And for many couples, the story of building a family comes with more obstacles than they expected.
Some 6% of married couples—and 12% of women ages 15 to 44 years—struggle to get pregnant or carry full term, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
And while infertility might be perceived as a women’s issue, CDC data also indicates that roughly 35% of couples experiencing infertility include a male factor that is identified along with a female factor.
At CARE Fertility, our staff understands the emotional rollercoaster that comes with infertility. We know that there are highs and lows, and that sometimes you just need someone to remind you that better days are coming.
When she and her husband struggled to start a family, she leaned on her medical training to diagnose herself with PCOS and eventually turned to in vitro fertilization.
“I feel like infertility has made me a better physician—especially in my field, because I understand what my patients are going through,” she says. “I know the numerous shots that are sometimes involved, because I've administered them personally multiple times.”
Another part of Dr. Thomas’ infertility journey was pregnancy loss—something that many CARE Fertility patients have also been through. When she and her husband were trying for their second child after having their first baby through IVF, Dr. Thomas miscarried from a frozen embryo transfer.
“That was definitely one of the worst days of my life,” she says. “My husband is my best friend, and it definitely put a strain on our marriage just because it was challenging. I think a lot of women expect that you’re just going to build your family easily, and when it doesn’t happen easily, it’s really, really stressful.”
The sooner you can get answers to your questions and learn about what you can do next, the better.
“I think one of the hardest things to do when you're suffering from infertility is to get the courage to come in and see a physician,” Dr. Thomas says.
“If it's something that you're struggling with, come in, be evaluated, and understand what your options are. I think it’s really important to be proactive about your own fertility.”
Despite all of the stress and challenges, the Thomas family has grown. Dr. Thomas is now a mother of four—and three of her kids were born thanks to IVF.
“I could probably fill a bathtub with all of the needles I’ve injected myself with through all of the fertility treatment,” she says. “I’d do it a thousand times over again to build my family. It was definitely worth it.”