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Breaking Murphy’s Law (of Infertility): Surviving the wait

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), The Crossroads Chronicle also reached out to Allison Durden Murphy for a Q&A session. Below is her take on her infertility experience.

First things first. Give us some background. Who are you? Who is your spouse?

Murphy: I’m Allison Murphy. I’m 28-years-old and originally from Swainsboro. I live in Bulloch County now with my 33-year-old husband, Ashley, who is a native of Savannah.

When did you two start trying to have a family and why?

Murphy: We started trying to conceive three months after we were married (August 2017). We were both ready to be parents and due to family history, I knew it would be better to start soon just in case I did have any issues trying to conceive.

When did you know you needed help trying to conceive? How did you come to that determination?

Murphy: After six to eight months of trying to conceive with no luck, I knew we had an issue. That paired with pain I was having throughout each month brought me to that decision.

When were you diagnosed? What was your formal diagnosis?

Murphy: After multiple tests and surgeries, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis in November 2018.

Did you ever expect to go through this?

Murphy: In the back of mind, I knew there was a chance I would eventually have trouble trying to conceive, but like all women dealing with infertility, you try to stay optimistic.

Some women going through infertility feel like so much of sex ed is about prevention and how easy it is to have a child… What’s your stance on that?

Murphy: Goodness, you do not want to get me started on this! I went to college for biology, so I would say I am pretty smart when it comes to the physical structure, physiological mechanisms, and chemical processes of living organisms, but let me tell you, battling infertility has been an eye-opener for me in relation to how a woman’s body works. There is a scene in the movie Mean Girls that perfectly sums up what we are taught in sex ed: that “if you have sex, you will contract an STI and die.” That sounds dramatic, but if you asked most teenagers what they learned in sex ed, their answers would be similar to the above statement. Why don’t we teach teenagers in sex ed about 1) safe sex practices and 2) how our reproductive and endocrine systems work and what to look for in your teenage and young adult years that could be factors later in life that will affect your fertility?

What have been some major milestones along your journey? (Losses, failed treatments, etc.)

Murphy: In addition to the surgeries I had, I have tried multiple fertility medications, including Clomid and Letrozole. When those alone did not work, the next step for most couples battling infertility would be an Intrauterine insemination (IUI) but due to the severity of my PCOS, the success rate of having an IUI performed was almost nonexistent. I decided at that point that our next step would be in vitro fertilization (IVF), but I was going to give my mind, body, and soul a break first.

Exactly when did you and Ashley stop treatments and why? How has it been to press pause—good, bad? How so?

Murphy: I made the decision to stop all treatments in July 2020 because I needed a break, physically and emotionally. I continued tracking my LH and PdG levels and basal body temperature monthly, but I put a halt to all treatments. Since making that decision, it is a constant battle mentally for me because you want so bad to do everything in your power to bring a child into this world, but you also know that your mind and your body must rest. My husband and I decided that the month after my 30th birthday, we would begin IVF.