It's all about the end game in Dr. Atul Gawande's, "The Score"

Your bag's at the door; the dog walker's lined up. You could recite your birth plan in your sleep. 

It's time. You're nervous, excited, a little scared...but you're ready. Things start off just how you imagine. 

But, sometimes the best of plans don't work out. Life intervenes with the unexpected, and sometimes, things fall apart. Remember this: No matter what your plan entails, no matter how things work out, the end goal is simple. Healthy mom, healthy baby. That's what matters most. 

Beloved doctor and renowned writer, Dr. Atul Gawande walks us through the history and evolution of modern-day birth culture, in this throwback New Yorker article, The Score

Zanna Roberts Rassi gives the lowdown on fertility treatments

Zanna Roberts Rassi, friend of preconceive founder Sarah Robinson, shares the story of her long road to pregnancy (thanks Cricket’s Circle and Zanna!).  She profiles the challenges so many women face with fertility treatments.  Whether it’s via egg freezing or IVF, the pain points are the same: you’re drained physically, emotionally, financially, and feeling completely alone. Boy, howdy!

 

Anyone who has googled infertility (try it, we dare you…) can empathize with Zanna’s sentiments when she says: “I didn’t feel there was one source out there I could really trust.”  Yes!  We agree!  This is one of the many reasons we created preconceive.  We are building our arsenal of medically-vetted content because we concur–who wants to scour 50 different websites only to find content that is confusing or irrelevant?  No one.

Asking your doctors questions about your fertility process can make you feel like Andy speaking to Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada.  Zanna advises: “You have invested everything into this, so don’t be scared to bug people.  I found I’d get brushed off–they know the procedure so well, but I didn’t.”  You have enough to worry about in a fertility treatment cycle.  The last thing you need is to fight to get your questions answered.  When you have questions, we’ll connect you with somebody who knows what’s up.

In the words of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, sometimes parents just don’t understand–and sometimes neither do friends.  “As much as your friends want to understand, you need to find someone who has been through it,” says Zanna.  “It’s definitely about having experienced people around you.  I sense when people are going through it now–and I open up straight away and invariably people tell me what they’re going through.”  Hollllller!  Infertility happens to 1 in 6 people–yeah, it’s that common.  We are building a community to help you and others like you know they’re not alone.  We’re kicking those boring old message boards to the curb, so join us!

The future of health insurance and employee benefits: reproductive health

There are different ways to interpret Apple and Facebook’s adding egg freezing coverage to the employee benefits packages.  By itself, egg freezing can be empowering and liberating to women who worry about being able to achieve their career goals and have a family.   But for some complications arise when the egg freezing is payed for by an employer and they question why the employer is paying for it.

Whatever the message to women about their careers, the introduction of egg freezing as a subsidized employee health benefit does send a message to other employers and health care providers about the future of reproductive health care.  And not just by proving that reproductive health insurance insurance benefits are good for business.

“Despite ample evidence that covering assisted reproductive technology is generally good for business—a 2008 review found that 91 percent of companies that cover fertility treatments didn’t see a rise in costs to the employers—the vast majority of American employers still decline to provide the benefit, dismissing it as too expensive.”  Slate

“Benefits are, in addition to everything else, social indicators.  They reveal what we value, as a culture.  Paternity leave?  Reassignment surgery for transgendered employees?  Those offerings are bureaucratic changes that also show us where we are, and where we’re headed, together.“  The Atlantic

“Perhaps Facebook and Apple’s internal policy shift signals future progress for American women working at less prestigious jobs. Or perhaps it will remain as yet another example of how full reproductive choices are out of reach for most women.”  Slate

“So while the companies’ inclusion of egg-freezing [sic] as a health benefit may certainly be part of the Valley’s notorious perks arms race, you could also read it as a sign that egg-freezing has reached a kind of cultural normalcy.“  The Atlantic

Whether or not it’s covered by your employer and however you interpret Silicon Valley’s new health insurance program, the decision to freeze your eggs (or not) is a personal one and entirely up to you.  All of this media coverage has inspired many women to think about their fertility preservation and to wonder if egg freezing is right for them.

The loneliness of infertility treatments and the “Sadness DMV”

No honest account of infertility is going to be pleasant, but many can make you feel worse when you finish reading than before you started.  For those of you as sick of it as we are, we highly recommend Allyson Downey’s article “The Saddest Room on Earth.”  It’s uplifting.  It’s a game changer.  It’s for real.

Downey articulates the loneliness and anxiety that’s almost palpable in fertility clinic waiting rooms, the strange etiquette that resembles a “men’s urinal” and the reasons why your usual support network just doesn’t cut it once you walk through the door of the “Sadness DMV”.  If you are feeling exhausted, lonely, frustrated, angry give this article a read.  It’s impossible not to make you feel better and less alone in your infertility struggles.  To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the moments when Downey’s words made us say, “Amen, sister!”

“I considered myself mentally prepped (or at least steeled) for the medical stuff….  What I didn’t expect was the sense of deflation that hit me each time I stepped into that waiting room, week after week and eventually day after day.”

“I’d go in there a few times a week and sit among dozens of women who were deliberately not meeting each other’s eyes….  The etiquette was what I imagine a men’s urinal must be like.”

“I told my husband it felt like the saddest room on Earth, waiting beside all of these people who are going through the exact pain you are, bust still feeling entirely alone in it.”

“With my friends and family, I was afraid I’d have to start carrying their hopes and expectations along with my own, and that was too heavy a burden to fathom.  I didn’t even tell my mother.”

“Everything else I got from the internet, which if you haven’t figured it out already, is a terrible place to go for medical advice or understanding.  For every legitimate article from an actual professional, there are 50 search results for message board posts from desperate women who know as little (or less) than you do, expressing their own anxieties and weighing in on others’.”

“I’m a true believer in the power of communities, particularly for parents and parents-to-be.”

“But for women (and men) struggling with infertility, there’s no real sense of belonging, because there’s no easy way to figure out who else is in your shoes.”

“There’s a virtual sisterhood for infertility, if you can only find the others who’ve struggled with it (or are struggling with it).”

“Find each other, and build your village.”