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5. Infertility

This podcast is about the pursuit of parenthood, but pursuing something does not mean a promise of any particular result. When it comes to fertility, there are no guarantees. That’s something Lauren knows all too well. She has PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), one of the symptoms of which is that ovaries fail to regularly release eggs. Her struggle with infertility has changed her perspective on the world and the way she thinks about motherhood. Today, she’s sharing her story.

Show notes

Lauren chronicles her infertility journey on her Instagram @mamas.waiting.season


Transcript

Marie (00:00): As you know, if you've been listening to the first few episodes of Baby Steps, this podcast is about the pursuit of parenthood. The thing about a pursuit is that there's no promise of any particular result. When it comes to fertility, there are no guarantees. That is something that Lauren knows all too well. Today, she is sharing her story. This is Baby Steps, a podcast from Carrot Fertility about the many diverse paths that people take in the pursuit of parenthood. I'm your host, Marie McCoy-Thompson.

Lauren (00:47): Hi, I'm Lauren. I'm 30 years old. I've been married for almost a year. I work as a dental hygienist, and that's really about it.

Marie (01:00): Well, that's actually only the very beginning, but it's a good place to start. So you're married. How long have you been together?

Lauren (01:12): We have been together for about four years. We actually met through ... I worked with a girl. She, out of nowhere, was like, "I have this guy for you to meet." And as most people who've been set up by friends or even acquaintances, I think we all know sometimes how that goes, so I was very apprehensive. He turned out to be a really normal guy, who I just happened to fall in love with, so.

Marie (01:43): I love normal guys. It's the best when someone is just normal and great.

Lauren (01:50): Right, right.

Marie (01:50): So you met and you started dating and all of that. Did you know that you always wanted kids?

Lauren (01:59): So no. That's really a great question. I really do love little children. Now, I didn't always want them. I went through phases in my life where I was like, "Yes, absolutely. I want to be a mom. I want three, four kids. It would be great." But then you kind of go through those moments where everyone you're dating is terrible. There is no one out there that you could ever imagine creating a little human with. So-

Marie (02:28): Yeah, absolutely. I have definitely been there. I think a lot of people have been there, yes.

Lauren (02:34): Yes. So I definitely went through a period where I was like, "Nope, absolutely no way. Don't want them." I think for me, personally, with some of my own experiences with my own ... I guess, body, and the way it worked, I also had these concerns that maybe I couldn't have kids someday either, or it would be very difficult for me. And then when I met my husband, he's just adorable and I love him so much, and I think that he's fantastic. And of course I'm like, "I would love to have a mini you."

Marie (03:10): You mentioned a little bit that you sort of had a sense that getting pregnant might be difficult for you just based on sort of your own personal medical history. Can you explain that a little bit?

Lauren (03:22): Absolutely. Yeah. So ever since my very first period, I had very painful periods with long, drawn out cycles. My period would last for eight days, it would go away for two, and then come back for another three. I had a lot of clotting and a lot of just ... I mean, so painful. You're like, "Somebody just take this out of my body. I can't do it. I give up, I'm done."

Lauren (03:50): And then it became, I would miss periods, and then as I got older and it became time to actually go see the gynecologist regularly, get my regular pap smears and all of that, I had gone in at times and she'd be like, "Oh, you have cysts. But don't worry, the size of them is fine. We don't need to do anything with them. This'll probably go away." And then as I got older, I think this was back in 2016, I had my first abnormal pap smear. At that time, she told me we would need to do a biopsy and follow up from there. It turned out everything was okay with that. There was nothing cancerous or anything, you know, out of the ordinary I guess. But in the meantime of all of this, I still had had all of these very irregular periods.

Marie (04:43): So all of this is before you ever started trying to have a baby, it was just sort of monitoring your own health and thinking that the abnormal periods and the other symptoms that you were experiencing would impact your fertility?

Lauren (04:59): Yeah, definitely. It was just from talking to friends, talking to family members who said, "Oh, my period only lasts three days, and I get cramping but it's not bad." Listening to them say that and then thinking of my own experiences, I'm like, "Something's not right."

Marie (05:17): As you said, some of these symptoms impacted your mindset about becoming a parent. So then when did you start actually trying to become pregnant?

Lauren (05:29): So leading up to the wedding, I mean this is maybe a month after we got engaged, I had my annual pap smear. Perfect timing. So I discussed with my gynecologist at that point that I just got engaged. We're planning to start a family immediately after the wedding. Is there anything I should take into consideration because of my history with my periods? And she said no, that I should be fine, that I could stay on the birth control I was taking at that time, I could get off of it and at any point I could get pregnant. So I thought, "Okay."

Lauren (06:09): But then I gave it a couple of months after talking to a few friends who were already in that stage of building their families and trying to get pregnant and seeing them take four months, five months, six months to get pregnant, and thinking, "They've never had these problems with their periods or with their menstrual cycles and it's taking them this long? It's going to take me a while." So Dr. Lauren here, I decided that we would just start trying, because if it's taking these people with normal cycles four, five, six months to get pregnant, it could take me a year. I can make it all the way to our wedding day and still not have gotten pregnant.

Marie (06:59): That's a good thing to note too. So I would love to be a mom someday, but I'm not super close to being at that stage in my life,. And I feel like a lot of people who are in my similar stage of life have an idea that pretty much as soon as you are off birth control, if you've been taking that, you will probably get pregnant right away and have a baby. And that if you have normal periods and you have a family history of pretty easy pregnancies, et cetera, you will get pregnant as soon as you start trying, and it's just a good reminder that that's not always necessarily the case, that it doesn't always happen immediately. You can't control or plan these things, really. 

Lauren (07:45): Yeah, exactly.

Marie (07:50): So Lauren and her fiance were trying to get pregnant a few months leading up to their wedding, but the pregnancy tests were coming back negative, and because of the menstruation issues that Lauren had had in her life, she thought it might be worth taking a closer look at her fertility.

Lauren (08:11): I decided to do what are called ovulation predictor kits, or people call them OPKs. It's basically an at home test that you pee in a cup, dip the stick in, and it tells you whether or not you're close to ovulation based on like where your hormone levels are. So my results were all over the place. It would tell me I was positive for ovulation, and two days later I'd be positive again after going back down to negative. And then my wedding day came. After the wedding, I was just, of course, in a state of bliss and happiness and everything's perfect and everything's great. I wasn't too focused on trying to conceive at that point. After the wedding, I then realized, "Okay, so I still don't have my period. This is kind of great. Maybe I'm pregnant." I took a pregnancy test. Of course, it was another negative, so not pregnant. I then didn't have my period for the next two months.

Marie (09:18): And was this something that was normal for you?

Lauren (09:20): If I'm not on birth control, absolutely it's normal for me. And these were all concerns that, previously when I was younger, I called my doctor and she was like, "Well, you know, you're going through puberty, you're young, there's stress. You're fine, don't worry." You know? They tell you not to worry, so you don't. But of course, like I've said, in the back of my mind there was always that concern that it was going to be difficult.

Marie (09:47): It seems like you've had a number of doctors throughout your life who, when you would go to them presenting some pretty abnormal and oftentimes uncomfortable and even painful symptoms related to your menstrual cycle, that a lot of them were telling you, "It's not a big deal. Don't worry about it. You're fine," and sort of sent you on your way. I mean, how did that make you feel?

Lauren (10:14): You know, I guess a little crazy, for lack of a better term for that. Because you're thinking, "I've talked to all of these other people, I've heard other people's stories. They aren't going through these things. There's got to be something wrong with me."

Marie (10:36): To know that things in your own body aren't right, but to not be able to get that validation from your medical professional, is maddening. After the wedding, when Lauren didn't have a period for two months but was not pregnant, she decided to try seeing her doctor again.

Lauren (10:56): She was in the room with me maybe for five minutes when I told her, "We've been trying for six months. I've done these ovulation predicting kits. You know my history of having cysts and having painful periods and heavy periods and clotting and all this and irregular periods. How can you help me?" And she immediately said, "Well, I think I'm going to refer you." I was definitely very appreciative for her urging me to go to get this referral, but I was also sort of like, "Well, why now is this something that we're addressing, when for all these years you were kind of like, this is normal?"

Marie (11:40): Oh, because this was your same doctor?

Lauren (11:43): My same doctor, yeah.

Marie (11:45): The same person who you had been seeing for years.

Lauren (11:47): Yes. 

Marie (11:47): And then only when you're actually trying to have a baby is it like, "Oh, this discomfort that you've had for so long, now let's take it seriously."

Lauren (11:57): Right, which-

Marie (11:58): But I have to say, just to insert my own opinion here, you should not have had to have gone through all of that.

Lauren (12:04): Yeah. So I was definitely a bit disheartened that she was like, "Yeah, now it's valid that there's an issue."

Marie (12:13): I think that happens to a lot of people. If things don't feel right, you should be able to find an answer that does feel right to you. Even though it took much longer than it should have, I'm glad that your doctor did finally refer you to someone who could give you the answer that you needed. So what was that moment like, when you finally met with the reproductive endocrinologist and that person was able to give you a diagnosis?

Lauren (12:47): From the ultrasound and blood work to simple tests to see what's going on, they determined that I may have polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. My levels of certain hormones were pretty normal, but the amount of follicles or cysts I had on my ovaries were way higher than the normal amount. Normal is under 20, and I had over 60. Even when I was in there, the technician was like, "There's a lot. Yeah, you definitely have polycystic ovarian syndrome."

Marie (13:26): I had an ultrasound done a few months ago just because I was in the ER and had ... This is an unrelated medical story, but I just learned for the first time that a technician is not supposed to really tell you anything. I was sort of looking to the technician trying to get answers right then, and the technician was like, "No, no, no, I have to send this to the doctor and then they have to tell you." So the fact that your technician was just like, "Oh God." That probably says something.

Lauren (13:54): Right? Of course, then spirals my Google, WebMD search of what this is, and symptoms and all of that. I was like, "Wow, this is everything I've experienced my entire period of having a period." The irregular periods, anxiety, mood swings, heavy cycles, just so much of it. I was like, "Wow, this is kind of crazy, but I'm glad that there's an answer."

Marie (14:29): What is that emotional experience of being happy to have that clarity and then also like, "Rats, I do have this?"

Lauren (14:36): I would rather know that I'm not crazy and I'm not just making something up, it's not just some phantom we have no explanation. I would much rather have an explanation, because if there is an explanation, there must be way to handle this, to move forward with solutions for this. So getting that diagnosis, I wasn't even upset. I was just like, I'm glad I can put a name to what it is. Moving forward from there, I was like, "Okay, but now I'm ready to know how we deal with this. What are we going to do?"

Marie (15:12): So you got this diagnosis and then your reproductive endocrinologist said that you needed to get an HSG to assess your treatment plan. What is an HSG?

Lauren (15:24): I cannot say the name. It's one of those tongue twister crazy names that there's a reason they have an abbreviation that everybody goes by the abbreviation of.

Marie (15:32): Just to do my due diligence as a podcast host, I looked up the full name of HSG. It's hysterosalpingography.

Lauren (15:41): In a nutshell, it's an ultrasound where they insert a catheter up into your uterus and they push saline through to flow through your uterus and through your tubes that go to your ovaries to make sure there's no blockages or anything in the uterus that would be blocking or causing any other disruptions from becoming pregnant.

Marie (16:03): So that sounds kind of painful. Is it?

Lauren (16:07): It's horrible.

Marie (16:09): So you got through that, which is baby step number one out of many, many steps, and a not a good one but you got through it.

Lauren (16:18): Yes.

Marie (16:19): What were the results of the HSG?

Lauren (16:22): He told me that there was something, I think he called him polyps, in my uterus and I would need surgery. Luckily, the procedure went very smoothly. Walked in ... I guess they put me under. I don't even remember, honestly. You know, it's just deer in headlights, what's happening, okay, going under, woke up back in the room and it was easy.

Marie (16:46): I'm really glad that it went well for you. So the results of that hysteroscopy just meant that they successfully removed the polyps?

Lauren (16:56): Yeah, it was good after that. And I thought, "This is great. Maybe that was it. You've given me my diagnosis, you told me a polycystic ovarian syndrome, you have removed the obstruction in my uterus of these polyps. We're going to definitely make a baby now. This is going to be great."

Marie (17:20): So then, your reproductive endocrinologist said that maybe the best course of action to move forward was to try IUI, is that right?

Lauren (17:28): Yes, yes.

Marie (17:30): IUI is intrauterine insemination, right?

Lauren (17:33): Yes, yes.

Marie (17:34): And so your reproductive endocrinologist recommended trying that three times. What was the reason for sort of starting out saying, let's give it three chances?

Lauren (17:47): So I think when he explained it to me was that it's not as invasive as doing something like IVF, and he figured with the results of my husband's analysis with everything I had gone through up to that point, that we would probably have good success with it. I think looking back why he suggested three ... Definitely one, if it happened the first time, that would have been amazing and fantastic and great, but it's kind of like a learning curve, right? The first one, you're trying to get the dosage of the medication correctly, the timing with your body, and the way your body reacts to it. It's not super common that the first time works. And then from my own research, I've read that past three or four, your chances don't necessarily get better that it's going to work. So I just, I kind of went with his professional judgment that he thought we should give it three tries, and if after three it didn't work, we move on to something.

Marie (18:48): As you mentioned, and as we have said on previous episodes of this podcast, IUI is relatively noninvasive. It just means putting sperm directly in the uterus to help healthy sperm get closer to the egg, and then hopefully encourage fertilization. So this is all things that I'm saying, I have known this my whole life and I have learned all of these things in the past few months, but you basically were given three chances. Three at bats.

Lauren (19:20): Yep.

Marie (19:21): Well, what was the first IUI like?

Lauren (19:24): It was awesome. It was like you had made it to the world series, if we're talking baseball.

Marie (19:30): Oh we are. We're definitely talking baseball.

Lauren (19:33): We're going to do it. This is going to be it. It's going to take one time. We've removed the polyps, we know my diagnosis, my husband's all good and they're going to put the sperm right there. How can you not get pregnant, right? Come on, it's science. We went into it super hopeful, super excited. For me with polycystic ovarian syndrome, I can grow a lot of follicles, and so it's very important that they control with the medication how many I'm growing, how big they get, because they don't want me to get a cyst. If I get a cyst, it's much bigger risks with that.

Lauren (20:11): So I actually, for my first round, had three follicles that were mature enough to be able to go through with an IUI. Now, my nurse, after speaking with my doctor, urged us to cancel that round because there is the risk of multiples. With three follicles, there is the potential that all three eggs can release and all three eggs can get fertilized. Immediately I told my nurse, "Hold up right there. My husband and I have discussed this. We are A-OK with multiples. We don't want to cancel."

Marie (20:45): Just to clarify, so that means that if that IUI had been successful, there was the potential for you to have triplets?

Lauren (20:54): Right. So actually, there's even a potential to have more than that, because one single egg can split into two. so it can get very, very tricky, which I understand why they would want to urge me to cancel, but we were willing to take that risk.

Marie (21:13): So you took the risk, you went through with IUI, and then you have to wait two weeks after that procedure to take a pregnancy test. What was the result?

Lauren (21:23): I went in, had the blood tests done. They called me later that evening and told me they didn't have good news.

Marie (21:31): What was your first ... I just want to give you a space to talk about that moment. What was that feeling like when you got that call?

Lauren (21:40): It was really devastating.

Marie (21:42): Yeah.

Lauren (21:47): It was the first time that I thought, "Okay, all the obstacles have been removed," and we had a great chance, so it was really hard.

Marie (22:03): Yeah. That is really tough. Take your time answering and taking a break. Whatever you need.

Lauren (22:12): I'm fine. I'm sorry.

Marie (22:14): Please don't apologize. This is such an emotional story. It's an emotional journey. This is your life, and it is hard, and you've gotten so many answers that you didn't want to get. And yeah, I'm a crier too.

Lauren (22:31): Oh, I was not a crier before this.

Marie (22:33): Really?

Lauren (22:34): Not at all. Oh my gosh. If you knew some of my friends, we would watch the happiest movies and they'd be bawling their eyes looking at me like, "What's wrong with you?"

Marie (22:45): No, I get it. I mean, yeah, some people just aren't criers. But obviously everything that you've been through with this, it probably just cuts pretty deep.

Lauren (22:56): It does, because it's very personal. And being a woman, I hate to say this, but it's kind of like the definition is we are made to be able to reproduce. And when you're having difficulty with that, it's like part of your identity has changed.

Marie (23:20): That's a very big societal message that is projected in so many different ways. I think that I have been starting to feel like that is shifting a little bit in our cultural dialogue, but absolutely is still true in many ways, and has been true for a very long time.

Lauren (23:40): Yeah, and it's just something you have no control over.

Marie (23:44): Once you got that phone call, the first IUI was not successful, you still had two more chances essentially according to your doctor, or at least two more times that he recommended that you go through with it. What happened in those next two times?

Lauren (24:00): So the second one, we went in with being realistic that this could potentially not work. I only had one follicle growing that time, so one potential egg to be released, but you only need one. Went through with the procedure. We're told it all went great in the procedure room. Waited the two weeks. This time, I did take an at home pregnancy test, and it was negative, which I just had a feeling. So then after I received the call from the blood test that they require, they had gone and let me know I don't have good news. So that was round two, that was hard. But at that point as well, my husband and I kind of were like, "Do we even do the third one? Is this even really working? Do we want to move on to something else? What do we want to do?"

Lauren (24:49): All of these procedures cost money and time and are emotionally draining and physically draining, and you know, it's hard with working and your schedules. And because you have no control over when things happen, you just have to make these appointments work. We decided, let's go meet with our RE, and she said our next step would be IVF, but to go through with the third IUI because the labs were going to be closing over the holidays. So it was sort of either like, "Try this one last time or do nothing." So we did it a third time, going into it feeling very, "Ugh, whatever. We're just doing this." So we did it, and that one did not work either. So when they called me and told me it was another no, I was sort of like, "Okay, I'm ready to move on."

Marie (25:47): How would you say infertility has changed you?

Lauren (25:51): Oh gosh. Infertility has changed me completely. It really makes you look at the world differently, that you can be walking along people every day and not knowing what they're struggling with, what they're dealing with, what they're going through. It has made me have conversations differently. It's definitely a societal thing where people are just like, "Okay, you're married now. When are you having babies?" And that is such a crazy thing to ask someone. It wasn't until I started going on this fertility journey, being treated, doing these things, that I've realized that is such a personal thing to ask someone and we're asking people as if we're asking them how the weather is today.

Marie (26:44): Do people ask you that a lot?

Lauren (26:46): Oh gosh. All the time.

Marie (26:49): Is there any time that you can talk about that someone asked you that and you were like, "Well ..."

Lauren (26:57): Absolutely. So I was terrified going into the holiday. Someone's going to ask, someone's going to ask. Because like I said, it's such a normal thing. If you're not married, when are you getting married? If you're not dating, when are you going to start dating? If you are married, when are you having kids? And one of our family friends was like, "Hey, what's new?" And I was like, "Oh, you know, we just moved into this fantastic house." And she was like, "New house, new baby." Without a pause. Not, "Great on the new house. What's it like? Show me a picture." It was, "New house, new baby?" And I said, "Nope, just new house." And I moved on and I was fine. Not 20 minutes later, my uncle was like, "Hey, so are you starting family planning? How is that going?" And I'm like, "We're trying." But it was just, it was really hard. I just started tearing up and it was really hard.

Marie (28:06): That is really tough. I mean, like you said, you are appreciative of the support, and maybe for a lot of people it is a normal question and sort of asked innocuously. But it doesn't really matter, because the impact that it has on you is just to cut right through the thing that you are most sensitive about in that moment and struggling with the most. It's caused you a lot of heartache, and so to be put on the spot like that, it's hard. So anyone listening, consider this a PSA to just don't ask until you see the pregnancy. I was going to say until you see someone pregnant, but don't even ask then. You see a belly that you are pretty sure is carrying a baby, don't ask. Don't ask until the baby is in the hands of the parent, and even then, just limit your questions.

Lauren (29:18): Absolutely. Absolutely, yes. Yeah.

Marie (29:21): Yeah. It's a sensitive thing. It's really hard. It's a very emotional journey. And I guess I want to ask you, as someone who has been through it, is there a way that you would recommend that others support someone who's going through this? What is the right thing to do or say?

Lauren (29:40): Absolutely. So in the infertility community, it's so common to be like, "I hear all the time, just relax or just go on vacation." Or you know, "Just have a couple drinks and you'll get pregnant." Which is all just ... I know people mean well by giving that advice, but it's not helpful. Those aren't solutions, and this isn't something I want a solution from you to. It's just something I want your love and support and validity to. So some of my friends have been so amazing. They've learned through this journey with me and have said to me, "I don't understand what you're going through, but if you could help me learn what you're going through, that would be great." Or, "I think you are just so brave. I think you are so strong. You're doing so well." You know, just saying, "I'm here to listen. I'm here for you to complain or cry or get anything out you want to get out." Just knowing that they're here, they understand, that they can't relate, that they don't have a solution for me, but they're still rooting for me.

Marie (30:51): I think that's all really good advice for how to handle these things with a loved one who might be experiencing something similar. So what are your thoughts now after having gone all through this and you now have this option to move forward with IVF? What are you thinking?

Lauren (31:08): So I have been all over the place. It's intimidating. We have not ruled it out. It is something that I feel strongly could potentially work. There's the science there, there's results there. They say it has 40 to 50% success rates, where an IUI has maybe 20 to 30%, so that's a big difference. But it comes with a very hefty price tag.

Marie (31:38): And when you say price tag, there's the sort of physical toll on your body, but you also just mean the literal dollars that are required to pay for this?

Lauren (31:47): Yes. And again, it's hard with the work life balance and being a normal human to go through all this.

Marie (31:55): When you're thinking about all the components that go into this kind of decision, and like you said, the financial component is a big one, where does that leave you? What other options are you considering for your future, for your family planning?

Lauren (32:11): My husband and I, from the time that we started dating, from the time we got married and started feeling like we wanted to have kids, he has always said he would love to foster or adopt, and I definitely have had that on my heart as well. So in this period of time we have gone back and forth. Do we want to move forward with fostering, start that whole process of becoming foster parents and maybe taking in a child that way? Do we want to look into adoption? Do we want to live life without kids? Even though we want them so badly, that is an option.

Lauren (32:53): So we've had a lot of conversations about it. At the end of the day, my husband and I really just want to be parents. We want that person that we can show love to and teach things and grow with us and give them the best life. So we are just somewhere in the middle. I wish I had a definitive answer of exactly where we're going to go, but I would love to still go through with IVF and give that route a chance.

Marie (33:31): Yeah. I just appreciate you being vulnerable walking through that, because I mean, it is a personal choice, but I think it's something that a lot of people can relate to in terms of having to honestly consider what is right for them.

Lauren (33:47): Yeah, yeah. And I don't think ... We haven't ruled one out. We're not like, "We foster or do IVF." It's, "What are we doing now?" I think whether it be IVF next or fostering next, I think we'll do the other in the future, because yeah. We just ... We've got a lot of love to give.

Marie (34:12): What advice would you give to someone else out there who is also struggling with infertility?

Lauren (34:19): I would say if you haven't been diagnosed by a doctor, push for a diagnosis. Be your own advocate, because you know your body better than anyone else. If you already have a diagnosis, reach out to the other people in the community. There are so many people who are blogging, who are on Instagram, who are on YouTube, who are doing podcasts, who are on Facebook. Anywhere, even within your own group. Don't be afraid to share your story and your journey with the people around you, because you will be shocked at how many people you find who are near to you who are going through similar things, and your story can inspire and your journey can inspire. Just know that you're not alone. We're all here for you. We're all rooting for you, and your miracle will come.

Marie (35:15): That's beautiful. Whatever your fertility journey looks like, you're not alone. Baby Steps is a podcast from Carrot, the leading global fertility benefits provider for employers. To demonstrate how Carrot helps its members, I'm sitting down with Adam, who is the head of Carrot's care navigation. Hi Adam.

Adam (35:44): Hello.

Marie (35:45): I'm going to read a question to you that you've received from a Carrot member and I'd like for you to walk through how you would help that person. Sound good?

Adam (35:56): Sounds great.

Marie (35:57): Okay. Here is the question from the Carrot member. "I am 42 and have been through IVF twice without success. I have one genetically tested ideal embryo frozen, but I am worried that it too will not stick. At this point, I wonder if surrogacy is our best route if we can afford that. I also wonder if we should be collecting or freezing more eggs to have more options, and I'm also curious about adoption as well." So Adam, there's a lot of parts of this question. How would you help this member?

Adam (36:30): Before diving into the specifics of their questions, one thing that we want to note is that regardless of the path that the member is on, we have resources to support and guide them. One thing that might be helpful for this member is to speak with someone about their journey, and we offer unlimited emotional support chats on family forming topics with our licensed therapists. The family forming process can be emotionally taxing, so beyond just CareNav's resources to help guide them through the journey, it's important to note that we also have the resources if the members want to speak with a human about what they're going through. This member is asking about various routes that they can move forward with to start a family, and ultimately CareNav has the resources to guide them through an adoption process, a GC journey, or any other fertility care that they'd like to pursue.

Marie (37:19): For any question, however complex or multifaceted it might seem, Carrot has the resources. To learn more, you can go to carrotfertility.com. Baby Steps is produced and edited by me, Marie McCoy-Thompson, and also edited and mixed by Jim Metzendorf, who just crushes it every week. Our original music is by dream team Chris Ploeg and Chili Corder, and our artwork is by Allie Packard, who has glasses with clear frames and they are really cool. This has been an All Turtles production. Thanks for listening.