In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 21-27), I sat down with Richland Library Workforce Development Specialist and Infertility Advocate, Andrena Nadine King, to talk about her journey from infertility to baby.
Infertility affects one in eight couples in America. It is a painful and demoralizing journey.
Society needs to remove stigma and be sensitive to people dealing with this emotional roller coaster of hoping for a baby and then having their hopes crushed month after month, year after year. People need to stop saying “y'all need to relax and go on a vacation” or “why don’t you just adopt a baby” to couples.
What those dealing with Infertility need is unconditional and non-judgmental love and support, not suggestions on how they choose to resolve their journey.
When Andrena revealed to us at a department meeting in August 2018 that she was pregnant, we all collectively cheered and clapped with joy.
And while Andrena has fulfilled her dream of parenthood, she has clearly not forgotten those who are left behind. I admire her desire to raise awareness for this cause and to provide support to those who struggle to conceive.
Here's a little more about her journey.
How did you meet your husband and when did you get married?
Chris and I are from the same home town (Manning, SC) and we met in middle school. We got married on October 12, 2013.
When did you get your diagnosis and how did you take the news?
We were diagnosed with infertility about 4 years ago after trying on our own to conceive. My gynecologist at the time recommended doing some initial tests (blood work) to see how we should move forward.
After she provided results we were not convinced. We were devastated and didn't know where to turn or how to move forward. After the initial shock, we decided to get a second opinion. We are so glad that we did.
Our second opinion results showed that both of my Fallopian Tubes were blocked (one resulted from scar tissue from a previous surgery and the other was blocked by a cyst). Our fertility doctor removed the cyst and recommended we move forward with fertility treatments.
What treatment options did you explore?
We did three rounds of IUI (Inter-uterine Insemination). They all failed. The financial and emotional burden was too much so we took a year-long break from treatments. During my break, I focused on helping others and advocating for insurance coverage for infertility treatments and tests. Our final treatment option was IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization)
You testified in front of congress to introduce a new bill, tell us about that experience.
I won a grant to attend Advocacy Day in Washington DC a few years ago. My focus was to advocate to get support for the S.10 Legislation to get legislatures to mandate insurance companies to cover infertility treatments. It was a rewarding experience meeting other advocates from around the world but discouraging to see the lack of support for the legislation in our state of South Carolina to bring awareness and support those struggling to conceive.
You started a new support group for Infertility in Columbia, a chapter with RESOLVE. Why was this important to you?
The RESOLVE-Columbia Chapter of the National Infertility Association has been meeting now for almost three years. It was important for me because I needed the support of others going through the same journey that I could talk to. It made a major impact on me by helping others like me.
How long after you started trying for a baby did you get the good news?
3 1/2 years
How were you able to sustain hope through this journey?
My husband and I have a strong faith in God and we couldn't have gone through this journey without our faith and the prayers of our family, church and friends. It has gotten us through the disappointment, pain and financial burden. Our faith kept us moving forward and did not let us give up on our desire to be parents.
What advice would you give to people experiencing infertility?
My advice to others is to surround yourself with a great support system that will encourage, support and pray for you.
Experiencing infertility isn't anything to be ashamed of. It doesn't define you and you are not the only one going through the experience.
Also, be willing to advocate for yourself regarding your medical treatments and advice given by doctors. Don't be afraid to ask questions and pursue the best option for you and your family.
Finally, be open to the various ways or options available for you to experience being a parent.
If you or a loved one have received a diagnosis of infertility. We're here to help. Below is a selection of resources to help you through your journey.
From personal stories to treatment options to support groups, books are excellent guides to learn more about what to expect when you cannot conceive. Check them out, here.
Resolve Infertility Support group at Columbia, SC meets on the second Monday of every month at Richland Library Main. For more information, Click here
Online Support Groups and Forums:
- Fertility Institute
- Fertility Answers
- Baby Center Infertility Support Group
- Oprah Magazine Infertility Support Group
Health Insurance Coverage by State:
General Information on Infertility:
Research and Readers Advisory Professional
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