Catching up with Brittany during National Infertility Awareness Week
In honor of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week, or NIAW 2020, Texas Fertility Center is catching up with the recipient of last year’s Advocacy Day grant. Brittany Beckendorf received the grant after sharing her compelling story with our Austin fertility center.
Because her husband was unable to take time off work, Brittany attended Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. with her mother. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, because Brittany had recently had her second IVF embryo transfer and was six weeks pregnant for the event.
Brittany’s thoughts on Advocacy Day 2019
The experience of attending Advocacy Day was incredibly powerful and rewarding for the mother and daughter duo.
According to Brittany, “It was amazing to see so many people coming together for a cause that is not talked about enough. We had one common cause, while we were standing tall, sharing stories, meeting the people in charge and putting a face to the issue. I came home with new friends and a new view on the issues. I don’t know that words do it justice!”
She went on to describe it as “beyond cathartic” to share her fertility story with lawmakers and women who understand her struggles. In fact, the experience was so life-changing that it inspired Brittany to make infertility advocacy her mission. “It has become a part of me and a mission to bring the infertility discussion out of the dark and into the light.”
Brittany’s wish (and advice) for NIAW 2020
During NIAW 2020, Brittany hopes that infertility comes out of the shadows. “I wish there was no stigma around infertility. Both women and men who are struggling with infertility are afraid to speak out about it or share their journey. People need to see that the constant questions about having children can be very hurtful to someone who has been trying without luck or who has had miscarriage after miscarriage.”
Brittany also has other pieces of advice for hopeful parents who are currently struggling with infertility during NIAW 2020.
- “Don’t be ashamed. More people than you realize are struggling with you. You are not alone – ever!”
- “Do your research. You will be amazed at what you find.”
- “There are many ways to become a parent, and infertility is not the end of your parenting journey. It is just a speed bump!”
For patients facing secondary infertility, it’s also important to think about the children at home. “My oldest son was emotionally affected by our inability to give him the sibling he wanted so badly. When we did our first transfer, we lost it at six weeks. He was devastated,” Brittany says. “Make sure you talk to your children, especially the older ones. They may not seem vested in what is happening, but I promise you they are, and the loss is just as hard on them.”
What’s new with Brittany and her family
Brittany and her family are forever grateful to our Austin fertility center team for helping them grow their family. “Our first IVF baby boy will be turning two in May and we welcomed our second (and final) boy in December of 2019. They have a big brother who will be 11 in April and he loves every minute of it,” Brittany explains.
With three children, the Beckendorf family is complete. However, they still have a handful of genetically tested male embryos in frozen storage. To bless another family with children, the couple is pursuing embryo donation.
According to Brittany, “We are in the process of donating our embryos to a lovely woman I met at Advocacy Day. When I said we were going to donate our remaining boys, she asked me if she could ‘adopt’ them and I couldn’t have been more excited.”
Contact our Austin fertility center if you would like to learn about NIAW 2020 or fertility treatments that can help you grow your family like the Beckendorf family did. Also, check out the Fertility Docs Uncensored podcast episode with RESOLVE President and CEO Barbara Collura to learn more about this year’s virtual Advocacy Day.