Most of us haven’t talked about family planning with a group of people since our parents signed a permission slip for middle school sex ed.
Families for Fertility is going to change that.
After unsuccessfully trying to become pregnant, Matt and Erin Watson decided to seek medical help. Matt was identified as a “supermale,” a gratifying name for the diagnosis they had hoped not to receive. Supermales carry the XYY chromosome, which is linked to dramatically low sperm count and results in a very low probability of natural pregnancy.
In Spring 2011, the couple went through in vitro fertilization, as well as an extra step, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), to rule out passing along the XYY chromosomal genetic disorder.
“[The process] took 6 months to really understand the diagnosis and prepare to emotionally and fiscally handle it,” explain the Watsons. Tack on 4 months of IVF, and it was a serious commitment. The time and toil paid off, however, as they were able to conceive, welcoming their baby girl, Smith, in January of 2012.
It was 6 months after Smith’s birth that Matt and Erin realized the power of sharing their ordeal and the number of other couples facing similar challenges.
One of these couples was Shannon and Allison Carter, who were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” and participated in multiple procedures and trials to become pregnant with their first of two children.
Together, the couples aim to help others through this stressful and oftentimes isolating experience. Families for Fertility, which Erin founded, offers one-on-one confidential support, as well as small group support sessions for those who live in the Charleston and the tri-county area.
The non-profit also “provides access to families who have experienced nearly every scenario of fertility challenges and recommends resources for counseling, fertility and funding,” Erin explains.
Research finds that 1 in 8 couples of childbearing age are being diagnosed with fertility issues, highlighting the need for understanding and guidance.
So get ready, polite society, baby making is coming into the spotlight.
And not just on local reality shows.
Words by: Meredith H. Siemens
Photography by: Adam Chandler