A lab with microscopes, measuring tools, and people working meticulously. It’s not for a chemical reaction, though, it’s to start a family.
“The population of infertile is growing because it’s no longer the teens when women are having kids, but waiting til the thirties and forties, and even second families in those ages are growing,” explained Dr. Robert Kiltz of the CNY Fertility Center.
It’s a nationwide lifestyle change that’s proven devastating to millions of couples trying to start their families. Dr. Kiltz is working to combat the problem. His Syracuse lab is constantly bustling as more and more couples learn they have one of a series of problems keeping them from having a baby on their own.
Katie Tamez is one of those struggling. Medication and doctor visits is her new normal. “Everything is very overwhelming,” she said of her struggles. “It’s very scary and you start getting all of these thoughts in your head. You’re like ‘how am I going to do this? How am I going to put myself through this every day?'”
She knew at a young age that she had a condition called Endometriosis. She was told she would never conceive a baby naturally but could get pregnant through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
After marrying her husband, they decided it was time to try. She explained, “I kind of just got in this mindset of ‘I’m doing this because we want this family and I’m doing whatever I have to so that we can have our family and I’m just okay with it.'”
It’s no small feat. Despite CNY Fertility Center being one of the most affordable offices in the country, it still takes a toll – financially and emotionally.
Heather Benjamin can relate to Katie Tamez. She had a different diagnosis but similar stress. She suffered three miscarriages before giving birth to her son Hunter.
“The body was thinking the fetus was a foreign object so it kept trying to get rid of the fetus every time I was able to get pregnant,” Benjamin said of her condition. They deemed it Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.
When she got pregnant with Hunter, she went to CNY Fertility to maintain the pregnancy. It was something she couldn’t do on her own. She took a cocktail of drugs for months.
It was nine months of anxiety but she says it was worth every minute adding, “To know that we had a heart beat every week, and to see him grow every week, was the best feeling.”
Heather and her husband were able to have their happy ending, but not everybody gets the same.
Katie and her husband are still waiting, saving money to pay for her IVF.
Dr. Kiltz has a message for Katie, and for the millions of couples trying everything to start a family. “Listen and dig deep,” Kiltz said, “This is the hardest thing in the universe. You’re capable of the hardest thing in the universe.”
Those suffering from infertility say it’s a topic that never gets discussed, many still consider it taboo. Benjamin and Tamez were generous enough to share their stories with the hopes that those suffering in silence will realize they’re not alone.
CNY Fertility Center has emotional support resources. There are also a number of support groups on Facebook.