THE DEVASTATING REALITY OF STRUGGLING WITH INFERTILITY
Jen Chen wants to bring awareness to infertility and tell people that they're not alone. “Many people suffer from it,” she said. “And they don't have to be quiet anymore.”
For two years, Jen and her husband, who live in New York, tried to have a baby with no success. They did intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilizations (IVFs) and fertility treatments. The first IVF worked, but then sadly she miscarried.
She and her husband thought they’d have success right away on their fertility journey, but that didn't happen. “After I had my loss and I couldn't get pregnant again from the second IVF treatment,” Jen recalls, “I knew I had to ask for help from somewhere else. I had to get another opinion.” She went to a trusted OB/GYN out on Long Island who told her she had mild endometriosis. After getting that diagnosis, and treating it, she was able to get pregnant seven months later.
“I tell everyone always, always ask questions,” Jen said. “Don't be afraid to find out, get opinions from other doctors and rule out anything that could possibly hinder your chances of getting pregnant.”
When the IUI treatments didn't work, Jen was devastated. “I was just so disappointed and felt so alone,” she remembered. “I felt like I didn't have anyone there because I was ashamed and scared to tell people about my journey.” When the last treatment worked, she was able to tell others. “It felt so good to share my story with everyone.”
Since sharing her story, Jen is proud to help other pregnant people to advocate for themselves and to encourage them not to give up. While everyone’s journey is different, she didn't give up for herself and went through two long years, but to her the struggle was worth it.
For someone who is suffering with infertility, her advice is simple. See a doctor. “If you're trying for a year or more and nothing is happening,” she said, “find out what the underlying issue is. Whatever it is, whether it's your partner, whether it's you, advocate for yourself and find out what could possibly be hindering it.”
She also believes having support during this difficult time is essential. “I felt so alone. The only time I opened up about my fertility journey was last year, when I had my endometriosis diagnosed. And it was a big surgery. I was nervous and told both sets of parents, who were so supportive. I felt so much weight lifted off my shoulders.”
After the third attempt, and once her baby was born, she opened up on social media and connected with women all around the world. They thanked her for sharing her story and reached out for advice. “Recently someone asked me, do you have hypothyroid? Did you have success with that? And I said, yes. I have hypothyroid and I got it treated. I just love helping people any way I can.”
If she could talk to her younger self, Jen would tell her to find out sooner about her fertility. She would also tell herself to watch out for her health and make sure that there's nothing that could go wrong. “We started in my late 20s and I thought it'd be easy,” she said. “The earlier you find out, the sooner you can have your success and have a baby.”
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