Myth – One round of IVF is all it takes to “beat” infertility. 

I was very reluctant to try IVF. Three and a half years into trying to conceive I had endured 5 rounds of Clomid and timed intercourse, 4 IUI hybrid cycles, a diagnostic laparoscopy, and six months of weekly therapy appointments to sort out how I felt about the prospect of using IVF to try to build my family. I had spent months doing research about the procedure, along with even more extensive research about adoption. After much consideration, my husband and I figured that IVF would be the cheapest, fastest, easiest path to parenthood, even though it isn’t any of those things. Assuming it worked.

One in eight couples in America have received a diagnosis of the disease of infertility. Like most Americans needing IVF, our health insurance wouldn’t cover the treatment. We’d have to pay out of pocket. Not only that, the emotional investment can be extremely expensive. We decided that, for us, the best plan would be to try one round of IVF, transfer any resulting embryos, and move on to other options.

I remember when I told my mother-in-law we had decided to give it a try. I was in the dollar aisle of a grocery store talking to her on my cell phone. “That’s good,” she replied. “We know IVF works.” However, while I appreciated her confidence and hoped that it WOULD work for us, I’d done the research and had insight that she didn’t have. Although IVF would give us the best odds we’d ever had of achieving a pregnancy, they were still against us. IVF working was definitely not a sure thing.


Crib with Medication Boxes by Elizabeth Walker. Mixed media with custom crib by Morgan Shores Woodworking.

As described in this December article from The New York Times, a study out of the University of Bristol and the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom found that “nearly two-thirds of women undergoing I.V.F. will have a child by the sixth attempt, suggesting that persistence can pay off.”  The out of pocket costs for those cycles? As explained in this article about the same study, published by the Los Angeles Times, “a rough calculation (assuming two attempts at embryo transfer per cycle) would cost up to $132,000”.

These are the remnants of approximately $10,000 worth of medications, needles and syringes I used while undergoing one IVF and two subsequent Frozen Embryo Transfers. What could have resulted in my child, or children, instead resulted in a pile of boxes, bottles and sharps containers that I find hard to discard because they help represent my treatment journey.

These are the remnants of approximately $10,000 worth of medications, needles and syringes I used while undergoing one IVF and two subsequent Frozen Embryo Transfers. What could have resulted in my child, or children, instead resulted in a pile of boxes, bottles and sharps containers that I find hard to discard because they help represent my treatment journey.

THIS is why it’s so important that we advocate for legislation that will help those with infertility build their families. Maria and I will be at Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on May 11th, fighting for this cause and we invite you to join us! It’s an amazing, empowering experience, and a place where incredible friendships are made. In fact, Maria and I met at Advocacy Day in 2014.

If you want to learn more, check out this link from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Or feel free to contact us to chat about it at If you can’t make the trip, check out this link to learn more about the federal legislation and for easy ways to contact your Senators and Members of Congress to show your support. Another easy way to make a difference is sharing messages about Advocacy Day on social media. You could share this video, for example. Together, we can raise awareness, busting the myth that one IVF treatment is all it takes, and working to improve the treatment coverage that will help those with infertility build their families.



Risa Levine – An Advocacy Success Story

This week, we’re sharing the story of infertility advocate, Risa Levine. Risa’s story is a great example of the work that can be done and the progress that can be made, when you’re willing to stand up and fight for a cause. We hope that it will inspire you, as it has us, and that you might decide to join us at Advocacy Day on May 11th in Washington, D.C.


Risa’s Levine’s husband proposed to her with the words, “I want you as my wife, I want you as the mother of my children.” They married shortly after and, with Risa living in New York City and her husband in Washington, D.C., they had a commuter marriage for the first year. They both wanted children but Risa stayed on the pill, knowing that trying to conceive wouldn’t bode well for what was already a challenging relationship.

Eventually, Risa’s husband joined her in New York City and a few months into trying to conceive, she made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. Her doctor was confident that a few IUIs was all she would need. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. IVF cycle after IVF cycle ensued. “I did my injections at the U.S. Open in the bathroom, I did them in the middle of a Springsteen concert concert, I did my trigger shot with a client in the car. I just pulled down my pants and just popped it in my butt. You name it, I did it everywhere,” Risa recalls.


On the first morning of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Risa, who was involved in John Kerry’s campaign for presidency, had her blood drawn for the beta results of her first IUI before driving to Boston for the convention. “I got the phone call just as I crossed the Massachusetts border. I heard the magic words, ‘Congratulations, you’re pregnant!’”

Elated, Risa threw back the top of her convertible and blasted Bruce Springsteen for the rest of the trip. Sadly, her repeat beta two days later revealed her numbers were going down instead of up. She was losing the pregnancy. Just wanting to be at home, she left the convention before Kerry and Edwards gave their speeches.

Early on in treatment, Risa started advocating for infertility rights on her own. “I had a lifetime max on my insurance of $10,000. I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but in New York that lasted about 15 minutes. I mean, a hysterosalpingogram and then three consults and you’re dead,” she explains.

Risa went to Washington, D.C. prepared with homemade folders and information packets on infertility. She’d set up a meeting with Anthony Weiner, who had previously introduced the Family Building Act, legislation to mandate infertility coverage on a federal basis. It hadn’t gotten very far and Weiner wasn’t planning on introducing it again. “I said you’ve got to introduce it again. I was aggressive and pretty vocal,” Risa recalls. With her urging, Weiner reintroduced the legislation six months later. “As far as I’m concerned, Risa states, “Anthony Weiner is an infertility hero and I will maintain that to this day.”

Weiner’s office alerted RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, that Risa was on Capitol Hill lobbying for their issues. RESOLVE’s president, Barb Collura, called Risa and asked her to join their advocacy efforts. So, Risa chaired her first Advocacy Day and continued working with RESOLVE while doing everything in her power to try to get pregnant. She tried acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massages, went to a physical therapist to manipulate her uterus. She traveled to Israel with her family and visited every rabbinic tomb in northern Israel, traveling by armored bus to Bethlehem and, wearing a red bracelet, prayed at the tomb of Rachel, who had also suffered from infertility. She even drank crushed red rubies because there’s a connection between rubies and fertility in the Talmud. She had more pregnancies but none of them lasted. It was a difficult time, made even more challenging with Risa’s husband struggling with depression and alcoholism. “My husband continued with the alcohol binges in and out of my cycles so I was either dealing with him in the hospital or me losing a pregnancy or both. It was just an up and down nightmare of both happening at the same time.”

Back in the U.S., Risa worked with then Senator Hillary Clinton’s office on infertility. “We went through every issue and they were extremely patient, very inquisitive, and they wanted to understand absolutely everything,” she recalls. While Clinton’s office didn’t think it was the right time to introduce the Family Building Act in the Senate, they promised to help. “I didn’t know what form that was going to take but I also know how Clinton operated and her methodology is that if she couldn’t do it legislatively, she always found another way.”

A few months later, RESOLVE received a phone call from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) after Clinton had called them asking what they were doing about infertility. As a result, the CDC drafted a white paper, establishing a need to study infertility. That paper became the National Public Health Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention, and Management of Infertility. “When the CDC declares something a disease that requires study, it becomes a public health issue and that’s an enormous platform for our advocacy,” explains Risa.

In November of 2007, Risa was mid way through what would turn out to be her last frozen embryo cycle when her husband came home saying he thought there was going to be trouble at work and that she had to either cancel the cycle or he was divorcing her. “It was out of the blue and that was really super traumatic,” she recalls. “He canceled the cycle, then left shortly thereafter for in-patient rehab. I had a friend’s wedding and I couldn’t face it and I went to Iowa instead for Hillary because that’s what I do. That’s how I deal with things. I campaigned. It became about getting Hillary elected” Risa says, fighting back tears.

A couple of weeks passed and things at home seemed like they would be okay until her husband told her he had rented an apartment and would be moving out the following week. Risa expected that their divorce would be amicable but that wasn’t the case. Instead, it took the next two years. The main thing they fought about was the four embryos they still had in storage at Cornell. “My then father in law was adamant that I was not going to have those and he told his lawyer, who told my lawyer, that there was no amount of money that he wasn’t willing to spend to make sure that I didn’t have them.”

Knowing that she couldn’t afford to fight her father in law, Risa made the decision to donate the embryos to Cornell for research, believing that was the only way to make sense of losing them.  She hoped that Cornell would be able to use the embryos for something meaningful, whether it was stem cell research, infertility research, or whatever else they chose to use them for. Risa recalls that she had to force herself to sign the consent to dispose of the embryos and that that’s when she broke down. “I’ll never see my children. I lost my kids. The hopes and dreams I had; celebrating their bar mitzvahs and college graduations and first days of school and all of that. There is no getting over that. There’s living with it but there’s no getting over it.”

Risa spent her life’s savings and then some on her treatment, “I don’t have a baby and I’m divorced. So, outcome wise. It’s not an effective use of funds, time, body, money, life in any way. By the time my divorce was final in 2010 I was 48 years old and I was broke and broken.”


Risa continues as an infertility advocate because she hopes that she can make sense of what happened to her by helping other people. She’s frustrated when she sees those in the infertility community build their families and then not turn around and try to help those who are still fighting to build theirs by writing a $10 check to RESOLVE once a year, writing a letter to their legislators, or showing up on Capitol Hill during Advocacy Day.

Risa hopes that through her advocacy work, eventually, nobody will have to go through what she went through. Her next fight will be at the first New York Advocacy Day, Tuesday April 12th in Albany for coverage of IVF and legalized compensated surrogacy and she will be in D.C. again on May 11th, lobbying for family building legislation. “I fight so that people can have success,” she says. “I want them to have success.”
























Correlations of the Heart: Infertility and Congenital Heart Defects

Today’s guest post is from Mary. We met Mary last summer when she attended one of our writing workshops with Robin Silbergleid in East Lansing, MI. Mary shares a bit of her story of infertility and parenting children with congenital heart defect. There are images of children and parenting in this post, as well as references to loss. Thanks so much, Mary, for sharing your story with us!


Correlations of the Heart: Infertility and Congenital Heart Defects

Whether you have just been diagnosed with infertility, or you have been dealing with it for quite some time, you know that it is often devastating and can test any relationship.  Whether it’s getting that positive pregnancy test, finding a gestational carrier, or finally making it to delivery after suffering multiple miscarriages, you have been through so much more than the average person by that point that you feel like the world owes you a healthy baby.  And, fortunately, the majority of people get just that.  Some of us don’t.  This is our story of what happened next, and why it matters to you.

Mary and her husband, Phil, blissfully unaware of infertility.

Mary and her husband, Phil, blissfully unaware of infertility.

Discovering I was infertile was heart-wrenching.  Once I found out why, it wasn’t too surprising—my appendix had ruptured when I was 20 and scarred my tubes closed.  It still gutted me, but I felt privileged to have a simple explanation because my diagnosis came a solution—in vitro fertilization (IVF).  We would just bypass the blockages and *poof* a baby should easily be ours.  We were lucky—we got pregnant on the first try with lots of embryos left over for siblings.  We were overjoyed.  Our daughter was born at 39 weeks and everything seemed fine.  Except for being a little blue initially, after an evening with some extra oxygen, she was good to go, and we took home our perfectly healthy baby.  It wasn’t until she was almost five months old that we learned there might be something wrong.  At six months, she was officially diagnosed with a complex congenital heart defect (CHD)—a missing left pulmonary artery, and a hole between her ventricles (or ventricular septal defect).

“You have been through so much more than the average person by that point that you feel like the world owes you a healthy baby.  And, fortunately, the majority of people get just that.  Some of us don’t.”

After navigating and surviving the world of open-heart surgery and the implications of a lifetime of medication for our daughter, we finally decided we were ready to try for another child.  Although the chance of another child with CHD was greater having already had one, the total chance was still small—something like 2.5%, up from 1%.  Our second round of IVF resulted in a miscarriage.  Our third round failed completely.  Finally, our fourth round gave us our third pregnancy.  We anxiously waited to see if we would have another miscarriage, but even with heavy bleeding early on, a few weeks of bed rest seemed to put us in the clear.  At 18 weeks, we elected to undergo a fetal echocardiogram to check out the baby’s heart.  The longer the examination took, the more worried we became.  Sure enough, the news was gut-wrenching.  Our little boy had a different, rarer, and more serious CHD than our daughter.  He ended up having open-heart surgery at seven days, and, although prognosis originally looked good, at four months or so, his growth stalled.  He bounced back and forth between the hospital and home with increasing frequency, and endured multiple gastrointestinal surgeries and a second open-heart surgery.  Sadly, he ultimately suffered heart failure and passed away shortly before he turned 11 months old.

Patrick after his second open-heart surgery.

Patrick after his second open-heart surgery.

After his death, we joined with other heart families to champion increased money and research for CHDs.  We were stunned with the statistics we learned.  Even though CHDs are the most common birth defect, affecting 1 in 110 children, and kill more children under the age of 1 than all forms of childhood cancer combined, there is little publicity and research funding.  The cause of most CHDs is unknown, and surgery is rarely a cure; more often it is a temporary fix.

As we share our story to help raise awareness of CHD and increase research and funding, we also feel obligated to share another piece of the puzzle.  There is a correlation, as yet not completely understood, between infertility and birth defects.  Some research indicates that utilizing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) increases the risk of having a child with birth defect, including CHDs.  See, e.g., (Last accessed February 15, 2016).  Other research suggests that this increase is related to the increased frequency of higher order multiple births in the IVF population and not the use of IVF itself.  See, e.g., (Last accessed February 15, 2016).  Still other research suggests that the cause of the birth defects is related to factors that cause infertility.  That is, infertile couples who ultimately conceive naturally have the same increased risk for birth defects as those who use ART.  See, e.g., (Last accessed February 15, 2016).

CHD-FactsThis is not to scare you away from trying to conceive—whether naturally or using ART.  The chance of having a child with a birth defect is still very small.  But, you should be aware that it can happen.  Infertility is hard on a relationship.  Having a medically needy child is an added degree of stress and difficulty as well.  Experiencing one after the other exponentially increases chances of divorce.  But knowledge is power.  Forewarned is forearmed.  Going into the process with your eyes wide open puts you in the best position to survive as a couple whatever lies ahead of you, be it natural conception, surrogacy, adoption, IVF, childlessness, multiples, a medically needy child, a healthy child, or any combination thereof.  In the end, my hope for you is the same as it is for myself—no matter your struggles, no matter your circumstances, no matter your final destination, may you find happiness and joy.


If you would like to read our complete infertility and CHD journey, you can find them at and

An LGBTQ Journey with Surrogacy

Here at ART of Infertility we strive to share a diverse community of stories including those that feature LGBTQ experiences. This past July, at a hotel in California, Maria and Elizabeth met with Rob and Scotty, a couple trying to conceive a child by using an egg donor and a gestational carrier. A gestational carrier, or gestational surrogate, is a woman who carries a baby created using a donor egg, not her own, while a traditional surrogate both provides the egg and the womb. Together for five years, Rob and Scotty have tried multiple times to conceive and are sharing their story in order to educate those about the journey and struggles that they have been through. We are proud to showcase Rob and Scotty’s journey to have children together. 


Rob has always wanted children. He can remember being a member of the online community, “Surrogate Moms Online” for almost ten years, looking for egg donors and surrogates to carry his child. At this point, he doesn’t even remember how he found the group, it has just always been a resource to utilize.

Jump to October 2009, when Rob met Scotty and they began dating. At this point, Rob had already been trying to have children for quite a while with a traditional surrogate and Scotty was still a student trying to finish up his degree. Early in their relationship, when Rob was still in the process of working with a traditional surrogate, Scotty realized that he wanted to have children too.

Rob and Scotty 1

Scotty and Rob waiting in the lobby at the site of the egg donation.

“When we were dating, he was doing that process and in our relationship I didn’t feel that the kid was going to be mine if it did actually become successful, it would just be, I’m dating this person and that’s their kid.”

Scotty explained that that was the moment when he realized he wanted to have kids with Rob. He didn’t know when but he knew that eventually, that would be the right move. Because he was still in school, it wasn’t quite the perfect time but he pitched the idea to Rob and proposed that their kids be at least half-siblings by using an egg donor and a gestational carrier. Scotty confirms, “That’s how I always wanted to approach it and I was glad he was on board.”

Rob agreed and they did plenty of research. After going to a surrogate “get-together” in the area, Rob and Scotty realized that it would be perfect to use a gestational carrier in order for all of their children to have the same maternal DNA through an egg donor.

According to Rob, it made sense to utilize the same maternal DNA and then use a separate gestational carrier, “Because we’re having two or three kids” and a traditional surrogate might not want to undergo another pregnancy.

When the time was right, Rob and Scotty began trying to conceive with the help of Doctor Aimee, their reproductive endocrinologist. After securing both an egg donor and what Rob and Scotty call an “oven” they were ready to begin the process. When asked what an “oven” is, Rob laughs and explains that an oven is a gestational carrier who does not provide the eggs, she just acts as the carrier.

After plenty of blood tests and paperwork, both men provided sperm samples in order to have multiple embryos. When determining whose embryo would be transferred to the donor first, it was clear to Scotty that Rob had been waiting a long time to have a child. “I’m going to love our kid the same, it doesn’t matter, it’s the same. We’ve talked about having them one year a part.”

Rob and Scotty 2

Scotty fills out paperwork before one of their appointments with Doctor Aimee.

Rob and Scotty seem to have it all strategically planned out but they still have some concern for what the future might hold. They’re cautiously optimistic about their future children and take everything one step at a time.

“We don’t tell anybody where we are in the process. My parents are both passed but my sister knew we wanted kids.” Rob explains that it is difficult to update friends, Facebook acquaintances and everyone else on their quest to have a baby when their situation is so precarious. “It sucks but it sucks more when you have to start telling the world, ‘Oh yeah, that didn’t happen.’”

When it comes to Scotty’s family, things are a bit more difficult. His family isn’t even aware that they are trying and according to Rob, “We don’t know how she’s [Scotty’s mom] going to react either because of their Latin culture and he was brought up Mormon but his mom does accept me, she likes me.”

Scotty knows that he’s going to wait a bit to tell his family when the time comes. “I mean, my siblings know that I want to be a parent one day but like he said, they don’t even know where we are in that process.”

Rob and Scotty planted a tree on the day their embryos were created.

Rob and Scotty planted a tree on the day their embryos were created.

Despite the caution and waiting, Scotty already knows how he would tell his family of the news. He plans on testing out the news with his siblings while out to dinner, featuring an ultrasound image. After that, he’ll tell his parents. I want to have them come over for dinner. I want to make food that I cooked with my mom and my dad that they taught me. I could tell them ‘Hey you guys passed this down to me and I know how to cook this and that.’” Scotty’s idea is that he would pass those traditions on to his own children in order to honor his parents.

To some, it may seem like a lot of planning and strategy to tell the family something so exciting. For Rob and Scotty, it’s everything. They know that their situation isn’t necessarily traditional and that is why they exercise so much caution when it comes to the subject of growing their family. They’ve had some success but endured quite a bit of pain along the way and it is difficult to take a step back and admit that things didn’t work out.

It’s been a long road for Rob and Scotty–an even longer one for Rob. For now, they’ll continue to document their journey and share their story with others who are experiencing the same struggle. Rob excitedly showed Maria and Elizabeth some photos of their experience. As he flipped through the images, he explained each detail. “So this is in the car before we left to go do the egg donation. That’s Starbucks when we got the newspaper and then driving there. This is outside there. This is where the donation is. And then this is in the lobby area.”

Rob and Scotty 3

A cute little stress reliever while driving to an appointment.

The two are still working on the process and hope that something good will happen soon. Although it’s difficult to always be patient, they’re working toward their goal and they’ll remember every step of the way, thanks to modern technology. Hopefully one day, they’ll be able to share their pictures with their kids and enlighten other LGBT families with their experience. We here at ART of Infertility wish them all the best.

Twenty-something and Dealing with Infertility

It’s a common misconception that infertility is only a problem for those who wait too long to try to conceive. Today, we’re sharing portions of just a few of the many stories we’ve collected from those diagnosed with the disease in their 20s. This post does contain an image of babies/parenting.

– Elizabeth

 Natalie and Stephan 

Natalie and Stephan focus their energy on putting puzzles together as a way to keep infertility off their minds.

Natalie and Stephan focus their energy on putting puzzles together as a way to keep infertility off their minds.

What are some of the best ways people supported you during your journey?  One of the most memorable ways people helped support us was fundraising for IVF. We set up one of those health donation websites and had a garage sale. Family members and friends had bake sales, everyone donated items for the garage sale, and even coworkers from family members helped out. It was really really humbling and brought us to tears once to see all the support we were getting.

What is the biggest lesson you learned throughout the journey?

Natalie: “The big ticket question. I think this is what I struggle most with. Figuring out why this is happening, or what I can learn from all of this. Patience definitely, though, I can’t say that is currently my strong suit these days. Over all, I think trying to ‘live in the moment,’ is a big take away. It’s so easy to get swept into ‘what’s next?’ or ‘what should I have done?’ that I lose the now.  I also think I’m gaining perseverance.

Stephan: “I think learning to be more pragmatic is the biggest takeaway from this journey.  I was so expectant with the initial IVF cycle because so much time and money was invested in it that I think we were both extremely disappointed when it wasn’t successful.  Learning to live within the facts and to not speculate has helped save me the disappointment.”

“I felt alone and ashamed to have to go through this at what was then 24.”

Audrey and Chas


Audrey: “One of our biggest challenges was Chas’s anger for not being able to expand our family naturally. During an argument he told me that the reason he was really upset was because we have 2 empty rooms upstairs (we bought a 4 bedroom house in the hopes that they would be filled shortly after we purchased.) I felt alone and ashamed to have to go through this at what was then 24.”

Chas: “This infertility journey is mostly my fault. Not exactly my fault but I’m the one with something wrong. It’s kind of been hard to take. I’ve had my good moments and my bad moments. I’ve had moments where I’ve just blown up and said I can’t do this anymore. Big, huge blow outs. It’s hard when you feel like it’s your fault. I dealt with it on individual terms instead of more of a team effort. When I finally embraced that team effort, everything got a lot better. Although, I still have my days. You just have to go in as a team.”

“The advice I would give to someone who has just been diagnosed with infertility would be, realize it isn’t anyone’s fault. Also, don’t hold it in. Talk to your true friends and let them know that this isn’t something that can just be ‘relaxed’ away, or something you can ‘try harder’ at, this is a real medical problem.”


Megan and Jeremy


Megan: “Through my testing, we found I had a heart shaped uterus, hypothyroidism, PCOS tendencies(but no official change in the labs to get the official PCOS diagnosis), MTHFR, elevated NK cells and cytokines, and blood clotting tendencies/antiphospholipid antibody syndrome that impaired bloodflow to my ovaries and uterus.”

“My RE told me that if my labwork didn’t improve in my next cycle (my FSH just came back extremely elevated while we were planning our 3rd IVF cycle for 2 months later), he wouldn’t let me use my own eggs anymore.  At 28 years old, I took that news really hard.”

“Prior to the IF process, I was completely phobic of needles and there was no way I’d give myself shots.  With the exception of the PIO shots, I gave myself my shots and had IV infusions every 2-4 weeks to prevent my immune system from attacking the babies.  I’d sometimes have to be stuck up to 6 times a day depending on lab work and how easily they’d get the IV.  My desire to have a baby far surpassed my fears.  What other choice did I have? It all seemed small in comparison to not having children.”


Guide to the Zika Virus

By: Danielle Bucco

With the Zika Virus starting to spread further there is a fear that it will reach the United States. This can be a scary thought for people trying to become pregnant. Many people are worried and afraid, especially since the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency. However, learning more about the Zika Virus can decrease your chances of contracting it.

What is it?

On the news, they seem to spend a lot of time talking about the spread of the virus but not on exactly what it is or how it is carried. The Zika Virus first started in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Isles, but in May 2015, it was confirmed to be in Brazil as well. Since then, it has traveled to other areas of South America moving up into Central America. The United States has not confirmed its arrival here but it has been seen in some of the returning travelers, and sources say those numbers will only go up.

zika map

Now that we know where it can be found, we can answer the question of what exactly it is. The Zika Virus is a disease that is mainly carried by infected mosquitoes. When it bites a person, it spreads to them causing the person to get infected with the virus as well. Since mosquitoes are air borne, it makes it next to impossible to control it from spreading. These mosquitoes can be found both indoors and outdoors, wherever there is a small amount of stagnant water.

 What does it do? How does it affect pregnancies?

The symptoms of the virus usually include a fever, rash, joint pain, and eye irritation (conjunctivitis). However, if a woman is pregnant and she is infected with the virus things can get slightly more complicated. It is possible for the pregnant mother to pass this virus to the fetus, which can cause some birth defects to the child. The birth defect that has been most commonly reported is what is called microcephaly, which is an abnormally small head and can also be associated with brain damage.

How can it be prevented?


There are still many unknowns when it comes to this virus, such as a cure, but one thing that is known is how to prevent getting it. The first prevention would be to avoid the places that have been known to spread this virus. However, if traveling is required it can be helpful to remember the following tips:

  1. Limit exposure to places most commonly known to have mosquitoes, such as forests, marshes, or stagnant water.
  2. Always wear insect repellent. This will help keep away the mosquitoes and prevent you from getting bitten by one that could potentially be carrying the virus.
  3. Wear long sleeves and pants. The less places the mosquitoes have to bite, the less likely you will be bitten, which can save you from infection.
  4. Stay in air-conditioned places with screens on the door to keep mosquitoes outside.
  5. If you are unable to stay inside an air-conditioned room, sleep under a mosquito bed net to help protect you from mosquitoes.

By following these simple prevention tips, it will not only help to keep an individual from contracting the virus, but also others as well. The more everyone tries to prevent it, the slower it will spread, which will hopefully cause it to be longer before it enters the United States. By being more aware for what to look out for and the risks involved, people looking to become pregnant can rest easy knowing they are doing their part in preventing the Zika Virus from infecting the fetus.

New Social Media Member: Danielle Bucco

I’m very excited to start my work as the new social media and communications intern. I am a senior in my last semester at Michigan State University, studying Professional Writing. I first heard about the ART of Infertility from an email that an advisor sent. When I read more about what exactly it was and did further research, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the unique experience in some way. I immediately thought it was interesting how people going through infertility issues could not only have an outlet to vent their frustrations and pain, but to also have a support group of people who are going through similar situations. As a Professional Writing major, I am also very interested in learning about people’s struggles and how they deal with and overcome those struggles.

IMG_4797I grew up in a small town in New Jersey, about 45 minutes from New York City; so many different types of people always surrounded me. I love getting to know their individual stories and learning more about them. This is one of the reasons that I enjoy reading so much. You are able to learn all about someone’s life, either fictional or non-fictional, which couldn’t be more exciting for me. This is one of the reasons that I hope to be a part of the book-publishing world in some way in the future. Whether it is editing books or working as a marketer for a publishing company, I would love to be able to help people get joy from reading.

Version 2 Traveling is also something that I am quite passionate about. Whether it is just to a new town I have never been to before or a new country, I find that not knowing exactly what to expect can be exciting. My best college experience was my study abroad trip to London. I knew when I first came to Michigan State that I wanted to study abroad, but it was so much better then I had ever expected. Instead of being stuck in a classroom all day, my professor wanted us to go out and experience what London has to offer. We also each had internships during the 5 weeks that we were there, giving us some real world experience instead of class work.

As the social media intern, my job will be to not only help manage all the many different forms of social media that ART of Infertility uses such as Twitter and Facebook, but to also further develop some other channels that are not already in use. Throughout my internship, I hope to work on creating a Tumblr, along with creating a larger presence on our Instagram and Pinterest pages. I am looking forward to working on this and hopefully see these pages grow.

When I graduate from Michigan State, I hope to use the skills that I have learned, both in the classroom and from internships such as this one, to help people share their incredible stories with the rest of the world. I believe that art and writing are some of the best ways for people to express themselves, no matter what they are going through, and I hope that I can take that belief with me as I enter my post-college life. Being the newest member of the team, there is a lot to learn but I am excited use my love of communications and help out the rest of the team, hopefully making their lives a little bit easier.