Alison Fyfe: #makeit12

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I am, like many women of my generation, ambitious, experienced, and driven. At 33, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to live in great places, have worked in a variety of different roles, and recently completed my Masters degree. But that doesn’t mean I’ve intentionally put off settling down with someone. Society still seems to support the notion that we need to decide between being professionally driven or ready to settle down and start a family and I think both can happen simultaneously. I agree that it becomes harder and comes with more sacrifice and tradeoffs, but it’s possible.

As the daughter of parents who just celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary, I’ve felt conditioned to search for that best friend you’re confident you want to spend the rest of your life with. And I’m still searching.

Over the holidays of 2014 I started thinking about what I wanted 2015 to hold, and what decisions I could make that would support my “happiness plan”. I was considering new job opportunities, some of which would move me back to the Bay Area. I didn’t want my innate desire to have children influencing key decisions on what was to come next in my life. I knew friends who had success with freezing their eggs and had asked my gynecologist about accessing a fertility screen a year prior. I decided it was time to test it again and see if there had been any change in my counts. In January 2015 I completed my first of two rounds of egg freezing in Chicago, IL.

I changed more in the first five months of 2015 than I’ve ever changed in my life. I realized that I’ve spent a lot of time fixated on controlling my life’s path; ironically, this time, I had no choice but to loosen the reigns. The first round I found my head and heart not connecting with my body and I’ll tell you, it was tough. I didn’t produce as many eggs as I had hoped and was left feeling even further behind than when I started. But then I started openly talking about it with friends, colleagues and my community. I found strength in other women sharing their stories of struggle with me and decided after discussions with my doctor a second round made sense, using a different protocol. This round, outside of the varied dosages of hormones, my compassion for myself varied as well. And I’m thrilled that my second round was quite different from the first. With that said, for many that doesn’t always happen and I encourage women to know that it just takes one egg. Making the decision to go through this process is honorable in and of itself and not just successful stories should be told.

I feel women today need to know they don’t need to wait to have life’s pieces in place to know their fertility health if it’s important to them. Is it a perfect solution? No. In fact, according to a recent NPR article, fertility screens should be seen as a guide rather than a clear answer. But I would say some information is better than none. Some statistics show the average woman spends about 10 minutes with their gynecologist once a year. I encourage you to #makeit12 and bring up fertility. Ask the question. Know your numbers. And then talk about it. Because one thing this world needs is more women standing up, speaking out and most of all, supporting and encouraging each other.

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  • I find this topic important in so many ways. Our culture needs to come to a place where it includes awareness and support of women’s fertility and probably men’s too. My daughter developed acne at the age of 28. If she had gone to a dermatologist she might have been given acne medication and not dealt with the fact that her skin condition was a symptom of hormonal disruption and that she had developed cysts on her ovaries. She is not ready to decide if bearing her own children will be part of her life but wants to keep it open. She was offered hormone therapy but chose an alternative route and though it took a few months she healed her cysts, her acne and her pancreas which was also involved in the condition. She also had to change her lifestyle by eating regularly and sleeping more. I look forward to more stories.

  • Alison Fyfe says:

    Thank you Wendel for sharing your story with us. It’s so true that there are so many options and opinions when it comes to health and medicine. The key is gathering as many as you need and then making the best informed decision that makes the most sense for you and your life’s path. We too look forward to collecting more stories from our community and sharing them with all of you.

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