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!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Rayden - My Infant Loss Story

My husband and I are highschool sweethearts. We knew from the moment that we saw each other that we would spend the rest of our lives together. I instantly became a believer of love at first sight, soulmates, all that mushy, romantic movie stuff. We talked about kids early in our relationship, but we were young and had plenty of time to wait. It never crossed our minds that it might be difficult.

A pregnancy never happened the conventional way even with a few years of trying. We really wanted kids, so we met with my OB who ran some basic tests and sent us to a urologist. We were then informed that we would be unsuccessful getting pregnant on our own.  We were referred to Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine where we were told, based on our diagnoses, our only option was IVF with ICSI. We did one cycle of IVF that was canceled prior to retrieval. We were devastated. We saved for years to pay for that cycle and we were left with nothing. We did learn that I had diminished ovarian reserve and would need to try again with a more aggressive medication stimulation.

Monday, June 6, 2016

How Infertility Prepared Me to Be a Mom

This article was originally written by UIRC's executive director, Camille Hawkins, for Art of Infertility's blog. The original article can be found here.

I was recently part of a discussion in a “Pregnancy & Parenting after Infertility” Support group. The question was posed: Would you change the fact that you struggled with infertility?

How would life be different if I didn’t struggle with infertility? Even though this was the most difficult experience of my entire life, would I change it? It brought more heart ache, more tears, took more energy, and also more money than any other trial I’ve faced.

Monday, May 23, 2016

UIRC at Advocacy Day

On May 10, 2016, four representatives from Utah Infertility Resource Center traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in RESOLVE's annual Advocacy Day. We learned more about the way  government works, how to present the issues we're passionate about, and the importance of advocacy, and we want to keep this ball rolling, so let's talk about Advocacy Day and what it means.

What is Advocacy Day?

Advocacy Day is an event hosted by RESOLVE where the infertility community comes together in Washington D.C. to talk to Members of Congress about important issues, like increased access to family building options and financial relief. This year there were over 200 advocates from 27 states in attendance.

Why Did UIRC Attend?

As the only nonprofit in Utah dedicated to addressing the mental, emotional, and social aspects of infertility, we felt that it was important for us to be there in person speak with our nation’s leaders on behalf of those in our state facing the challenges of infertility.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Is Counseling for Me?

Infertility isn't easy. No one claims it is, but we don't talk enough about just how hard it can be on a person. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. As you deal with it, you ask yourself: Sure, I’m dealing with infertility, but do I really need counseling?

Monday, February 29, 2016

What Is an Educational Consultation?

Right from the beginning, UIRC was about support, education, and awareness. Having been through the process ourselves, we all understood how hard it is to find information, resources, and support. Our Executive Director, Camille Hawkins, came up with an idea to reach out to those looking for help: a face-to-face meeting where someone who has been through the process can talk to you about what you are up against. VoilĂ : Educational Consultations were born.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

How to be a Friend to Someone with Infertility

Alice and Jenny have been best friends since second grade. They graduated high school together, roomed together in college, and even got married in the same year. Alice loves having Jenny and her husband over for dinner and Jenny always calls Alice for advice. When two pink lines appeared on her home pregnancy test, Jenny immediately invited Alice over to surprise her with the good news.

Alice’s reaction surprised Jenny-instead of sharing in her excitement, she looked like someone had punched her in the stomach, then burst into tears. Alice revealed that she was struggling with infertility and said she needed some time alone. Both were left feeling upset and confused, wondering what the future holds for their relationship.

Does this story sound familiar? With 1 in 8 couples struggling with infertility, chances are someone you care about is having trouble getting (or staying) pregnant. Maybe it’s your brother or sister, your son or daughter, your best friend, your neighbor, or your coworker. No matter the connection, infertility can put a strain on any relationship.