an ALL female team.
Soon enough, I completed my first round of egg freezing which unfortunately didn’t result the way I had hoped for. But that leads me to one of my biggest takeaways from this process: everyone’s fertility story is different. There is no one-size-fits-all method and your treatment plan is unique to you, your body, and your goals. After two weeks of frequent appointments, self-administering injections, and diligently following the instructions that were given to me, I thought I’d at least have a promising result. That’s not how fertility works though. Even if you “did all the right things,” sometimes your body needs a different way to meet your goal. It took some coaching and love from my clinical team and support system to realize that this wasn’t my fault. As humans, we tend to perceive that we have full control over our bodies and health outcomes. The truth is we don’t. More importantly, it is not our fault if we don’t get the results we desire. I am sure those pursuing egg freezing and/or IVF can attest to this.
“Everyone’s fertility story is different. There is no one-size-fits-all method and your treatment plan is unique to you, your body, and your goals. ”
After my first round, Dr. Browne and the clinical team took action immediately to come up with a new plan based on my response. This made me feel hopeful and more importantly, supported. Therefore, I opted to try again and go for a second round. This time, the team was cheering even harder for me. They may not have even realized their bursts of enthusiasm meant so much to me. Stress management also played a big role in my process. This round I was much more cognizant of my anxiety and was intentional about combating stress. Happy to share that the second round had much better results!
Ok, so now that you know how my journey is so far… let’s address the large elephant in the room: COVID-19. First, we’ve realized this pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon…but the reality is fertility is essential care and shouldn’t be delayed. Going through this journey was challenging in itself emotionally. When you layer on the lifestyle adjustments due to COVID-19, it adds another level of fear and loneliness given your limited in-person interactions. Getting support virtually through your friends and family is critical for this process. If you are someone that braved this journey during 2020 or will be in early 2021, extra kudos to you!
“The reality is fertility is essential care and shouldn’t be delayed. ”
I am grateful for this opportunity and that we live in a world where science and medicine has made this an option. My motto is “proactive is always better than reactive” – especially for something related to your health and wellbeing. If there is anything 2020 has taught us, it’s that nothing is guaranteed and there are always going to be some things we cannot control. But for the things you can, hold on to that power, be kind to yourself, and go for whatever your heart desires.
All in all, here are my key takeaways:
If you know your family goals and are in a similar position as me, then I encourage you to consider egg freezing.
Do your research and ask as many questions as you need.
Decide whose shoulders you’ll be leaning on. Remember, this is your journey and you get to choose who is going to share it with you.
Find your zen zone during this process – you will need it.
Lastly, everyone’s fertility journey is different. Try your best and know that if results don’t work out the way you hope, it’s not your fault.