12 Women Offer Honest, Authentic Infertility Advice

Affectionate young couple in love with a baby at home, resting on bed.

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Did you know that roughly 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility? If you've landed on this post, I'm willing to bet you're likely one of those eight. (And if not, perhaps you know someone who is.) I know how this feels because I was you. I'd search the web high and low looking for any piece of advice to hold onto as my husband and I entered each new stage of our journey to baby.

While the word "infertility" is often tossed around, it has a clinical definition.

Infertility

Infertility is defined as being unable to conceive after having unprotected sex for one year, and it is considered to be a disease of the reproductive system.

Age can play a role in your chances of conceiving. If you're over 35 years of age and have tried unsuccessfully to conceive for at least six months, talk to your healthcare provider about an evaluation.

Whether you're just starting out on this path or are entering your third round of in vitro fertilization, it can feel difficult to start a new month knowing the pain of the last. To say infertility is messy and draining is an understatement. But, know that you are not alone.

Despite how isolating it may feel, there are many other women (and men) who are walking right beside you. I've asked women who have been through, or are going through, this challenging experience to share how it feels. Here, they offer their best pieces of infertility advice.

Liz Shaw

Liz's Story

"I'd be remiss not to share with you the journey to my two miracles and what I learned along the way. My husband and I spent four and a half years trying to bring a baby into our family before we finally saw our two pink lines.

Save this to come back to you when you need that reminder of hope because I promise you, your rainbow is out there.

After being told our chances of conceiving naturally were slim, we entered into the assisted reproductive technology route, trying both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

While neither procedure led to our miracles, we knew one way or another we'd eventually become parents and decided to take some time off from the constant pricking and probing to regroup. Lo and behold, during our break from IVF cycles we were blessed with our first greatest gift that was certainly worth the wait.

When we began trying for another, our journey wasn't a smooth sail either. It certainly reminded us that where there's a will, there's a way. After 11 months of trying and two visits to separate OB/GYNs for fertility testing, we saw those two pink lines again. We recently welcomed our son into our crew.

Infertility will show you the strength you have to survive whatever is thrown at you in life. It will test your patience and it may destroy your 'plans' as to what you envisioned your life would be like at that moment in time, but it will not define you.

If you let it, infertility may open up some of the best friendships you never knew you were missing through the shared experience of battling something so deep and raw. Most importantly, infertility will remind you daily to #NeverLoseHope."

Follow Liz on Instagram @shawsimpleswaps and @bumps2baby.

Min Kwon

Min's Story

"I spent 10 years of my marriage consumed with getting pregnant. It was a heartbreaking, exhausting, and isolating journey. Every month when my darn menstrual cycle showed up, it felt like I had just lost a baby. It made me feel broken and less than.

Fast forward to now, I am a mom of two beautiful children, thanks to IVF and IUI (secondary infertility is just as hard as the first), and the Lord who strengthened and sustained me. 

Infertility is hard. Very hard not to lose hope. But I want to encourage you: don’t be afraid to hope. Know that something will happen because nothing stays the same forever. Now, it may not happen the way we plan, but it will come. And you’ll find beauty in it."

Follow Min on Instagram @kidfriendly.meals.

Lorie Yarro

Lorie's Story

"After getting pregnant quite easily, we were blindsided when our first pregnancy ended in loss, and a year later we miscarried again. Fertility treatments, hormones, and all the medications did not bring us any closer to growing our family.

After years of struggle and loss, we shifted to adoption and the most perfect baby boy became ours forever!

When you know someone struggling with infertility, acknowledge and respect where they are on their journey. When we shifted to adoption, so many people would tell us not to give up hope on getting pregnant, or stories of others who got pregnant once they started their adoption journey.

When we shifted to adoption, our plan was to adopt, and that was where all of our hope and energy was focused. We wanted others to celebrate that along with us!"

Follow Lorie on Instagram @lemonsandzest.

Nina Leicht-Crist

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Nina Leicht-Crist

Nina's Story

"Since I was four years old I knew I wanted to deliver babies. Although I cared for hundreds of women during their pregnancy and was part of dozens of births, I had to wait 13 years (IVF/ICSI, FET, PGT) before it was my turn to hold a baby in my arms. Without REI [reproductive endocrinology and infertility] specialists, he would not be here today.

Infertility is unfair, unbiased, and non-racist. It doesn’t care about life plans, goals, or dreams. If you (the couple) are not all in from the start—financially, emotionally, physically, and psychologically—you might not want to begin this journey."

Follow Nina on Instagram @nylc11.

Shamonda Dunton

Shamonda's Story

"My husband and I have been waiting to become parents for over 17 years now. My diagnosis was given pretty early in our journey; endometriosis, hydrosalpinx, and uterine fibroids. We did get pregnant naturally, but it was an ectopic pregnancy, and then we miscarried again in our second IVF attempt.

After 10 surgeries, we're still trying and have considered other parenting avenues. The possibilities are endless!  

Do not forget to live while in the waiting room to become parents! So many of us focus on what's missing rather than what we already have. In doing that, you jeopardize your joy in simply living. So, please do yourself and your spouse a favor, and plan the next vacation now!"

Follow Shamonda on Instagram @nesting41.

Wendy Jo Peterson

Wendy's Story

"Between military moves and deployments, doctors continued to push off the idea I had any fertility issues. It took me five years to get in to see a reproductive endocrinologist, and [then I] finally got an official diagnosis of PCOS. I was able to assess what needed to be done and move forward. 

It's okay to feel what you're feeling—the frustration, the anger, the fear. Walk through it all and find someone who can help you process it as you need. Set your filter, and be upfront with friends on things you can hear, and things you would rather avoid talking about. It's okay to not go to everyone's baby shower and [instead] just send a gift."

Follow Wendy on Instagram @just_wendyjo.

April Christina

April's Story

"I found out that my AMH level was low, which meant that I had a low ovarian reserve. I was also diagnosed with endometriosis nine years ago. I went straight to IVF. Personally, I did not want to waste any time on anything else. I had my first IVF cycle this past January that didn’t result in a child, [and we are] working on our second cycle now. 

Infertility can affect anyone. No respect for age or color. However, there are amazing resources to help you through your journey. Everyone’s journey is unique to them. Sometimes you may need to take breaks and regroup. That’s okay. Emotional and mental health is key!"

Follow April on Instagram @imaprilchristina.

Nathalie Carpenter

Nathalie's Story

"My story is one of falling into infertility and never leaving despite my best efforts. While not not trying (in late 2013), I saw a fertility specialist 'to make sure everything was okay.'

Over the last seven years, I have worked with six different reproductive endocrinologists and one endocrinologist. I was given an unexplained infertility diagnosis (in 2015) turned endometriosis diagnosis (in 2019), have had two IUIs and four IVFs resulting in two viable embryos—one of which is now three and the light of my life.

Infertility isn’t linear. There is almost never a clear-cut path. It can be infuriatingly long and emotionally heart-wrenching. The best way to support friends or family members who are struggling to expand their families is to refrain from trying to fix the issue with anecdotal suggestions.

Instead of offering unsolicited advice, check-in with words of support and love. When you don’t know exactly what to say, flowers, a trinket, or a card that says, 'I’m thinking of you,' can go a long way in making someone feel seen and loved."

Follow Nathalie on Instagram @fertilust.

Jasmine Katatikarn

Jasmine's Story

"I grew up with a perfect plan. [It was] the perfect plan that society often feeds us: study hard, get into a good school, get a good job, marry, have 2.5 kids, work hard, and then retire at 65. Sound familiar? 

I was going along with this plan blindly until it was time to have kids. In 'my perfect plan,' I would have three kids by 35. Instead, at age 35, after multiple IUIs and my second failed IVF cycle—during which none of my embryos made it to day five—I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office. She told me I had less than a 1% chance of having a child and that I should stop trying. [This was] far from the life I had planned for myself. 

What happened next is the moment when everything changed for me. Instead of giving up, I approached my fertility from a different perspective. As a result, I became pregnant within months after being told I had less than a 1% chance. How did I do it? 

I applied creative thinking and problem solving, the skill set I use every day at work, to my fertility journey. Creative thinking means looking at an obstacle from all angles, getting others' feedback, and then testing and iterating until the problem is solved.

This way of thinking led me to a different doctor, one that was open to trying other ways. I became pregnant through IVF with a two-day fresh transfer (instead of five days). Today, I have two kids. I am forever grateful [for them]. 

Infertility, without a doubt, is one of the most arduous journeys you will ever go through. It hits you on all levels—physical, emotional, financial, and everything in between. There are always multiple solutions, even when it doesn’t seem like it. The best part? You have the power to take control and find these solutions through creative thinking."

Follow Jasmine on Instagram @Jazzkatat.

Lauren Manaker

Lauren's Story

"My husband and I tried to conceive for over five years. We had many unsuccessful assisted reproduction tries, many doctors who brushed our concerns off, and many moments where we wondered if we would ever become parents. The stars finally aligned when we partnered with the right doctor, and we became parents to the coolest little girl. 

Infertility is a journey. You will learn a lot about yourself and you will find strength that you never knew you had. In the end, all of the stress and frustration were totally worth it."

Follow Lauren on Instagram @LaurenLovesNutrition.

Andi Ploehs

Andi's Story

"My husband and I tried for four years, lost three babies, and finally became parents to our rainbows. No doubt it was a miserable journey that tested us in ways we didn’t expect.

Despite all of that, we would do it all over again. When you want to be parents so badly—the shots, pills, surgeries, pokes, and heartache—make it all worth it. 

Infertility is something I never imagined I would have experienced. It can take you to the darkest places, and it can also allow you to experience joys you didn’t know existed. But what infertility taught me the most is how freaking strong I am."

Follow Andi on Instagram @aplovesdesign.

Sara Haas

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Sara Haas

Sara's Story

"Infertility made me feel very alone and isolated. I struggled to understand why this was happening to me. What had I done wrong? It didn’t seem fair. 

Infertility can happen to anybody for any reason. And while we feel like we have to struggle silently with it, we don’t. You’re not alone.

Once I started talking about my infertility issues with other women, I learned that many of them had struggled too. Lean into that support!"

Follow Sara on Instagram @cookinRD.

Andrea Syrtash

Andrea's Story

"At 14 years old, a doctor told me I likely had endometriosis and may need help later if, and, when I wanted to conceive. I never imagined it would take me almost a decade, 18 fertility treatments, open-stomach surgery, two pregnancy losses, and a gestational carrier (my dear cousin Elana!). She carried my embryo, [so I could] finally meet my baby.

So often people think infertility is a lifestyle issue, but people in war-torn countries or who have unhealthy lifestyles get pregnant every day. It’s a medical issue, and there shouldn’t be any shame around it.

For this reason, we are launching #infertilitylookslike on pregnantish.com and encouraging others to show and share their stories and photos. Some of the strongest and fittest people we know have issues conceiving."

Follow Andrea on Instagram @pregnantish.

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3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. How common is infertility?. Updated February 8, 2018.

  2. World Health Organization. Infertility. Updated September 14, 2020.

  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Evaluating infertility: frequently asked questions. Updated January 2020.