ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Wheel was lit up in orange Wednesday night for National Infertility Awareness Week. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page also recognized infertility with a proclamation, officially declaring this as infertility awareness week in the county.
It's estimated that one in eight women suffer with infertility. For those going through it right now, it’s lonely and exhausting. Danielle Faith is hoping to change that.
"The number one thing is I want everyone to know that you're not alone," she said.
It’s become Faith's mission to spread awareness about the struggles of infertility, including what not to say to someone going through it.
"Saying things like you could just adopt or you could just get a surrogate or don't be so stressed and it will happen. Don't try and it will happen. Those things are really painful to hear," she explained.
Danielle's heartbreaking journey with infertility started in 2015 when she was diagnosed with endometriosis. She and her husband tried for more than a year to get pregnant until finding hope at the Vios Fertility Clinic in Creve Coeur.
The clinic has cutting edge technology with a cryo-robot called the Tomorrow Tank. The tank stores and protects frozen eggs and embryos. Even with this technology, Faith still struggled.
"We had multiple miscarriages and finally after two rounds of IVF Makayla is our sixth embryo," she smiled.
Makayla is Faith's miracle made possible with the help of Dr. Amber Cooper.
"Infertility is a disease. It's common," Dr. Cooper explained. "One in eight couples have infertility. That’s what is reported. We actually think it’s quite higher than that at one in four or one in six."
Dr. Cooper and the Vios team have helped thousands have the family they've dreamed of.
"It’s all about building families. We track pregnancies and we celebrate pregnancies,” said Dr. Cooper.
A round of IVF can cost between $15,000-$20,000. Seventeen states, including Illinois, have mandates requiring infertility insurance coverage.
Danielle and her husband live in Missouri, where it's not mandated. However, they were lucky to work for a company that offered it.
"Infertility made me stronger as a woman, as a mother, as a wife. It’s so hard to explain the feeling of being able to hold your baby in your arms after so much sadness and exhaustion. I think that it is the best feeling in the entire world," smiled Faith.
If you are struggling with infertility, there are resources available. Here are just a few:
Faith even created books for women going through infertility treatment. You can find those here.