3 couples talk about their journey with infertility

3 couples talk about their journey with infertility
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Most women dream of becoming a mom but for a family having trouble conceiving, it can be a painful process.

So often, we think it's easy, but for a lot of women, it's a long, difficult journey. Fertility experts say one couple out of every eight struggles with infertility.

"A lot of them are just frantic. They are scared and not sure they will ever have children," says ART of Alabama Fertility Program Nurse Practitioner Tracey Mendelsohn.

When Ashley and John Tiedt got married in 2014 they knew they immediately wanted to have children but it wouldn't be as easy as they thought.

Ashley says, "When we said for better or for worse, we didn't realize worse might come sooner than better, "

Jennifer O'Connor too yearned to be a mother. She recalls, "I honestly felt like something was wrong with me like I was broken, my body couldn't do what a woman's body was supposed to do,"

For Shay Baugh, doctors gave her no hope of ever conceiving. Baugh remembers the doctors telling her that she would not be able to have children.

All three women eventually turned to infertility treatments. Mendelsohn says she understands what her patients are facing. Mendelsohn's first child was born with the help of fertility medication and her second was through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Ashley and Jennifer are two of her patients. Jennifer is now mom to seven-month-old Maddox after a year of treatments.

Mendelsohn says fertility treatment continues to advance, and today patients have better chances of being successful in conceiving.

"Probably close to 90 percent are successful," according to Mendelsohn.

When asked about the treatments Jennifer says, "I would just cry and be like, 'Why does it have to be this hard; why do I have to go through this just to have a baby? It seems like it's so easy for everybody else,'"

The treatments take a physical, emotional, and financial toll on a couple. Some treatments include prescriptions and even daily shots.

"I am, or I should say was terrified of shots and John was going to have to give me these shots," says Ashley.

The initial less invasive treatments didn't work for Ashley. She eventually turned to IVF.

Ashley and John lost their first baby. "I spent my first Mother's Day dreaming of the baby that I should have had, and that I want to have, and that I wanted to be here, and she wasn't,"

The two tried again and are now expecting a baby girl in the spring. One round of IVF costs on average $12,000 but Ashley says the little girl they are now expecting is worth every penny.

"If anything ever happens to me, tell this little girl every day that she was wanted, she was loved, and she was fought for hard!" Ashley says.

Shay eventually got her baby, too. When the fertility treatments failed, Shay and her husband turned to adoption. They adopted their daughter Reid when she was just a week old.

"I never knew you could love somebody so instantly. She rocked my world and has every day since," Shay says.

A year and a half later, Shay was pregnant with her daughter Jenny without any treatments.

"She is definitely a miracle in her own right," says Shay.

Infertility isn't just a women's issue. The CDC reports that both men and women contribute to infertility.  In about 35 percent of couples with infertility, a male factor is identified along with a female factor.

In about eight percent of couples with infertility, a male factor is the only identifiable cause.

Doctors say couples should seek help if you are younger than age 35 and have been trying for six months to a year. If older than age 35, seek help after trying three to six months.

If you or someone you love is battling infertility, click this link to learn more about what your options may be. Also, there is a support group for women dealing with infertility. It meets the first Monday of every month at Eastmont Baptist Church at 6 p.m.

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