I was at a girl’s brunch a while back, sitting at a table with some of my closest friends when one commented, “they say you can’t put a value on children, but I can. My daughter cost $30,000!” What was more surprising than her tongue-in-cheek joke, was that most of us didn’t know she had undergone IVF.
The shroud of secrecy around infertility is so deep that you are sure to know a dozen children who were conceived through IVF, and yet have no idea. This posed a new challenge for us in our product design journey - finding users to test out our first prototypes. How were we going to find women to provide feedback on our organizers, when they would have to reveal a deeply protected truth?
And that’s when the magic of the internet surprised me. The more I shared about MyVitro, our mission, how we help prep for IVF, and our own infertility journey, the more people opened up about their personal experience. We don’t want to keep it a secret, it was culturally ingrained in us to avoid discussing infertility treatment, stranding us all on islands without support.
During my first cycle I messed up one of my injections, and my fertility clinic provided me a replacement ASAP. They gave it to me in a brown paper bag - as if it were pornography or a 40 oz that I was hiding from the police. They were respecting my privacy but also sending signals that I should keep what was inside a secret.
Those who are undergoing fertility treatments have nothing to be ashamed of. With every new text, DM or comment from someone sharing their story, the more optimistic I am that we will change the perception of infertility. That we will find connection and community with each other, breaking the stigma and the silence. That we will get help with the struggle of IVF injections as freely as we share tips on travel destinations or new coffee shops. So thank you to the women who have so generously offered their insight on infertility treatments (in person, over the phone, and via email), so we can create an organizer for IVF medications that will help women reduce the stress of IVF.
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