The Fertility Tribe is a lifestyle brand that encourages women to ‘redefine fertility, together’, empowering them with inspiring stories, expert resources and a wonderful community to help them through the journey to motherhood. It was an honor to connect with Kristyn recently, founder of The Fertility Tribe and mom to twins conceived via IVF. Here’s what she had to say about the challenges she encountered before welcoming her babies and how this inspired her to create a community that guides and supports so that no woman experiences infertility alone…
1. Each fertility journey is unique, but none are easy. You’ve had two amazing children through IVF. Can you tell us a bit more about your story?
I was 27 years young when I was propelled head-first into the world of fertility treatments. My husband and I had only been married for 3 months when I decided to go off of the birth control pill. We didn’t necessarily want to start trying to have a baby right then, but after 11 years on the pill I wanted to flush it out of my system so that we could start trying in a couple of months.
A few months later, I still hadn’t gotten my menstrual cycle back, which was the first red flag. After running some tests, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age and one of the leading causes of infertility. My OBGYN told me if I wanted to get pregnant I would need to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist who could prescribe me Clomid to help me ovulate. And that’s when I discovered that if you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the first of many lessons I would learn on a year-long fertility journey that would both challenge me and change me.
Looking back now, I realize that when I walked into the initial consultation with my fertility doctor I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know that committing to fertility treatments would be like having a second job on top of my full-time career. I had no clue about the physical and emotional toll that countless failed IUIs—and then ultimately, IVF—would take on me. No one had warned me about any of it. The next year of my life was a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, blood draws, ultrasound wands, hormones, shots, tears, and failed cycles. It was all-consuming and, despite my support system, I felt completely alone. I desperately wished there was somewhere I could turn to for stories, resources, and support along the way. That’s how the idea for The Fertility Tribe came to be.
Thankfully, my fertility journey did have a happy ending. After several failed IUIs with ovulation drugs, one IVF egg retrieval, a bad case of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), one failed frozen embryo transfer, and one successful frozen embryo transfer, I am now a mom to almost two-year-old twins, Brooke and Charlie. They were created with a lot of love and a little bit of science, and I think that’s pretty darn cool.
2. You have created the incredible Fertility Tribe after navigating the fertility landscape and finding it confusing and isolating. What did establishing this online space mean to you and how is it ‘redefining fertility together’?
With 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. struggling to conceive or sustain a pregnancy, it didn’t sit well with me that such a stigma still existed surrounding infertility and pregnancy loss. With so many people navigating the confusing and isolating world of fertility treatments, I was shocked that there wasn’t more support and resources being offered to patients.
They say if you can’t find it, create it, so when I got pregnant with my twins and the stress of IVF was finally behind me, I set out to create the infertility support community that I wish had existed when I was going through treatments. What resulted is The Fertility Tribe, a lifestyle brand and online community giving a voice to every unique path to parenthood, from infertility and IVF to adoption and surrogacy. Our site and Instagram page feature stories from other women who have walked the walk, and our new, free infertility support community and app offers real-time support where you can meet other women who get it. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I say it takes a tribe to make a mother. That’s why our mission statement is, “Redefining fertility, together,” because no one can get through this alone, and no one should have to.
3. What advice would you give to intended parents on GoStork just beginning to consider working with a fertility provider?
Do your research. Ask all of the questions. Focus on controlling what you can control. Lean on your friends, family, or strangers on the internet. You can’t do this alone, nor should you have to. Try not to compare your journey to anyone else’s. It’s okay to be sad that this is how your story is going, but know that if you desire to become a parent, you will make it happen one way or another. Whether it is through Egg Donation, Surrogacy, Adoption, or any other uniquely beautiful path, however parenthood comes to you is a miracle.
4. It goes without saying that 2020 has been an unprecedented, strange and difficult year… are you finding a silver lining with all the extra family time together? Favorite or funniest story from quarantining with little ones?
2020 has been so bittersweet for me. I have loved all of the extra family time, but I have also found it hard to be present while juggling a full-time job, The Fertility Tribe, and twin toddlers. I think a lot of people have had to make difficult decisions this year, and for me I actually just made the extremely tough choice to leave my full-time job so that I can focus on the babies I worked so hard to bring into this world. I am also looking forward to devoting more time to The Fertility Tribe and paying it forward to others walking the difficult path of infertility.
Thank you, Kristyn, your work is inspiring and means so much to women on this journey! Intended parents – check back here in the coming weeks for more Communities We Love (and recommend you check out)!
Ready to start your search for a fertility provider? Learn more about your options, here.