Deciding whether to begin the in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) process isn’t a simple task. On one hand, there’s the strong desire to have a child who will bring a rich new dimension to life. In addition, technology has made it possible to conceive that child via the non-traditional IVF procedure. For women who haven’t been able to conceive naturally, IVF offers a ray of hope. For leaders like TUSHY Founder Miki Agrawal, the IVF journey offers a way to shed light on the topic, in all of its ups and downs.
There is no guarantee the process will work, and it’s an expensive undertaking that is usually not covered by insurance. Furthermore, there have historically been (and continue to be) cultural and societal stigmas associated with the IVF process. This combination of factors might discourage a woman from choosing this “unconventional” path.
While making this life-changing decision isn’t easy, it helps to know that other women are navigating the same complex issues. When a successful leader, such as Miki Agrawal, steps up to share her IVF experience, it helps others to make the choice that’s right for their personal situation.
Like many other successful women, serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal has multiple professional achievements under her belt. Her thriving businesses include Thinx, a line of period underwear; Tushy, a bidet attachment for the toilet; and “Wild,” a New York City-based gluten-free pizza restaurant.
An out-of-the-box thinker, Miki Agrawal thrives on disruption and upending the status quo. Her business ideas have reflected that unconventional mindset, and her two acclaimed books are based around the same themes.
In seeming contrast to her decidedly unconventional professional persona, Miki Agrawal maintains an unwavering dedication to her family. Her entrepreneur husband Andrew is her biggest fan, and her son Hiro Happy enriches her life in many ways.
This dynamic family makes their home in a converted Brooklyn, New York church. Several of Miki Agrawal’s friends rent apartments in the building, setting the stage for impromptu social gatherings at varied points during the week.
Looking at her life objectively, Miki Agrawal has clearly achieved success in several important areas. To coin an often-used phrase, Agrawal has found a way “to have it all.” In this respect, she has likely become a role model for other women.
With all of Miki Agrawal’s successes, she has openly had difficulty conceiving her second child. Like many women, she has tried repeatedly to go the natural conception route.
When that option wasn’t successful, Agrawal decided to complete an IVF procedure in July 2021. She has already documented some of this journey on her personal blog, and she will share more of her insights as time goes on.
Rather than keeping this highly personal struggle to herself, open book and disrupt-her Miki Agrawal is sharing her journey with other women who face similar challenges. Her experience is providing inspiration and hope for those who may feel alone on this uncharted path.
To arrive at the crossroads of an IVF decision, many women endure months (or sometimes longer) of unsuccessful natural conception attempts. With each one, there’s the hope that this time the sperm and egg will find each other, and nature will take its course. Then, days or weeks later, the next menstrual cycle begins, dashing the hope that this time will be different.
To increase the odds of a desirable outcome, many women voraciously consume “how to improve your fertility” articles. While knowledgeable medical professionals author some of these pieces, other articles are produced by writers with no real knowledge of this complex topic. The net effect is the same: more unsuccessful natural conception attempts, and a myriad of emotions that create a potentially negative mental space.
At some point during this maddening cycle, a woman may consult with a fertility specialist. These specially trained OB-GYN physicians have expertise in reproductive endocrinology and infertility issues.
Think of a fertility specialist as a resourceful medical detective who helps his or her patients resolve varied reproductive health challenges. Although this doctor is empathetic and supportive, they are firmly grounded in medical principles and practice.
To begin the process, the fertility specialist gathers a woman’s comprehensive medical history. In addition, the doctor often performs several related medical tests. Based on the results, the fertility specialist prescribes treatments and/or medications that encourage a specific outcome.
In this case, the physician will make choices designed to tip the scales toward successful natural conception. If those options don’t work, the fertility specialist may suggest that the woman and her partner consider an IVF procedure.
There are likely some misconceptions about the nature of an IVF procedure. A straightforward explanation should help to demystify the process. In turn, this should reduce some women’s apprehension about it.
From a clinical standpoint, In-Vitro Fertilization is a type of assisted reproductive technology (or ART). In a nutshell, IVF involves the extraction of a woman’s eggs and the retrieval of her partner’s sperm. A technician combines the egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. If an embryo emerges, it will be transferred to the woman’s uterus for growth.
The IVF procedure may help some patients with certain infertility-causing conditions. Examples include fallopian tube malfunctions, ovulation problems, or uterine fibroids. The existence of genetic disorders, male infertility issues, or unclear causes of infertility might also spur the consideration of IVF as an option.
Like many medical procedures, there are several factors that can influence a successful outcome. For the IVF process, getting the desired result may depend on a women’s age, along with her reproductive history and lifestyle. The cause of infertility also has a major influence on the procedure’s outcome.
Finally, even a successful IVF procedure can result in considerable psychological and emotional stress at different points in the process. If the procedure isn’t successful, these stresses can be magnified even further.
Not surprisingly, the IVF procedure’s introduction has caused its share of societal objections over the years. When the first successful IVF procedure took place in 1978, most of the controversy centered around the process’ core ethical implications.
However, the Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences published a November 2019 IVF analysis showing that the source of the objections had shifted. In many countries, there is now little question about the viability and ethics of the IVF process itself.
Miki Agrawal’s account of her IVF journey can help other women in two important ways. First, sharing well-documented information can increase everyone’s knowledge of this process and the issues surrounding it. In addition, making decisions with all available information is always the best course of action.
Getting peer support from other IVF patients, and women considering this option can be invaluable. Connecting with other women considering an IVF procedure, or actively going through it, can lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Sometimes, a woman’s fertility clinic may coordinate the peer support group. Alternatively, she may become part of a private social media gathering. Either way, she can access an empathetic network of women with whom she can connect on a very personal level. For innovators like Miki Agrawal, leading the way through honesty, integrity, and openness illuminates the very human experience.