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Endo and Your Fertility Health
a blog by Sherika Wynter, December 2, 2013
Endometriosis, one of the most overlooked and detrimental chronic diseases that plagues a woman’s reproductive health, is more connected to fertility than we understand. Sadly, endometriosis is usually found once the damage is done, once a woman has been trying for over a year to become pregnant, once it has already wreaked havoc on the reproductive system. So how does one take a proactive stance against a disease that has an unknown beginning and no possible end? How does a woman explain to her gynecologist that she has symptoms that concern her and should be looked into on a deeper level?
For me, at the age of 22, I realized my regular, yet extremely painful cycles, needed an explanation. My cycle arrived on time, every 28 days, but the pain that accompanied it was beyond words. I did not know what was wrong with me but I knew I was tired emotionally & physically. I spent six weeks in and out of the ER, in and out of my gynecologist’s office, looking for answers. I knew, what I was experiencing was not normal. I was on a quest to get answers and on October 14, 2008, via exploratory laparascopic surgery, my gynecologist discovered stage 3 endometriosis.
Once diagnosed, I found a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Through my RE, I was able to find out the health of my ovaries, my eggs, and develop a plan to not only treat my endometriosis but to also preserve my fertility until I was ready to start a family. With my continued pushing, I was informed of my low ovarian reserve. At 25 years old, I was given a scientific timeline for my fertility. What does one do then? Do I ignore the information I was provided? Do I carry on with life as usual, as if I do not know? Or do I look into egg freezing, the advantages and disadvantages?
This year, at 27, I chose to freeze my eggs. I chose to stay proactive and gain some control over my endometriosis and my fertility. I am a single, young woman still trying to build the foundation of my career. I am not in a position to have a child nor am I ready. Why should endometriosis force to speed up my personal growth clock? It should not and did not. While egg freezing is no guarantee, it sure does reassure that, when I am ready, I can begin my quest to become a mother. Whether that’s within the confinements of marriage or just me and my baby; it will be when I am ready.
Over the next few posts, I will share my egg freezing story: the good, the bad and the dangerously ugly. I hope through my story, the stigma attached to egg freezing will be slightly lessened and more women will consider it as a real option for their fertility future.