I Had a Stroke at 33 Years Old: Why I'm Now a Health & Infertility Advocate.
To many SoulCycle riders and fans, Master Instructor Emma Zaks looks like the model of good health as she inspires people in her weekly classes to live up to their fullest potential. Others know Emma from her time on Broadway, following in her parents footsteps.
What some of her fans and followers may not know is that Emma is also a stroke survivor and an infertility advocate. Navigating her undiagnosed autoimmune disease in her early 30s & and now struggling to conceive with her husband, popular child actor Geoffrey Wigdor, has inspired Emma to speak out and use her voice to advocate for change, so other people navigating confusing and upsetting health diagnoses like these don't feel as unsupported and alone.
This episode is supported by Donor Egg Bank USA, the only egg bank in America with the 100% Assured Refund Plan™ guaranteeing that you'll bring home a baby or you'll receive your money back. To lean more, visit www.donoreggbankusa.com
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Breaking Taboos With Former MTV Asia VJ Denise Keller + Miss Universe Japan Juri Watanabe56:28Former MTV Asia VJ and Television Presenter/Producer, Denise Keller, and Miss Universe Japan 2021, Juri Watanabe, are the definition of beauty, smarts and grace to their audiences who have followed them as celebrated major pageant winners and popular on-air talent. But, what they their fans may not know is the desire and drive both of these women have when it comes to breaking down taboos in Asian culture, and beyond, around issues like infertility, pregnancy loss and mental health. Denise, who resides in Singapore and is of Chinese and German ancestry, and Juri, who now lives in Los Angeles and who is of Japanese and Korean descent, strive to elevate the conversation on their public platforms so that others who are struggling, feel less isolated as they once did. This episode’s midroll includes a conversation with Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. Janelle Luk, Co-Founder and Medical Director of Generation Next Fertility, who says that one reason she has a passion for women’s health is because of her experience as a young girl growing up in Hong Kong and learning that her mother was given away at birth. Dr. Luk also shares how certain conditions that impact fertility, like Diminished Ovarian Reserve and PCOS, show up in higher numbers and/or display differently in people of Asian descent than their white counterparts. The subject of “Asian Infertility” is a highly under-researched and under-covered topic. As a result, some people may not access the care they need. This dynamic conversation with newsmakers and thought leaders, which is also in honor of the Chinese New Year, and “The Year of the Dragon” (known to see an uptick in fertility!), strives to continue and expand the conversation so that people get the help they need and know that they are not alone.This episode is supported by Generation Next Fertility in New York City, whose mission is to provide individualized patient centric quality care and innovative technologies to help patients become parents. For more, visit generationnextfertility.com
America's "Most Organized Man", Andrew Mellen, on How To Get Organized During Tough Life Chapters32:08Professional organizer and Author of “Unstuff your Life” and “Calling Bullsh*t On Busy”, Andrew Mellen, has been called “The most organized man in America”, and has spent his career helping people not only declutter their homes and schedules, but also their minds, their hearts and their lives. Andrew knows that during some of life's hardest chapters, like infertility and loss, it can seem overwhelming or even insurmountable to manage all the moving pieces - but he's determined to show that it's not only possible to lessen load, but that when we do we can alleviate stress, find new sources of productivity, and access more life-balance and success.This episode is presented by pregnantish, the first media and patient advocacy platform dedicated to providing high quality content, community, reproductive education, and support for all the people who need “help” to build their families. Pregnantish is also the home to Pregnantish Insights, dedicated to providing insights to benefit the entire fertility care spectrum and improve the future of patient care. For more, visit pregnantish.com and/or by following @pregnantish
Eboni K. Williams on Pursuing Single Motherhood with the Help of a Black Sperm Donor33:40American lawyer and bestselling author of “Bet on Black”, Eboni K. Williams, has been known to her audience on her daytime TV show, “Equal Justice with Judge Eboni K. Williams”, and during her time as the first Black cast member on The Real Housewives of NY, as an independent, outspoken and multi-talented woman. What some of her fans may not know is that in addition to all of these jobs, Eboni wants to add another important role to her work: mom. As a single woman, Eboni is hoping to start a family with the help of sperm donation and IVF and is well aware not only of the shortage of Black sperm donors available, but also the stigma of being “another Black single mom in America.”In this episode, taped in front of a live audience in New York City at the "Diversity of Infertility" pregnantish event, Eboni shares why she’s pursuing single parenthood at this stage of her life, what she wishes others knew about the process, including why 'open donation' was important to her, and why we need to elevate the conversation about the need for more diverse sperm donor options. This episode is presented by California Cryobank, a top sperm bank in the U.S., shipping to all 50 states and to over 40 countries. With one of the largest and most diverse selection of sperm donors, California Cryobank is proud to have helped more than 75,000 people create their families for over 45 years. Visit cryobank.com for more information, and use promo code SPERMISH for a FREE Level 2 Subscription for access to their portfolio of donors.
Survivor Stars Jaclyn & Jon Misch Share Their Surrogacy Story and Surviving Stillbirth37:28Former Miss Michigan and Michigan State Football player Jaclyn and Jon Misch are best known for their time together on CBS’s “Survivor”, where Jaclyn won the title of first runner-up in Season 29 and where the couple had to navigate incredible challenges together on the island.One challenge that the couple knew they'd have to overcome together back at home was starting a family, as Jaclyn was born with MRKH - a condition that rendered her infertile and born without a uterus. In fact, Jaclyn was one of the first public people to bring more awareness to the disorder, which impacts approximately 1 out of every 5000 women.While Jaclyn and Jon knew that she wouldn’t be able to carry a pregnancy, they never imagined all the twists and turns they'd experience on the way to parenthood - including a devastating 20-week stillbirth with a gestational surrogate who was carrying their little girl, Harper. Through faith, science and the generosity of Jon’s first cousin, their gestational surrogate, Jaclyn and Jon are now the parents of a healthy little boy named Logan. And, while they now recognize that the experience strengthened their bond, they will never forget how infertility changed their marriage and their lives.This episode, which explores love, loss, resilience, and the realities of surrogacy, also features Staci Swiderski, Founder/CEO/Owner of Family Source Consultants, who supported this episode. Family Source Consultants is a leading authority in third party reproduction that matches and facilitates Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation arrangements for individuals and couples of all backgrounds in the US and Internationally. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, visit familysourceconsultants.com
Infertility In the News: Why Reporter Jenny Anchondo Is Sharing Her Story of Secondary Infertility + Pregnancy Loss54:19Emmy-award winning news anchor and reporter Jenny Anchondo has reported on stories for over a decade, and has spent her career hearing people's life stories, but admits that until being touched by pregnancy loss and secondary infertility, she never had the desire to share her own story. Part of Jenny's story is the lack of awareness and knowledge she says that she had about her fertility, especially after easily conceiving her first child with her husband. As Jenny admits, “I didn't think you can age out of this process…like everybody else, I saw celebrities having children well into their 40s and 50s and it seemed to be happening frequently. Nobody was telling the story otherwise…”Now, at 41 years old, as Jenny prepares to have a baby after many years of losses and IVF setbacks, she says she's an open book so that people can learn what she wishes she knew and so that she can support others who are struggling to conceive, or feeling as isolated as she did through the devastation of pregnancy loss. This episode also features commentary from Dr. Dorette Noorhasan MD, a CCRM Fertility Specialist who deeply understands this pain point both professionally and personally. She shares important education on miscarriage and fertility in this episode’s mid-roll. This episode is presented by CCRM Dallas-Fort Worth, a world class fertility clinic dedicated to providing industry-leading patient care and outcomes. For more or to book a consult, visit CCRMIVF.com/dallasfortworth
What this Donor Conceived Adult Wants Others to Know about Donor Conception28:54Emma Groenbaek grew up not only with the awareness about the fact that she was conceived via sperm donation, but pride connected to it. In fact, as a child, her bedtime book was the story of how she was created with the help of science and donor conception. So, perhaps it's no surprise that when social media came around, Emma, now 27 years old, started blogging, educating and posting about her donor conceived experience. Though she’s grateful to the sperm donor and her parents for pursuing this step to give her life, she's well aware that people who find out that they were donor conceived later, or whose parents kept this a secret, have a much different relationship than she does to this part of their identities.As Emma says, “The truth hurts less than secrets.” In this interview, Emma shares more on why her parents were open about how they got pregnant via sperm donation, even though they were advised not to share this with her, why she has no desire to meet her genetic father, and what she wants others to know about donor conception. This episode is presented by Cryos International, “The World’s Largest Sperm and Egg Bank,” where Emma works as a Donor Child Consultant. Every day, Cryos International helps people around the world make their dream of having a child come true. For more visit cryosinternational.com
Why This Couple Wants to Raise Awareness of Trans Fertility31:18When Benjamin Carmichael and Becca met doing advocacy work for Planned Parenthood in New England in 2018, they never imagined that months later, they'd match on Tinder, get engaged to marry exactly three years to the day, and set out to have children together. But both have always known that they wanted to become parents. For any couple, this chapter of trying to have a baby can be exciting and overwhelming; but for Benjamin and Becca, it's heightened by the fact that Benjamin is a trans man who has had to come off testosterone and inject multiple hormones in order to retrieve eggs for the possibility of having a baby. Even though Benjamin and Becca are hardly the first couple in the LGBTQ+ community to undergo fertility treatments, it's still largely misunderstood by some health care providers and networks and insurance carriers. In fact, much of Becca's work now has been to explore the experience of trans people in healthcare settings. And in addition to personally navigating Modern Family building, both seek to create positive change for others in the LGBTQ+ community who face discrimination or disparities here. As a member of the Transgender Educational Network, and a longtime advocate for LGBTQ visibility and rights, it's perhaps no surprise that Benjamin has used his social media platform to shine a light on fertility from his point of view. And this is ultimately what this episode is about. “Why This Couple Wants to Raise Awareness of Trans Fertility” is in honor of Pregnantish Pride, where we share fertility stories in the LGBTQ community and show the many diverse ways families today are created. For more, visit pregnantish.com/lgbt
Happiness Hacks & Getting Pregnant at 49: A Conversation with Bestselling Author, Karen Salmansohn27:25For over 25 years, Karen Salmansohn has been a multi bestselling author with approximately 2 million books sold globally. Her first book, “How To Be Happy Dammit” gained a slew of public fans including Madonna, Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra and Karen has since added coaching, speaking and consultation to her body of work. In this episode on happiness, which also explores how Karen became a mom at 50 years old, listeners are invited and instructed on how to best challenge negative messages and self-limiting beliefs …even during some of life’s most challenging moments. This episode is presented by pregnantish, who is expanding the success of the 2019 “Why I Left My Fertility Clinic” study to look at the fertility treatment patient experience today, with the main goal of bridging the gap between patients and their providers, and creating a better experience for all involved. Visit pregnantish.com/insights for more.
Infertility Looks Like: 29 Year Old Model Tess Annique and Her Husband, NHL Star Sheldon Souray37:38When model and wellness influencer Tess Annique met retired NHL hockey star, Sheldon Souray in treatment for addiction in January 2017, she never imagined the two would later fall in love and marry. The two were good friends and shared life's most vulnerable moments as they tried to get sober. But months later, when they reconnected through a text message, Tess admitted she knew something had changed between them. After that, Tess and Sheldon fell in love, had a fairytale wedding and were excited to start a family together. What she never imagined was that in her 20s, she'd struggle to conceive with her husband, and how miscarriage, IVF and infertility would be one of the most sobering experiences Tess and Sheldon would share together. This episode, in honor of Resolve's National Infertility Awareness Week 2023, is about love in the face of challenges, why others should never judge a book by its healthy cover, and what Tess and Sheldon dream of as they look towards their future.