Andrea Syrtash: On Her Journey Through Infertility
The author, on-air personality and founder of Pregnantish chats with us about her experience with infertility and motherhood.
On her infertility journey.
How long do you have?! Here's the short version - 18 treatments over 7 years. Eventually I met my baby in year 8 - I spent almost a decade trying to meet my baby. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at 14 years old. I always knew I would have trouble with fertility but I never imagined it would take so long, but I kept going through endless fertility treatments. Even with pregnancy losses I kept feeling positive that it would work because reproductive doctors would tell me everything looked really good. What we didn't realize was that my body had been rejecting what we thought were healthy embros, and we learned that in year 5 or 6 of trying with genetic testing. At that point my doctor told me to use a surrogate using a gestational carrier, so I created the embryo in 2016. We searched for a surrogate (P.S. don't just say to someone, "just get a surrogate," because it's a very complicated process and at the time illegal in NY state. 2 surrogates in Canada dropped out on us - I'm orignally Canadian so I looked there).
My first cousin saved the day. She said, "I can't watch you go through more loss. I'm gonna carry your embryo." and I met my baby, who was created in 2016 and was born in December 2018. She should have been named Elsa because she was frozen for so long.
On resources for infertility.
- Pregnantish is the first lifestyle site to help people navigate infertility and fertility through the help of science and technology. It's full of storytelling, community, content and support. I launched Pregnantish in year 5 or 6 of trying to get and stay pregnant. I've been through zillions of pregnancies and fertility treatments and was having a really hard time, and all the while I was on national TV and on book tours (I write about relationships for a living), I kept saying to producers that we have to tell the story about how infertility is a chapter in many modern day relationships and how it really affects them. If you can't find what you believe, you can create it and there will be a community and audience that's also looking for it - so that's how Pregnantish was born.
Resolve: The National Infertility Association has been around for over 40 years. They've made me an advocate. I've been lobbying on Capital Hill for coverage and access because of Resolve. They have support groups all over the country.
On describing motherhood.
Incredible, at times challenging because of sleep, and just...WOW. I don't know. I pinch myself all the time.
The greatest gift of infertility is that I don't take anything for granted as a mom.
Maybe I would have been that way anyway, but it certainly makes me more grateful.
The key with self-care is to get out of the to-do mode and get into the to-be mode. In one of my books, Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband), I wrote about how you don't have to think in terms of all or nothing, or else you'll end up with nothing. Think of small things that bring you joy and make you more present. It could be skincare, which Matrescence good for. It could be a bubble bath, painting, reading, anything that doing something for yourself that isn't an action that has to be done is a beautiful thing.