Many families struggle to get pregnant. This week is national infertility awareness week. Organizers say the goal is not only to raise awareness but decrease the negativity surrounding infertility.
“He and his staff saved me, they gave me a chance, they gave me a baby,” said Carrie Williams, a women who struggled with infertility. About 12 percent of women aged 15 to 44 in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carrie Williams was part of that statistic…trying everything to start a family since she was in her early twenties. “I tried the Clomid, I lost over 100 pounds because they told me obesity was an issue,” said Williams.
Along with her infertility issues Williams had also experienced a miscarriage. She says she felt as if she was missing out on something that seemed so easy for others in her life. “I had to go through a lot of watching friends have babies, watching relatives have babies and still had this emptiness that i could not fill,” said Williams. And would try anything to get rid of that empty feeling. “I couldn’t fill it with anything…hiking, hobbies you know,” said Williams.
Williams is now 36 years old and ten weeks pregnant…expecting her first child thanks to the Southern California Reproductive Center. She went through IVF last June and had her first frozen embryo transfer that August which was unsuccessful. This past February she chose a different type of frozen embryo transfer called preimplantation genetic diagnosis. With this process they test the embryo for chromosome balance. This method is often chosen by patients who have no underlying genetic problems but are infertile.
The chance of having a baby decreases every year after the age of 30 according to the CDC. Experts suggest for women younger than 35 they should try for at least a year and for those 35 years or older they recommend trying for 6 months before seeing a doctor. “They are telling me you’re over 35 and your eggs are no longer good and then that was it,” said Williams.
Doctor Daniel Rychlik with the Southern California Reproductive Center says that his team hopes to change that with advanced technology. “A lot of women out there struggle with the inability to have a family and we can actually bring that to them, so in a lot of things in medicine that deal with negativity we deal with positivity,” said Rychlik. Williams encourages others struggling with infertility to try everything because when it finally happens all the pain becomes worth the future family. “Never give up on something that you can’t stop thinking about every single day,” said Williams.
For the two frozen embryo transfers, the egg retrieval and the genetic testing and freezing the IVF treatment Williams received costs about 22,000 dollars. Some of that cost is covered by insurance. The Southern California reproductive center, located on Old River Road, is hosting a free fertility educational event. To sign up for that event, click here.