Monday, January 7, 2019

Owlet Donation for Infertility and Loss Survivors

We have partnered with Owlet and Share Parents Utah for a special program for survivors of infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant loss.  We understand that the mental and emotional battle scars of infertility do not disappear with conception, childbirth, or adoption.  One struggle that many of us face after we survive infertility or loss is an increase of fear and anxiety surrounding our new child.  It sometimes feels impossible to enjoy the new addition because we constantly worry that the child we have so longed for will be taken away.  Another hurdle that some infertility survivors may face can be premature birth or childbirth complications. 

The amazing people at Owlet recognize these unique challenges faced by our community and have generously donated 18 baby monitors to be given to families who have struggled with infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant loss.  UIRC, together with Share Parents, is facilitating the disbursement of this donation.  To enter for a chance to be selected, fill out this GOOGLE FORM by January 20 at midnight.  A random drawing will take place on January 21st to select the recipients.

UIRC and Share Parents will be presenting the selected families with the socks and facilitating the Owlet training program on January 31st at Meet Me on 33rd. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Why you should take "having a baby" off your resolution list and what to do instead...

Today I want to share some tips for setting goals while dealing with infertility.  I have always found that New Years is often harder than Christmas while in the thick of infertility.  Another year passing reminds me that the main goal I have wanted for so long remains out of reach, and there is no certainty what the coming year will bring either.  Combine all of this with the endless social media posts about new additions and magical goals and it is enough to make anyone feel defeated.  This year, take having a baby off of your goal/resolution list.  It can still be something you work for, but, we all know it is something that is out of our control, so, let's talk about setting goals that are within our control.  Here are 5 keys to setting manageable resolutions:

1.  Set a resolution that is WITHIN YOUR CONTROL.  You cannot control the outcome of an IUI or IVF cycle, if a birth parent chooses you for placement, or winning the lottery (although if you figure this one out, let me know...).  Those things are all out of your control.  Shift your thinking around those goals into things that you CAN control and that fit the next 4 criteria. 

2.  Be SPECIFIC.  You've decided to move onto adoption this year, and the tempting thing to put is "adopt a baby" but, that isn't in your control.  So, you change it to "get ready to be awesome parents so a birth mom will choose us"...hmmmm...better..but not quite right.  Now comes the key to step two, be SPECIFIC.  Here are some examples of specific goals:  schedule a consult with UIRC about adoption, attend an adoption event, learn about creating an adoption profile, create an adoption page...

3.  Set a TIMELINE and WRITE IT DOWN.  Now that you have your specific and controllable goals, set a time frame to achieve them.  Let's start with one from our list, schedule an adoption consult.  Pick a reasonable time frame for this goal, such as, by February 14th.  Then, WRITE DOWN your goal on your calendar and set some reminders for yourself on your phone. 

4.  DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP!  Changes and challenges and setbacks happen.  Don't throw out your goals when things don't go the way you planned, take a breath, regroup, restart.  For example, let's say that you made the goal to only have dessert once a week in an effort to get healthy for IVF...but then it is your best friend's birthday, a party at work, and your period starts all in one week.  And you have multiple desserts a day.  Don't waste time beating yourself up, just take a breath and decide if you want to try again.  If you do, just start fresh.  I always channel my inner Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables..."Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it"

5.  Find SUPPORT.  Goals, especially ones that are life changing, and ones that are emotional (hello every infertility goal!) are best met when you have help.  Utilize the support systems available.  Attend one of UIRC's in person support groups, meet with a therapist (like the sliding fee scale therapists available from UIRC), talk to a friend, post your goal on social media or in our online support group.  We are HERE for you and want to help you meet your goals on your family building journey.

So this week, when you are bombarded by all the things you can't do or can't control, I hope you look for the things you CAN do next year, because there are so many great goals you can set and reach in 2019.  Goals that can create a better present and a better future.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Big Announcement!

Yes, Camille is resigning as the Executive Director of Utah Infertility Resource Center. You are probably wondering what is going on or why this is happening, especially because she LOVES her job and is passionate about this organization and its mission. Below is a little Q&A exchange between myself (Brooke, the Director of Education) and Camille to let you in on the situation.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The ART of Infertility is Coming to Utah!

UIRC is pleased to to host The ART of Infertility here in Salt Lake in two months. Together, we are presenting a month-long art exhibit and a fundraiser gala. We have invited their founders, Elizabeth and Maria, to share a post here about their mission.

What is The ART of Infertility (ART of IF)?

The ART of Infertility is an international arts organization started by the two of us, Elizabeth Walker and Maria Novotny, in 2014. The organization conducts art and writing workshops, collects and distributes oral history interviews, curates art exhibitions, and presents educational talks and writings. All of these activities are designed to support the infertile community, provide educational resources, and support further understanding of the topic of infertility in conjunction with arts-based methods of healing.

What are the goals of ART of IF?

We have both been bothered by the fact infertility stories are often silenced. We’re even more bothered by the fact that there’s not much variety in the stories that are brought to light. It is too-often that infertility is represented within a heteronormative, white, middle-class narrative. The reality is that this is simply not a true nor realistic representation of infertility.

Monday, November 14, 2016

2016 - Utah Infertility Conference - Finding Your Way

UIRC recently hosted Utah's First Annual Infertility Conference on October 29, 2016 at the Karen Gail Miller Conference Center in Sandy, UT. 

The conference was a huge success with 230 in attendance. We received a lot of positive feedback from our vendors, speakers and attendees and we are already planning next year's event. 

The conference opened with former Mrs. Utah, Tiffany Alleman, sharing her story about how she has been able to navigate the world of infertility and pregnancy loss. Along with her story, she shared some bits of wisdom with the audience, including the fact that "Infertility is part of you, NOT all of you."

Attendees stated that "Tiffany’s experiences, while heartbreaking, were something many of us could identify with. I’m grateful she was willing to share her story."

"Tiffany was very inspirational & funny. She gave a real ‘human’ perspective that gives hope & understanding."

The conference also featured a lunch panel titled "Pathways to Parenthood." The panel featured various individuals who have navigated different paths of family building when traditional paths didn't work out. 

The panel featured perspectives on egg/sperm donation, embryo adoption, using a gestational carrier, adoption through foster care, living childless, and domestic infant adoption. Although each panel member had a different path and outcome, all stated that they were happy and at peace.

Our attendees said: "You really were able to find people from every experience with every outcome who were all happy & gave hope...They were living proof of the conference theme - their stories were all different but there were all happy & where they wanted to be.”

"It’s so great to hear the variety of experiences and see the many ways families were created." 

Other highlights from the conference include the advocacy session taught by UIRC's Brooke Walrath. She shared tips on how to tell your story in a way that will compel others to listen. 

She was joined by Senator Luz Escamilla who struggled with infertility herself and discussed her perspective on constituents reaching out to their legislators. One attendee said, 
"Loved having senators come to take time out to give support.”

UIRC's Whitney Barrell presented on supporting your partner during infertility. Her interactive session focused on the differences between how men and women cope and offered insights on how to be supportive

"Whitney did a wonderful presentation. She has a great energy and made it fun, funny for the audience & couples while still addressing the seriousness of infertility & navigating your relationship w/your spouse during infertility."

Dr. Dierdre Conway presented on how to improve your health for infertility treatments and gave wonderful information on what lifestyle choices you can make to optimize success. 

“Loved learning more about lifestyle changes and improving fertility outcomes. Dr. Conway was very knowledgeable.”

Other sessions at the conference included: 
·         Understanding the Trauma of Infertility  by counselors Jamie Hales & Kelsey Redd 
·         Financing for Family Building by UIRC's Melanie Jordan 
·         Introduction to Infertility Treatments by RCC’S Dr. Blauer
·         Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine by Bea Hammond and Lisa Andrade
·         Male Infertility by Dr. James Craig and Dr. Tim Jenkins
·         Coping with Miscarriage & Recurrent Loss During Infertility by counselor Monica Ashton 
·         Moving to Adoption by adoption caseworker, Kim Perry
·         3rd Party Panel Discussion
·         Doctor Meet & Greet featuring
o   -Dr Hatasaka
o   -Dr Gilliland
o   -Dr Gurtcheff
o   -Dr Dorais
o   -Dr Johnstone
o   -Dr. Stanford


The conference concluded with several giveaways, including three $1000 fertility treatment vouchers, an adoption home study and many more prizes. 
Overall we received very positive feedback about this year's conference and we are looking forward to next year's conference currently scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd, 2017! See you then!