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The Importance of a Soul Mate in IVF

By Tracey Minella

August 3rd, 2012 at 8:13 am

courtesy of Rosen Georgeiev/

I should begin by applauding the single ladies doing IVF. I didn’t do IVF without a partner by my side, but had the circumstances required it, my desire to have a baby would have put me on the IVF road myself as well. I imagine you all having amazing strength simply for undertaking the challenge of single parenting, never mind the lengths you’re going to to make it happen.

But IVF with a partner is obviously very different. It must be… simply by nature of there being a relationship involved.

There’s the issue of blame. There shouldn’t be. But there often is. If one of the pair has the diagnosis, there’s often guilt to deal with. That’s never good for a relationship.

Sometimes, there are the issues of donation and third parties. Donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos. Or the need for a gestational carrier or surrogate. More complicated stuff.

There are almost always financial issues unless you are lucky enough to have generous insurance coverage. If your jobs don’t offer infertility insurance, or your employers aren’t supportive of your situation, there can be stress at work…which spills over into the home.

Then there’s the stress of watching other couples have it all. The baby you can’t have without the treatment. The house or vacation you can’t afford because of the treatment. Why you?

Infertility is isolating. It’s just the two of you. It’s like living long-term in that moment of your vows where you said “for better or for worse; in sickness and in health” but never thought the bad stuff would really happen to you.

For me, the lows were so low at times that I didn’t always appreciate my husband’s support while we were going through it. I was too consumed by the details, too worried about failing, too focused on the goal. Not focused enough on the guy at the end of that long needle each night. The one who quietly absorbed the brunt of my hormonal outbursts. The one who held me when the bottom fell out of the world. The one who never questioned my need to try again. And again.

There’s no doubt that infertility is one of the toughest tests of a marriage. Most couples that make it through successfully are surely stronger for it. I feel that most couples who come to the end of their journey together…whether it ends with a biological baby, an adopted baby, or a decision to remain child-free…proudly wear an invisible badge of marital courage.

But I feel for those whose marriages crumble from the strain of infertility. Would they have survived if not for those stresses? Would they have been one of those happy couples who skate through life escaping all real adversity? Or were they doomed anyway, and infertility just happened to be the blow to expose their already weak foundations? It’s hard to say.

Looking back, I wish I’d been better at stopping the world from spinning and re-connecting with my partner along the way. Try to do that. You are the only two who understand what you are going through and what is on the line. What you have to lose…what you have to gain. Don’t lose sight of each other when simply going through the motions of your treatment. Show your gratitude.

All journeys end. Most end happily, though not always the way we imagine happiness will be when we started. Then you get to look back on it years later and laugh at things you never thought you would. And realize you’d never have gotten though it all without your soul mate.

Happy 27th Anniversary to mine.

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What’s the one moment on your journey that you realized you were/were not with your soul mate? What would you tell your soul mate to thank him/her?


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Infertility and Legal Gay Marriage in New York

By Tracey Minella

June 27th, 2011 at 12:00 am

“Welcome to the 90’s Mr. Baaaaanks,” said the loveable, flamboyant, effeminate wedding planner, Franck, in the smash hit Father of the Bride.

This weekend, after the news that New York voted to legalize gay marriage sank in, I smiled at the thought of so many good friends and family members who could now finally sanctify their unions the way straight couples always could.

I think it’s one of those changes that we all felt was ultimately going to happen, yet was so long in coming, that when we look back on this vote in 20 years, we’ll wonder what took so long. What was the big deal? Why wasn’t it always this way?

I picture my future grandkid (if I live that long since it took me so long to have my IVF kids!) saying “Really? Gays couldn’t marry when you were young, Grandma?”  The way my daughter asked her own Grandmother last night, “Really Nana? Whites couldn’t marry blacks and Catholics didn’t marry Jews?” And if we went far enough back in time, we’d find generations asking “Really? You didn’t have the right to vote, Grammy?” (Let’s hope those grandkids will also ask us “You mean infertility treatment wasn’t covered back then!”)

Change is inevitable. We evolve. Technology progresses. Sometimes decisions need to be made based on nothing more than looking in your heart and doing what your heart says is the right thing. Too often, it doesn’t happen that way. New York looked in its heart this time. Or at least I choose to see it that way.

I am happy to have raised one of the most accepting, loving, teenage Catholic daughters you’d ever meet. And I think kids today are more tolerant overall. Labels of our generation (or our parents’)… blacks, gays, Jews and a host of other often derogatory terms for the rest of society’s melting pot members… don’t even register for my daughter, a fun-loving theater kid with several gay friends. Those realities mean no more to her than hair or eye color.

I can’t wait for the gay wedding showers and celebrations to come! And it’s a perfect time of year. And then, yes then, the babies will follow. And that’s where we come in.

At least the gay population will not now have to suffer an additional 50 years waiting for the technology to help them become parents? East Coast Fertility has been helping gay folks get pregnant for ages already. And we’re waiting for you as soon as you get back from that honeymoon!

Maybe I’ll put on my screenwriter’s cap. I think it’s time to get Martin Short on the phone. Fathers of the Brides will no doubt be coming to the big screen.

“Welcome to the 10’s, Misters Baaaaanks.”

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Do you think New York got it right? Do you …as someone who has been denied your own important dream …sympathize with the gay population? Or do you see a down side to gay marriage? How does it affect you?

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