We sat down with AFMC Marketing Director Annie Zhang to talk about how her personal infertility journey has impacted her professional journey to help others who are experiencing infertility.
Did you have a moment where you realized you may need to seek help to conceive?
Annie: Oh, yes! We never checked if there was any sort of fertility problem before trying to conceive, but after 6 months of trying and not succeeding, we felt like something maybe wasn’t right. I was 35 years old at the time and I wanted to have 2 children before turning 40. After seeing a fertility specialist and doing fertility testing, IVF was the main fertility treatment that could help me get to my goal of starting a family.
How many rounds of IVF did you do to have a successful pregnancy?
Annie: For my first child, I did two transfers. The first one failed, but the second one helped me give birth to a beautiful baby girl. When we decided it was time to try to conceive our second child, we succeeded in the first transfer with two twin boys!
Wait, so you had three kids with IVF! Did you want to have twins or was that a surprise for you?
Annie: Surprise! I didn’t go into my third round of IVF thinking I would have twins, but I believe they are an amazing gift and am really thankful to have them both.
What would be three words you would use to describe your IVF journey?
Annie: The three words I would use would be, happy, painless, and relaxed. I believe my journey was a happy one because I had two successful pregnancies and was given the gift of having three amazing children because of it. Then I would say painless because I thought through what I read on the Internet it would be more painful. But, there actually wasn’t much pain in my process, which I am thankful for. My experience was relaxed. Of course, when you’re going through the treatments, it isn’t the most relaxing experience, but after it was all done, I found it to be quite an easy process if you listen to your doctor’s guidance. Having a good doctor was my key. I trusted my doctor and really listened to what they said. In my journey, I found that just by being honest with myself and my doctor, I didn’t feel as worried.
I think it’s amazing you had a great experience with your fertility physician! Would you say you had that same comfortability and experience when you would talk to your friends and family about your struggles to conceive?
Annie: Yes, I did!
What was it that made you feel comfortable?
Annie: I have many friends who have experienced infertility. But, in China, where I’m from, it’s a very uncommon and uncomfortable to talk about your infertility. A lot of my friends didn’t even want to see a doctor because it’s so taboo. So just through us talking about it, I thought to just take the initiative and go see a doctor. After seeing what my experience was and listening to my advice, many of my friends went to do fertility testing and did IVF to start their own families. In the end, it has made all of us a lot happier and open.
For those out there who don’t have a circle of family or friends who they can get support from, what would you recommend?
Annie: I suggest searching for online support! You can always find information and support groups online that could help you through your journey. You could even find your closest friends on there. The steps you take in your fertility journey are yours. So if you want to quietly go to professionals for consultations and to get scientific information, you’re able to do that. But always plan for your next step. Never standstill.
Do you think your personal struggle with infertility makes you a better employee of a fertility center?
Annie: Of course – I’ve been there! I hope to share my own experience with infertile families and help them overcome psychological barriers. I also feel like my professional knowledge in the field helps me see it from both perspectives. It’s just like helping my friends!