Building A Family Isn’t Always Easy

October 10, 2011

Blog written by laboratory staff JM

Now that my husband and I are expecting our second child, I’ve been thinking a lot about the many factors people encounter when trying to build a family.

I started my career in this field as a laboratory technician at a fertility clinic. I was just out of college, and when I accepted the job at the fertility clinic, I had the misconception that the patients would all be in their ‘30s or ‘40s, and that infertility was a condition that didn’t affect much of our population, mainly men with low sperm counts and women who were dealing with medical conditions of the reproductive system or those with irregular menstrual cycles.

I quickly realized that I was wrong in that assumption. I was surprised to learn that many of the patients were much younger than I expected them to be, some as young as 20. Some of the couples were dealing with male factor infertility (which can be quite complicated, ranging from physiological to hormonal causes, etc.), some of the couples were dealing with female infertility (also quite complicated, and there are many causes, too many to list, but including hormonal issues, cervical/uterine/tubal issues, etc). Some of the patients were single women, or couples in same-sex relationships who were using donor sperm. They came from many different social and economical backgrounds, but all of the patients shared a desire to build a family.

After working at the fertility clinic for a brief time, many friends and acquaintances also began to share with me stories of how they had encountered difficulty conceiving or knowing someone who had. Working at the fertility clinic was a great experience. I was able to see how the entire staff at the clinic played an important role in helping a woman or couple conceive a baby.

I eventually moved to a different city, and began working at Fairfax Cryobank. Seeing a different side of things, working directly with sperm donors was an interesting change. I was happy to learn I would still be able to work with patients as well, assisting them with sperm banking or embryo storage, and also those using donor sperm, both couples and single women or those in same-sex relationships.

It’s so exciting to get a call from a couple or woman we’ve been working with, letting us know they’re pregnant or have recently had a baby. Sometimes it happens quickly for them, and sometimes it’s a long, difficult journey.

Now that I have a family of my own, I can definitely empathize with the clients that I worked with since beginning my career in this field. Sometimes it’s easy for folks, sometimes it’s not. It was quite easy for my husband and I to conceive our daughter several years ago, but the second time around, we faced some issues. My personal experiences have made me even more sensitive to the factors people face when trying to build their families.

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