Fruitful & Multiplying
By Jewish Fertility Foundation
Fruitful & Multiplying Oct 04, 2023
Vintage Clothing, A Socialite, & Surrogacy: A Page-Turning, Positive Fiction Novel focused on a surrogacy Journey with Adele Griffin, Author of the Novel, "The Favor"
Two-time National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin has written about everything from teen vampires to twin witches--and now surrogacy. The Favor is Adele's first novel written for adults and it is her most personal book yet. Inspired by her own experience with infertility and surrogacy, Adele has crafted a story that magically remains light while exploring heavy themes. In this episode, she discusses the role vintage clothing plays in the story, why she chose not to have the two main characters enter into a legal contract for surrogacy, and much more!
Fertility Coverage for our Military: Ellen Gustafson's Story and the Military Family Building Coalition
In this eye-opening episode, we learn first about Ellen Gustafson's wild and jaw-dropping fertility journey, and then about the lack of fertility coverage for members of the US military and their partners. Ellen's personal experience led her to become a "go-to" for other military spouses and active members of the military who were trying to navigate the fertility landscape.
From there, she met Katy Bell Hendrickson, and they created the Military Family Building Coalition. Listen to this episode to learn more about how and why just being in the military affects fertility, why fertility coverage legislation is difficult to pass, and the unique strategies Ellen and Katy are using to actually get legislation passed in Congress.
Whether you have a connection to the military or not, this episode is worth listening to as it sheds a light on , aspects of infertility that affect so many, as well as providing a window into a world that might surprise you!
Here's an article about an upcoming bill that would expand fertility coverage for miltary!
This is a Calling: A Repeat Surrogate's Emotional and Physical Journey
Ashley Mareko knows surrogacy better than most. Not only does she work as program manager for Surrogacy First, a surrogacy agency, but Ashley has been a surrogate herself, four times. Listen to hear how she got "into" surrogacy after she heard about it for the first time, the ups and downs of her first (and second, and third, and fourth!) journeys, and why she has such a passion for doing this for others.
Deep Dive into Pelvic Floor Therapy and Its Reproductive Health Benefits with Dr. Sujata Martin, MS OT
Pelvic floor health and pelvic floor therapy are just starting to be understood as having immense benefits for treating infertility and improving reproductive health, as we learn in this enlightening and fun episode with Dr. Sujata Martin, MS OT and owner of Pelvic Soul. She and Elana get into the fascinating ways pelvic floor therapists with specialized training can provide fertility support and improve fertility treatment outcomes for patients, how you can even do a little basic pelvic floor work on yourself, and the importance and effectiveness of combining western and eastern treatment modalities in modern medicine.
The Other Side of Fertility: What We All Need to Know About Menopause with Dr. Rachel Rubin
Dr. Rachel Rubin is not your run-of-the-mill urologist, as you'll quickly learn in this fascinating episode! Dr. Rubin (https://www.instagram.com/drrachelrubin) believes that education is empowerment, and, today, we have the amazing opportunity to learn from her about menopause. Listen to hear host Elana Frank and Dr. Rubin discuss the "orgasm gap", whether it's plausible that undergoing fertility treatments like IVF might affect the timing of menopause later in life, the 'magic' of vaginal estrogen cream, and most importantly, how education is empowerment. You WILL feel empowered after listening to this episode!
The Surrogacy Guru Erez Baron's Tale of Two Countries: Coming from Israel to the U.S. for Surrogacy
Erez Baron is known as "The Surrogacy Guru", who many turn to for answers on this complex but important family building pathway. In this podcast, he shares the intimate details of his own story, from why he and his partner had to travel to the U.S. in the first place, to the awkward but positive 'first date' they had with their potential surrogate and her family, to deciding whose sperm and whose eggs to use, to how long it actually takes, to the precious end result, his two little girls. When you listen to this episode, you'll laugh, shake your head, smile, and come away with a newfound understanding and respect for this process and the people who embark upon it.
AI in IVF: Improving Fertility Clinics' Success Rates with Daniella Gilboa of AIVF
AI seems to be everywhere...including assisted reproductive technology! Daniella Gilboa was working on her PhD research when she realized the potential of data and AI in improving IVF care. She quickly transitioned from the world of academia to leading a start-up company. The company, AIVF, is already in some fertility clinics and the technology is helping embryologists with embryo selection (among other things), empowering patients to be able to see the data associated with their embryos, and, as she puts it, "use digital transformation to allow clinics to be more efficient, more accurate, more accessible, shorten the time to pregnancy, and meet the growing demand". Listen to learn how although the demand for IVF has grown in the past 45 years, the clinics haven't changed--until now!
The Solutions are There: Kathrin Folkendt of FemTech Insider
In this episode of Fruitful & Multiplying, Elana talks to Kathrin Folkendt, founder of FemTech Insider, arguably the main source for all femtech industry news and insights. We get the history of the term itself (and the slight controversy surrounding that term), the origin story of the extremely popular newsletter, but also the story of Ms. Folkendt and the ups and downs of her own journey with PCOS. This is an episode about the past, present, and hopeful future of innovation, technology, and investment in the women's health space.
Straight Talk with Ali Prato of InfertileAF
Ali Prato is a powerhouse in the fertility community, and she shares frankly about the rollercoaster of her own secondary infertility experience, including the strain it put on her relationship with her husband, the isolation and confusion of multiple losses, and how she eventually channeled her frustration and experiences to found InfertileAF!
Trans Family Building and Pregnancy with Trystan Reese
In this entertaining, eye-opening, and extremely touching interview, Trystan Reese, author and advocate, shares about everything from growing up in a small town, to his experience with transitioning, to his unique family building journey, including both adoption and trans pregnancy. You'll come away with new appreciation, understanding and respect for Trystan. Spend some time getting to know the whip smart, hilarious, and amazing Trystan in this fun and meaningful episode!
TMFR: From Infertility Treatments to Abortion-Remembering Adina Pearl feat. Julie Cohen
Buckle up for an emotional, insightful, and must-listen conversation about one strong woman's journey from an intense desire to grow her family to facing the unthinkable once she finally became pregnant. You will be riveted by this fascinating and intimate conversation that sheds light on what it was like for one person to choose termination for medical reasons, with all the twists and turns (the Dobbs decision, insurance company antics, etc.) to boot. Pull up a chair and a tissue for this one!
Changing the Scripts Sex Ed Taught us about Our Bodies and Fertility, feat. Abby Mercado and Krystyn Hodgdon, founders of Rescripted
Elana chats with Abby Mercado and Krystin Hodgdon about their origin story (and their own fertility stories) and the founding of Rescripted, a global media platform for fertility and women's health, with a free, online community with science-backed content, tools, and resources for wherever people are on their fertility journey...and an in-house pharmacy to boot! They also discuss their their focus on improving sexual education and shining a light on the outdated and (word for not enough) sex ed in our country. Listen to hear all of this, plus their advice to parents about their own child's sex education!
Improving the Fertility Patient Journey: Founder of Frame Fertility Jessica Bell van der Wal
When, if ever, did you first have a conversation with your primary care physician or OB-GYN about your plans for having a child or children?
Timing is everything, as Jessica Bell van der Wal explains. In her own experience, as a conscientious person who dutifully went on yearly well checks with her primary care physician, she realized that "Fertility never came up in any of those (well woman) visits."
With that in mind, and after a frustrating fertility journey of her own, she founded Frame Fertility, which aspires to help people start the fertility conversation earlier on to help patients understand their situation before they might get to the point of needing a fertility clinic. Frame Fertility works to provide wrap-around care for patients at any stage of their journey, from those curious about it who might want to learn where to start, to those who are a year or two away from trying to conceive their first child, to those who have been struggling for a long period of time or have complex fertility journeys.
The full care team that Frame Fertility provides to its customers can include nurse practitioners, fertility coaches, nutritional coach, wellness coaches, and coordination with the clinics for end-to-end support as they grow their families. Frame Fertility also offers 'planning bundles' where their customers are sent packages with everything they might need from ovulation tracking kits to prenatal vitamins.
Frame has developed a detailed, initial questionnaire based on all the available research on what impacts fertility that informs next steps like lab ordering and/or visits, coaching, etc. Once a customer is a patient at a fertility clinic, Frame Fertility's services include preparing patients for meeting with the financial team at the clinic, to helping them get their questions answered in a timely manner, to ensuring they actually understand the answers and information they are given from the clinic.
Listen as Elana and Jessica Bell van der Wal chat about Jessica's fertility and maternity journey, how and why she founded Frame Fertility, and the "wonderful world of FemTech"--tech-based companies that provide services that focus on women's health.
The Inside Scoop from JFF's Board Chair Feat. Rachel Loftspring
Today we had the AWESOME opportunity to hear from our brilliant and talented Board Chair, Rachel Loftspring. Rachel is a Partner at Essig and Evans, a family law and fertility law firm, where she supports clients throughout their family-building journeys. We were so excited to learn more about Rachel’s unique experience as both a fertility attorney and the JFF board chair! Rachel shares her JFF “dating” process as well as what’s next for JFF.
Holding and Processing my Medical Termination Feat. Dr. Julie Bindeman
Today's amazing "Fruitful & Multiplying" guest, Dr. Julie Bindeman, assists people through the journey of reproduction and all the bumps along the way including termination. As the co-founder and co-director of Integrative Therapy of Greater Washington, she also provides support to the infertility community by writing educational articles on mental health and infertility.
Dr. Julie Bindeman shares her own reproductive story fully and honestly, the ups and downs of creating her family and mourning loss. We discussed her challenging fertility journey, and how this led her to engage in reproductive therapy. Julie is SO strong and is someone we can all relate to in our own reproductive stories.
Creating a Family-Building Option that Puts YOU First Feat. Lauren Makler
Today we had the opportunity to meet Lauren Makler, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cofertility, an incredible company focused on making fertility preservation and third-party reproduction more accessible, human, and community-driven. Lauren has an amazing fertility story to share- including her sister freezing her eggs to donate to Lauren- which inspired her to shift her successful career and build this meaningful and much-needed company.
Interested in freezing your eggs? In need of donated eggs? Definitely take a listen to this episode! Lauren is a bada$$ entrepreneur and will definitely change the world of fertility.
What Makes a Baby Jewish? Feat. Jessica Chod, Rabbi Judith Hauptman, and Rabbi Suzanne Brody
What makes someone Jewish? From its painful historic connotations to its open invitation for exclusion, this is a loaded question. Yet, there is a deceptively simple answer: one is “technically” Jewish if their mother is Jewish. Of course, different sects of Judaism have different opinions on this answer. The complexity behind “What makes someone Jewish?” has only increased as artificial reproductive technology–or ART–has proliferated. Today, we have the opportunity to speak with three incredible people who have helped make the answer to this question more inclusive to those born through ART. Attorney Jessica Chod fought to include children born to Jewish mothers by non-Jewish Gestational Carriers in the Conservative movement’s definition of “Jewish.” With the help of Rabbi Judith Hauptman and Rabbi Suzanne Brody, Jessica got the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards to change their halakhic position on non-Jewish surrogates!
Take a listen to this fascinating episode to learn all about the driving force behind this journey and ultimately, the decision.
Growing Life from Loss Feat. Fabi Powell
Today, we get a glimpse into Fabi Powell’s real and raw fertility journey, which began when Fabi and her husband Josh fell in love in 2014. The pair traveled, checked items off their bucket lists, and enjoyed their relationship. But in the background, cancer was looming. Upon learning of his diagnosis, Josh decided to preserve his sperm. Unfortunately, in 2016, Josh passed away from synovial sarcoma at age 27. Before passing, he expressed to Fabi that he wanted her to have his children even if he would not be there to see them grow up. So, in 2020, Fabi began her IVF journey. She has since been through five egg retrievals and two embryo transfers.
Fabi is brave, wise, and inspiring, and shares so many life lessons with us on today’s episode.
From Donating my Eggs to Fertility Coaching Feat. Lauren Haring
Today we had the amazing opportunity to speak with Lauren Haring, a fertility coach with a fascinating story! It all began when Lauren attended nursing school and saw the tuition bills piling up. Lauren took matters into her own hands and decided to donate her eggs in order to make some money. That amazing experience changed her entire career trajectory.
Lauren loved her experience as an egg donor so much that she decided to become a fertility nurse at a clinic, and did that for 16 years. During that time, she noticed the many things “missing” for her fertility patients, and decided to start Embrace Fertility, her fertility coaching business.
Through Embrace Fertility, Lauren partners with her clients through every stage of their IVF cycle (so they don’t need to depend on ‘Dr. Google’). She educates her clients, explains side effects, provides tips for physical symptoms, ensures her clients are comfortable and confident about their treatment plan, checks in every day of monitoring, reviews results from clinic with clients and explains results, helps with next steps, and so on.
We have so much to learn from Lauren as she combines her knowledge of medicine with her passion for an integrative approach to fertility.
From Competitive Figure Skating to Pro-Wrestling to Motherhood Feat. Brandi Rhodes
Today’s amazing “Fruitful & Multiplying” guest, Brandi Rhodes, was the first African American woman to hold an executive position in a major North American wrestling promotion. On this week’s podcast, we discussed career, marriage, and the decision to build her family throughout it all.
Brandi shares her early career achievements, her PCOS diagnosis, and her surprise to find out she was pregnant right before a wrestling tournament (as well as what it was like to share that news with her husband!). We discussed her fear of letting her community know she was pregnant as a pro-wrestler and her post-partum anxiety once her daughter was born.
Brandi is SO real (not to mention awesome) and we know you will love getting to know her!
My Silent Struggle Which Led to the Creation of Media Site ‘Pregnant-ish’ Feat. Andrea Syrtash
We were thrilled to welcome Andrea Syrtash to today’s podcast episode. Andrea is a self-described “Ovary-achiever,” a pun that might be an understatement. She is a relationship expert, who has authored 4 successful dating and relationship books. She has also written relationship and lifestyle articles for Glamour, CNN, and Oprah.com, just to name a few. Andrea has used her expertise on screen, hosting multiple dating and relationship shows and appearing on The Today Show, The View, and more as a contributor.
Today, Andrea is the creator and editor-in-chief of Pregnantish.com, a platform featuring approachable information and relatable stories on infertility and fertility treatment, and hosts Pregnantish, an amazing podcast that highlights the diversity of fertility journeys, which were both inspired by her own fertility journey, which we’ll hear all about in this podcast.
Andrea’s 8+ year fertility journey involves two dozen fertility treatments, multiple surrogates (one who traumatically ghosted her), and hundreds of shots. She shares the detailed journey and what it felt like to struggle silently. If you’ve ever heard of Pregnantish (which I am sure you have if you’re in the fertility space) take a listen to hear the story behind it’s incredible creator.
Check out Pregnantish at https://pregnantish.com.
The World of Fertility Psychology Feat. Lauren Berman
Today we had the amazing opportunity to speak with our incredible Mental Health Advisor, Dr. Lauren Berman. Dr. Berman is a clinical psychologist and the founder of the Fertility Psychology Center of Atlanta. She works with reproductive endocrinology practices as well as gestational surrogacy and egg donation programs, and is the past chair of the ASRM mental health professional group.
Dr. Berman explains the importance of LANGUAGE in discussing 3rd party assisted reproductive technology (for example, “birth mom” vs. “mom,” or “surrogate” vs. “gestational carrier”), as well as the process of first going into a fertility clinic or first considering working wiht a gestational carrier from a psycholgical perspecitive. We learn about why people become gestational carriers and what the psychological clearance is like for becoming a gestational carrier (not everyone qualifies!). And of course, we dig deep into “my baby…your body.”
If you or someone you know is considering becoming or working with a gestational carrier, you should absolutely give this episode a listen! Dr. Berman is a wealth of knowledge and we are proud to work with her as the JFF Mental Health Chair.
What Happens to Your Frozen Eggs and Sperm After You Die? Feat. Ellen Trachman
Today, we’re sharing a fascinating episode of Fruitful & Multiplying in which we interview Ellen Trachman, a lawyer specializing in assisted reproductive technology. Ellen’s recent Ted Talk titled “What Happens to People’s Eggs and Sperm After They Die?” has over 1 million viewers, and this is not even her most impressive accomplishment. She founded the Trachman Law Center which focuses on family formation law, and has earned a plethora of awards from being named one of Denver’s 40 Under 40 by Thre Denver Business Journal to receiving the Colorado LGBTQ Bar Association’s 2020 Ally of the Year award. She also writes a weekly column for Above the Law and has her own podcast called I Want to Put a Baby In You.
Ellen explains posthumous conception to us and answers a wide array of YOUR questions (thanks to those who made submissions!) including what happens when someone passes away unexpectedly and their partner wants to use their frozen genetic material, what happens if the partner never froze his/her genetic material, and how do these rules differ with frozen embryos? We also go into who has the right to the genetic material after a divorce, and how all of these laws differ by state. Ellen is truly an expert in this space and you will absolutely leave this episode with a whole new set of knowledge!
Shoutout to Ellen’s podcast “I Want to Put a Baby in You” →
Stories of Pregnancy Loss & Choosing to be Child-Free Feat. Frida Hoffman
Today, we had the wonderful privilege of speaking with Frieda Hoffman, an incredible woman who wears MANY hats. Frieda has a background in social work and is a transformative coach and mediator, creative consultant, and entrepreneur. Her newest professional label is “author.” Last summer, Frieda published her first book, Carry Me: Stories of Pregnancy Loss, which features the stories of 19 women experiencing pregnancy loss and confronts the stigma around miscarriage. These honest narratives challenge the often lonely feelings brought on by pregnancy loss. Above all, Carry Me is a call for connection and openness, empowering readers to share their own stories of miscarriage.
In this episode, Frieda shares what it was like to decide to start a fertility journey with her partner, the feeling of disconnect from her body, deciding to pause her fertility journey to reconcile those emotions, and then having a surprise pregnancy which unfortunately resulted in a miscarriage. She opens up about her decision to live child-free and connecting with other women who have walked similar paths.
We were lucky enough to hear descriptive, raw, and vulnerable excerpts from Frieda’s book, and Frieda even shares a special discount code for the Fruitful & Multiplying listeners to use when purchasing Carry Me! As Frieda notes, people who have been through a similar experience can have a deep bonding and connection, and once you share your own story, the gates open for others to share theirs. Definitely take a listen to this week’s episode, and don’t forget to check out Frida’s book, Carry Me, as one or all of the stories will surely resonate with you.
Freezing our eggs TOGETHER… ON AIR! Feat. Monica Padman & Liz Plank
Today I had the coolest opportunity of interviewing Monica Padman and Liz Plank about their very recent egg freezing journey- which they recorded live on their brand new podcast, Race to 35.
As background, Monica is the incredibly talented co-creator, co-host, co-producer, AND editor of one of today’s most popular podcasts, Armchair Expert. She is also an actress, most recently on Rutherford Falls and Curb Your Enthusiasm, not to mention Monica is an Emmy-nominated producer for her work on the webseries “Momsplained”! Liz is a filmmaker, award-winning journalist, international bestselling author and has been the executive producer and host of several critically acclaimed digital series at Vox Media and NBC News.
As you’ll learn on this episode, Monica and Liz decided to freeze their eggs… together! They share why they did it, what it was like to go through the tedious (and sometimes painful) process on air, and the importance of having a strong support system and community while going through the process.
Monica and Liz are hilarious and tons of fun, and we know you will love this episode!
Check out their VERY first episode which just dropped last week at https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/r35-trailer
Bachelor Nation's Sarah Herron Talks Fertility Awareness Feat. Sarah Herron
This week we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview someone who I’ve (personally) been a fan of for quite some time: Sarah Herron! You might know Sarah from her role in Season 17 of the Bachelor (Sean Lowe!), in addition Seasons 1 and 3 of Bachelor in Paradise. Born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, Sarah was the first contestant in the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise with a physical disability. Sarah went on to create SheLift, an amazing nonprofit organization empowering women with physical differences through outdoor adventure retreats.
In this episode, Sarah shares all about how she first got booked on the Bachelor and what that experience was like, in addition to starting her non-profit and helping young women with disabilities. She gets personal about meeting her fiance, and dives deep into their 2 year fertility journey including 3 egg retrievals and 2 transfers. Because Sarah has been so vocal about her fertility journey, she has created a wave of awareness among her Bachelor Nation friends, many of whom are now freezing their eggs as a result! We are so excited to share this week’s episode with our Fruitful & Multiplying family- it is definitely one of our favorite recordings to date!
The Changing World of Infertility Feat. Dr. Bill Petok
In this week’s episode of Fruitful & Multiplying, we had the extraordinary opportunity to interview an psychology legend: Dr. Bill Petok. Dr. Petok has done incredible work to support the mental health of individuals in the infertility community. His private practice specializes in human sexuality, sexual disfunction, and infertility. Outside of his private practice he teaches psychology externs about human sexuality as a Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Thomas Jefferson University. He has also written multiple journal articles and book chapters about the intersection of psychology and infertility.
Dr. Petok discusses how the infertility space has evolved over the years, as well as how he sees it changing (for the better!) in the future. We learned so much from Dr. Petok, and we know you will too!
I was the first IVF baby… Ever! Feat. Louise Joy Brown
On this week's episode, we had the unique opportunity of speaking with the very first IVF baby… ever! Louise Joy Brown spoke about her family history, how she first learned about her conception, the major testing she underwent after she was first born (which showed that she was NOT different from other babies!), and the many questions she got growing up from her peers about her conception. She also shares the incredible policy and advocacy work she now does as a result of her experience. Louise even brought some Judaism to the podcast!
Louise, thank you for all that you’re doing for the fertility world. We are truly honored to have had the opportunity to get to know you.
The Fascinating World of Male Sexual Dysfunction & Infertility Feat. Dr. Michael Werner
Today we had a fascinating discussion with Dr. Michael Werner of MAZE Men’s Sexual Health, a board-certified urologist who received specialized fellowship training in male infertility and surgery and male sexual dysfunction at Boston University Medical Center. Dr. Werner lectures and writes extensively on these topics in medical journals and books, and his practice is limited to male infertility and sexual dysfunction. More importantly, his concentration in these areas means he practices the latest and most advanced treatments and surgical techniques, ensuring his patients' greatest likelihood of success.
Dr. Werner shares why he wanted to go into male infertility and his exciting work, including banking trans women’s sperm before hormonal treatment at Sloan Kettering. He discusses his unique expertise in Extended Sperm Search Microfreeze (which helps almost 100% of men with minimal sperm retrieve sperm), sperm mapping, and vaginismus. We also had the incredible opportunity of asking Dr. Werner YOUR questions including which lubricants affect sperm, what a visit to MAZE might look like, sexual dysfunction in the Jewish community, and talking about masturbation with our children.
Dr. Werner, thank you for your time and for sharing your incredible expertise with us! We learned so much and we know our audience will as well. For more information about Dr. Werner, visit @mazemenshealth on Instagram.
Does Infertility Cause Stress or Does Stress Cause Infertility? Feat. Dr. Alice Domar
Today we had the honor of learning from Dr. Alice Domar, a health psychologist who focuses on the application of mind/body medicine to women’s health issues. Dr. Domar serves as the Chief Compassion Officer at Inception Fertility, as a senior staff psychologist in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Beth Israel, and as an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. She is on the board for Parents Magazine and served 10 years on the board of Resolve. Additionally, she is the former chair of ASRM’s mental health professionals group. She has also written eight books and is the co-creator of the apps FertiCalm and FertiStrong.
Dr. Domar shares with us what it was like to grow up with a child of parents facing infertility and how the experience impacted her life, how to tell someone struggling with infertility that you’re expecting, the connection between stress and infertility, some psychological interventions that improve pregnancy rates, and the technology she has been working on to help individuals cope with various situations when experiencing infertility. We have learned a tremendous amount from Dr. Domar and we know you will too!
Joining the Fertility Sisterhood after our BRCA Diagnosis Feat. Stephanie Butnick
We are beyond excited to have Stephanie Butnick on this week’s podcast! Stephanie is the deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly podcast, Unorthodox. She is also an author and has written for The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.
Stephanie shared her personal family-building journey with us, which started when she first found out that her husband was a BRCA carrier. She decided to undergo IVF (during the height of the pandemic!) and discusses how she came to that decision, her multiple retrievals, the support she received along the way, what it felt like to join the sisterhood of fertility, and how she ultimately shared her journey with her podcast fans. Stephanie shared special shoutouts to RMA, JScreen, and of course the Unorthodox Podcast. Thank you for joining us, Stephanie! (We apologize for the sound glitches, but this one is worth a listen until the end!)
Starting the Donor Sibling Registry and the Family We Gained Along the Way Feat. Wendy Kramer
Today we had the incredible experience of meeting Wendy Kramer, the Co-Founder and Director of the Donor Sibling Registry. Wendy shares her personal journey to becoming a single parent to her donor-conceived son, Ryan, and why they decided to found the DSR together in 2000.
Wendy explains how the Registry works (it’s so easy!) and the importance of ensuring that donors and parents have access to one another. SHE reminds us that there is no such thing as anonymity so honesty and openness with our children is always best. Have a listen, reach out with questions, and stay tuned for many more webinars to come featuring Wendy and her family!
Pysch Meds and Fertility Treatments…Are they Safe? Feat. Dr. Sara Morris & Dr. Toby Goldsmith
As an infertility organization that supports individuals in every stage of their family-building journeys, we know the emotional roller coaster that potentially awaits. Therefore, we feel passionate about ensuring you, our community, have the information necessary to take control of your mental health.
We’re often asked about medication while trying to conceive, during fertility treatments, pregnancy, and postpartum. Today, we invited two incredible experts onto the podcast to answer your questions. JFF is excited to introduce you to Dr. Sara Morris, OBGYN at the North Atlanta Women’s Specialists group, and Dr. Toby Goldsmith, Psychiatrist and Director of the Women’s Mental Health Program at Emory University School of Medicine.
Tune in as we learn who Dr. Morris and Dr. Goldsmith are, professionally and personally, what to consider when deciding whether to go on or off medication during your fertility journey, and the best available resources to help you navigate the mental health space.
We hope this week’s episode is helpful to you and your loved ones, and we look forward to receiving your follow-up questions for our guests.
Shooting Blanks: A Male View of the Fertility Journey Feat. Moshe Bellows
In honor of Father’s Day, we brought Moshe Bellows onto “Fruitful & Multiplying” to discuss his long and arduous journey to becoming a father. Professionally, Moshe is the managing principal of Maccabee Ventures. He is also a Yeshiva University faculty member and an attorney, bringing more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, strategic investor, and trusted advisor to early-stage technology companies across several industries.
Moshe tells our listeners about the mixed emotions he experienced throughout his journey: trying to be a supportive, macho husband while burying his face in his pillow to cry at night. Moshe advises all young men who are walking the path of fertility treatments to understand the different aspects of infertility and to talk about their feelings. Moshe seeks to educate and advise men throughout their journeys, and is open and honest (and sometimes graphic!) about the darkness one may experience as a result of infertility.
My Abortion Story: Which I am NOT afraid to speak about with Jodi Rudoren
In this week’s episode, we dig deep with Jodi Rudoren, the Editor-in-Chief of The Forward and former reporter and editor at The New York Times. Jodi’s fertility journey included IUI, IVF, a traumatic medical termination, and a selective reduction. She brings us in to each of these experiences, who she consulted with, how it felt, and the emotions she had around them. Jodi is real (and witty!) and her perspective is certainly worth a listen, especially in today’s political climate.
How I Am Making an Impact on Families in the Fertility Community Featuring Dr. Jared Robins
In today's episode, we get to meet Dr. Jared Robins, Reproductive Endocrinologist and the Executive Director of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). We learn all about Dr. Robins, from his former career as a firefighter to his cutting-edge research that helps the field of Reproductive Endocrinology today. No topic is off-limits, including the current events with the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Come listen to learn more about ASRM and the important work ASRM does to influence the world of infertility.
My Miscarriages and Stillbirth in the Public Eye feat. Jaime Ray Newman
In today's episode of Fruitful & Multiplying, we had the incredible opportunity of meeting actress and producer (and Oscar winner!) Jaime Ray Newman and learning more about her 10-year-long family-building journey.
Jaime went to a Jewish Day School in Detroit for much of her life and later on, married Israeli writer and director Guy Nattiv. Together, they have 2 beautiful daughters, but their path to parenthood was not easy. They underwent IVF and endured multiple miscarriages, as well as a stillbirth in 2013- all in the public eye. They then turned to surrogacy, and their second daughter was born 15 weeks early, weighing only 1 lb 9 oz.
Jaime embodies strength, humor, and endless wisdom and offers a tremendous amount of hope and advice to the JFF community. Thank you, Jaime!
From Miss America to Reproductive Endocrinologist & My Very Own Fertility Journey as an LBGTQ Woman feat. Dr. Deidre Gunn
Today we had the incredible opportunity to talk with Dr. Deidre Gunn @deidregunnmd. Deidre is a Reproductive Endocrinologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), but she isn't just any Reproductive Endocrinologist. She was crowned Miss America in 2005! Deidre is the first openly gay Miss America and was bold and brave enough to share her personal experience going through IVF with her wife, Abbott with the world.
Deidre shares with us what it was like going through IVF from the patient-side, which she learned was much different than her usual experience as the doctor. She shares her experience choosing a sperm donor, how she best supported her wife, and how she uses this experience to better connect with her patients. Deidre is very passionate about sharing her story so others don't feel alone.
Simultaneously Navigating Surrogacy & A Kidney Transplant feat. Aliza Abrams Konig
In this week's episode, we had the wonderful experience of hearing Aliza Konig's very challenging journey to parenthood including IVF, a kidney transplant, and ultimately the arrival of her miracle child, born via a gestational carrier. Aliza helps us understand what it's like to have a serious medical condition while simultaneously yearning to have a family, the guilt she felt around not being able to carry her child, and the trust individuals must have with their gestational carrier. She shares her advice for intended parents (trust your gut & advocate for yourself!) and inspires all listeners, regardless of their pathway to parenthood.
My Incredible Experiences as a 5 Time (!!!) Gestational Surrogate Feat. Ariel Taylor
Today we were humbled to speak with the amazing Ariel Taylor of @carried.with.love. Ariel is a 5x gestational carrier, who did not experience infertility with her own family building, but has experienced many aspects of it while conceiving children for other families. Since 2015, she had 7 IVF transfers, a miscarriage, 2 chemical pregnancies, a failed transfer, and three beautiful baby boys. Before becoming a Surrogate, she did not realize how little information there was about this assisted method to parenthood. So... she decided to use her experiences, and knowledge to become an advocate and educate others on Surrogacy Awareness.
Ariel shares with us what it felt like to experience loss as a gestational carrier, what it was like to be a surrogate with her own kids at home, the many different relationships she’s had with the intended parents, what it feels like after giving birth as a gestational carrier, and the many misconceptions about surrogacy. Ariel has a huge heart and will absolutely serve as an inspiration to many in this space.
The "Track" to Becoming a Single Mother by Choice feat. Sharon Feingold
In this week's episode, we hear from Sharon Feingold - a career voiceover actress and the voice of the "Plane Train” at one of the world’s busiest airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Sharon is also the voice of the ATL SkyTrain and the voice of the Incline Railway in Chattanooga, TN. Aside from voicing trains, she also provides voice imaging for many tv and radio stations around the United States, including HGTV, Fox Sports, and Nickelodeon.
In this episode, Sharon shares her vulnerable and honest story about her path to becoming a Single Mother by Choice (SMC) in her early 40s; including when and why she decided to become a SMC, how social media played a role in her decision, the bumps in the road, her birth story, and what she would do differently if she could go back 10 years. Since giving birth to her daughter, Aria, a light during the darkest days of COVID, she has become passionate about JFF’s mission and is using her side-hustle as a film producer to help produce webinars and events for donor-conceived individuals and families.
My Miscarriages as a Newlywed feat. Amy Klein.
In this episode, we spoke with Amy Klein, author of “The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant without Losing Your Mind” which is based on her successful New York Times “Fertility Diary” column, in which she chronicled her journey to have a baby. Amy's journey involved nine rounds of IVF and four miscarriages, with ten doctors in three countries. Amy shares what it was like to experience a miscarriage as a newlywed, what people said to her when she lost her babies (and what they SHOULD have said), what she learned about her coping mechanisms throughout her journey, and what she feels grateful for today.
How My Life Changed After My Miscarriages feat. Dr. Aimee Baron
In this episode of Fruitful & Multiplying, we heard from the incredible Dr. Aimee Baron, pediatrician turned Executive Director of "I Was Supposed to Have a Baby.” Aimee shares the many lessons she learned from her experience with secondary infertility as a medical professional, the decision to leave her career as a pediatrician, and grief management through multiple second-trimester miscarriages. With her insight, wisdom, and authenticity, Aimee is a true inspiration to listeners experiencing some of life's greatest challenges.
Healing My Marriage After Infertility feat. Erin Bolcao
In this episode, we learn about the power of hope with blogger Erin Bolcao of @mybeautifulblunder. Erin discusses her IUI & IVF treatments, her 7 losses, a medical reduction (which took her years to share!), and her rainbow baby. She opens up about the loneliness of infertility and new motherhood, the importance of finding support, and how she healed her marriage through therapy. Erin's journey of strength, perseverance, and healing can inspire each and every one of us to have hope and dig deep to fix what's broken
An Honest Journey to Adoption (of 5 kids!) feat. Chavie Bruk
In this episode of Fruitful & Multiplying we were honored to dig deep with Chavie Bruk, who has 5 beautiful children via adoption. Chavie runs the Chabad of Bozeman, Montana, consultants with individuals experiencing infertility or adoption, and blogs on her platform 'Clear as Mud'. Chavie shares her infertility journey, why she decided to adopt, what it was like to navigate the adoption system, some of the challenges she’s faced in the last 15 years, and where she is today! Chavie is a true inspiration and her journey will absolutely blow you away.
From Infertility to Matchmaking (feat. Lizzy Savetsky)
On this episode of Fruitful & Multiplying, we sat down with Lizzy Savetsky, Influencer, Activist, Fashionista, Mother, and now Matchmaker. Lizzy shares about her infertility journey that included rounds of Clomid, IUIs, and IVF and how that impacted her mental health. She also discusses the many miscarriages, including ectopic pregnancies, she faced before having her third child and the importance of reaching out for help and taking care of yourself when facing difficult situations.
Today, she is the proud Mom of 3 beautiful children and is channeling her energy and her platform into matchmaking on her new matchmaking IGTV platform, Bashert by Lizzy.
The Reality of Fertility: An Unscripted Journey (feat. Jill Garelick-Aron, Judy Levenson, and Erin Browne)
This episode of Fruitful & Multiplying features three renowned female film and tv producers, who specialize in reality programming and have all had their own unique fertility journeys. We sat down with Jill Garelick-Aron, Judy Levenson, and Erin Browne who combined have worked on hit TV shows including The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, Disney’s Fairytale Weddings, Celebrity IOU, Wife Swap, Live Free or Die, and many more.
Jill, Judy, and Erin discuss how they each got started in the reality programming industry and their careers. The three each talk about their journeys with infertility including IUI, IVF, egg retrieval, and their now children. This episode explores embryo donation, as well as navigating pregnancy as a single mother by choice and how health insurance benefits impact infertility treatments and family planning.
Infertility as a Jewish Woman of Color (feat. Rain Pryor)
On the first episode of Fruitful & Multiplying, we sat down with actress and comedian Rain Pryor, daughter of the late comedian, Richard Pryor. Rain discusses her struggles with infertility, as well as the anxieties and hopes she felt along the way. When talking about diversity and inclusion, she explores how women and specifically how Black women are often overlooked in the healthcare space and as it relates to infertility.
As February is Black History Month, Rain explores the many backgrounds that are present in the Jewish community and how she as a Black Jewish woman embraces being part of both the Black and Jewish community.