Angela’s Advocacy Day Interview

Maria and I had the pleasure of documenting a bit of Angela’s story when we were in Washington, D.C. last month. Angela did multiple rounds of IVF with both her own eggs and donor eggs before adopting her son domestically. Thanks, Angela, for sharing your story with us so others will know they are not alone!



Angela talks about her experience with open adoption and the frequency with which she has contact with her son’s birth mother.

For more information on adoption, the Creating a Family website is a great resource. They even have a radio show that can how information on the different types of adoption and how to decide which one is right for you and this quick comparison chart on the different types of adoption.


Angela is a RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association Ambassador and a peer-led support group host. You can play the audio clip to hear about how Angela got involved with the organization. (She references Redbook’s Truth About Trying campaign in this clip. You can check out some of the videos from the campaign at this link but will have to scroll to the bottom to find them.)

Click on this link to find a RESOLVE support group near you. If there isn’t one in your area, you can email to talk to someone about starting one. There’s no substitute for in person, “real life” groups and the support they provide. It was through a RESOLVE support group that I became comfortable with my diagnosis, sharing my story, and ultimately wanting to do infertility advocacy, resulting in ART of Infertility!

A Guy’s Perspective on Father’s Day and Infertility

We’re fortunate that as word about ART of Infertility gets out, we have more and more men sharing their stories with us. This week, Kevin Jordan tells us a bit about his infertility journey. Thanks so much, Kevin, for giving us an inside view on what it’s like living as a man with infertility.

A Guy’s Perspective on Father’s Day and Infertility

Running long distances, I work things out. I work out the sadness that I will never see my wife give birth. I work out the ways that I address co-workers questions about “when” and “if” we are going to have kids. I work out my own anxieties and frustrations that come with my wife and I choosing to live childfree. For me, running is my thing. My way of being a guy and dealing with infertility.

Two years ago, I decided to embrace my passion for running that developed out of my infertile frustrations. That Father’s Day weekend, I ran my first full marathon in Northern Michigan. For anyone else who has run a marathon, you know that it is physically grueling. But running along the shores of Lake Michigan, navigating through the dense fog building up from off the lake, I found renewal and a spirit to continue to move on.

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Running the marathon on Father’s Day was also symbolic of a new view on life. To rethink how I may want to experience fatherhood – possibly not as a biological or adoptive father – but as a dog-father, an uncle, a better friend.

This year, as my wife and I move to a state where both our families live, we have had to renegotiate how to handle holidays like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. In the past, living out-of-state, we simply would send a text or card. But this year is different, and this is challenging. We are expected to celebrate these events in person, expected to celebrate the dad’s and grandfather’s we have in our life. And while I appreciate and honor those men in my life, I can’t help but question where I exist in relation to all of this celebration?


Overall, I think what’s most trying for most of whom are infertile, it is being asked to do the same things, when you just aren’t the same person. When we moved to Michigan five years ago, my wife and I were different people – not yet diagnosed with infertility. As we return to Wisconsin though, I have to admit that infertility has not just changed us – it has changed me. For example, I have two different family events where I feel like I need to put on a happy face and pretend that I’m on board with celebrating a holiday that explicitly reminds me of one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced in my life. This is hard and often leaves me feeling distant. Father’s Day isn’t about me. But perhaps even more frustrating, is the fact that talking about how Father’s Day isn’t for me is simply a conversation most men don’t want to have.

But I’ve come to realize that not everyone is going to understand the distance I feel when participating in these family events. Some may say this realization is fatalist, but I actually think this realization is freeing. Getting to this point is a relief, because you transcend into a new space that only a certain group will ever get to, should they take the time to. And I encourage others – especially men – to take the time to be self-reflective, to think back on those frustrating experiences with infertility and to find a hobby to work out those moments. For me it was running, for others it could be skiing or golfing or fishing. Whatever it is, it should be something because men dealing with infertility have different needs and coping mechanisms than their wives. Taking the time to care for yourself is crucial. Without self-care, how can you care for your wife? How can you transcend into a fatherly-figure?  For me, I have gained much from taking the time to reflect on my infertility. I have found a new self-confidence that can be applied in other avenues of life. Try to look at this weekend as an opportunity to get to this place. You won’t regret it. Cheers!

Kevin Jordan


Kevin lives in Madison, WI with his wife and three-dogs. His experience with infertility encouraged him not only to become an avid runner but also switch careers. He recently graduated with his M.S. in Medical Physics.


The Psychological Benefits of Support Groups and Mindfulness for Women Choosing ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)

Ivy Margulies, PsyD is our guest blogger this week and shares some fascinating info on the benefits of support groups and what you can do if one if not available to you. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Ivy!

The Psychological Benefits of Support Groups and Mindfulness for Women Choosing ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)

In reviewing existing research on the psychosocial factors associated with the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is patently clear that strong social support is helpful in reducing the anxiety, stress and fear in women deciding to pursue this path.  To illustrate further, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic (2002) found women who attended group sessions prior to a cycle of IVF were significantly less anxious during the IVF treatment when compared to women who did not participate in a support group.


As a clinical psychologist and facilitator of infertility support groups, I have witnessed first-hand the psychological benefits associated with the reduction in stress and anxiety that takes place when women come together and share their intimate journey of infertility.  Moreover, when women allow themselves to feel emotionally vulnerable in a group they immediately feel heard and seen by others traveling the same uncertain journey. They are no longer invisible as they pursue having a much wanted baby.

In general however, most women going through infertility treatments keep it to themselves and are less likely to share or seek social support during this time in their lives.  Many couples don’t particularly want to tell people about it which compounds the embarrassment, shame and stigma they may be feeling.  Many women report feeling defective; not “normal” when compared to their peers who are able to conceive easily.  This compounds the common feeling of being socially isolated, particularly when research tells us social support is critical for women and their partners who are going through infertility.

Scientific evidence strongly confirms that emotional well being along with various forms of health benefits are in direct correlation to social support.  Women experience positive emotions when they have supportive interactions with other women who are going through the same experience.


However, positive results can also be achieved when women (and their partners) use mindfulness techniques.  Defined by Merriam-Webster as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, mindfulness allows for calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Further more, it can be used as a therapeutic technique to help people with any number of distressing feelings and situations as well as beneficial in the practice of meditation.

Mindfulness has myriad applications.  An interesting finding on the benefit of using mindfulness is that it can be used in place of a support group (or in conjunction with a support group) when there either is no support group in your area or if you personally prefer not to partake in a support group experience and can be implemented this way:  If you take the time to close your eyes for ten to twenty minutes, minimum per day, and imagine that you are receiving unconditional, loving support from your family and friends as it relates to your infertility, you can elicit a similar benefit of reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety as if you were participating in a group therapy process.  In addition, there is a reduction in feelings of distress and self-criticism, just as there is when you participate in a support group.


I am encouraged by this finding which confirms that continued practice in mindfulness based techniques can be used as a tool that you can implement simply by exercising the power of your mind which once trained, can be used in any number of other anxiety provoking situations in your life, not only those associated with IVF.

 Ivy Margulies, PsyD of Angels Born Still is a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, California specializing in maternal mental health, including stillbirth, miscarriage, infertility, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, and infant loss. Dr. Margulies brings mindfulness and awareness to the mind-body-spirit connection through meditation, visualization, and breath work.

In addition to Dr. Margulies’ clinical practice, she is a death midwife, assisting and helping educate the family on processes associated with the transition of life into death, at any age. The work Dr. Margulies does is designed to create a sacred space for parents who have experienced perinatal death for reasons that are unknown and make no sense.  She is dedicated to improving the care and information families need in the hospital.

Dr. Margulies is a member of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, working to reduce the stigma and shame around maternal mental health issues while raising awareness of the #1 complication of pregnancy and childbirth.


She can be reached at or through her website

Living and Writing in the Aftermath

Today we have a guest post from Robin Silbergleid. Thanks, Robin, for blogging for us this week! Robin is teaching a writing workshop, Women Write the Body, for us on June 14th in East Lansing, MI. Here’s a link to the workshop details. Please consider joining us! 

Living and Writing in the Aftermath

By Robin Silbergleid

This is how it goes. I’m at a school function for my eleven-year-old daughter. The auditorium clamors with families. A woman rushes by, tugging a toddler’s hand, an infant in a front carrier. On the stage, a teacher is visibly pregnant. My son, age three, draws a picture, asks when the show, which hasn’t started yet, is going to be over. Behind us, a baby fusses.

And somehow, I’m mentally spinning, back to the April four years ago when it looked certain that I would miscarry yet again.

It’s such an odd mix of emotions that hits me at these times: gratitude for having the children I do, and that old longing and fear. I won’t have another child. Won’t experience pregnancy again, the thrill of two pink lines on a home test, the faint rustle of a fetus at ten weeks.

I kiss the top of my son’s head. Watch my daughter rush past, holding a flag that says Texas, the state of her birth, so quickly I can’t snap a picture to preserve the moment.


I didn’t set out to make a career writing about infertility and pregnancy loss. But, as I’ve said in other contexts, I began my professional life the same time I started the journey (oh so innocently!) toward single motherhood via anonymous sperm donation. And I was so profoundly changed by those long months of blood draws, ultrasounds, and injections that for a long time I couldn’t write about anything else.

To borrow a phrase from poet Carolyn Forche, we all live in the aftermath of what has happened to us.

It’s been four years since I walked out of the clinic with a gritty ultrasound photo and a hug from my doctor. I am, all things considered, a “success” story. I have the second child I so desperately wanted. He’s now a chatty three-year-old obsessed with Elsa from Frozen, equally happy to wear blue fingernail polish or dig for worms on the playground.

And, to be fair, most of the time I’m so busy with the work of parenting and exhausted from chronic sleep deprivation that I don’t have much time to think about the failings of my ovaries or the uterus my ob/gyn described as ‘hostile’.

But all it takes is a certain song on the radio, or driving down I-96, or finding an alcohol wipe in my backpack, or heaven forbid a letter from the clinic, and I’m there. What if I’d started trying a few months earlier? What if I’d done IVF at a different clinic? What if I’d chosen to transfer one and not two? What if I’d waited one more month? What if.

It’s not so raw anymore, the way it was in those hormone-addled days of high risk pregnancy, breastfeeding, and new motherhood. But, as writer Melissa Ford has so rightly said, resolving childlessness is not the same as resolving infertility. And there’s no question: infertility has been a defining experience my adult life, both personally and professionally. I see it every time I look at my son, with the blue eyes and light hair he clearly did not inherit from me.

Writing has offered me a way to process those experiences, in all their complexity. My writing about infertility has gone from unprocessed scribbles written in a waiting room to poems with diagnostic codes, rants and thank yous. I’ve written now a memoir and a full-length collection of poems about infertility and loss, on top of numerous shorter essays. And while I do not think that writing is in and of itself therapeutic, over the long run writing has provided me with the language and narrative to make sense of what I’ve experienced, to reframe it and work through it. Beyond that, sharing my story, and reading and listening to the stories of other women with similar experiences, has led to enduring connections and relationships. We are reclaiming our bodies and our selves, one word at a time.

Robin Silbergleid is the author of the memoir Texas Girl and the chapbooks Pas de Deux and Frida Kahlo, My Sister. Her collection of about infertility treatment The Baby Book is forthcoming in November 2015 by CavanKerry Press. She lives, writes, teaches, and mothers in East Lansing, Michigan. You can find her online on Twitter @RSilbergleid or at