Relationship Expert, Author and Founder, Pregnantish
At the age of 14, Andrea Syrtash was told she might have fertility issues one day. She never imagined, however, that it would take approximately 18 IUIs/IVFs, open-stomach fibroid removal surgery, miscarriages and a gestational carrier to become a parent.
“One reason I launched pregnantish a few years ago was because I was missing a content site like ours – a lifestyle platform, not a medical or parenting platform – exclusively dedicated to helping people navigating the challenges infertility can bring into our lives.”
Providing a lifeline
Through articles, personal essays, videos, podcasts, social media posts, campaigns and live events, Syrtash’s online magazine addresses how infertility affects people physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually, testing even the closest relationships.
“I’ve covered relationships as an author for years, and I think this is one of the biggest and most underreported relationship issues of our time,” says Syrtash, whose two-year-old daughter, Arielle, was frozen as an embryo in 2016. “Acknowledging this through our content and teaching others how to treat those struggling, through our PSA: Pregnantish Service Announcement Series, has been helpful, we’re told.”
According to Syrtash, half the women responding to a study of 200 couples said being unable to conceive was the most upsetting experience of their lives.
“Someone struggling may feel hopeless and isolated, and having a community that shares their experience and also shows that there are options for them is paramount.”
Connecting with fertility specialists
“The relationship between patients and providers is an incredibly important one. At pregnantish, we work with both. We launched a nationwide survey called ‘Why I Left My Fertility Clinic’ and reached almost 1,100 patients in less than three months. My suspicion was right: relationships and communication was the number-one reason patients left a clinic.
“We worked with data scientists to curate the data and invited an advisory board of top fertility specialists to help us meaningfully communicate the data we collected. We’ve now created a free workshop and course that healthcare providers can access free-of-charge.”
PVN (Pregnantish Verified Network) features individuals from across the U.S. who speak to audience members who are trying to conceive and/or want to stay connected.
“The program is open to all healthcare providers for free, thanks to educational grants from EMD Serono and CooperSurgical, and our interest in keeping this a value add program.
“We have amazing patient advocates involved who helped share the survey and an incredible list of fertility specialists as speakers, which can be accessed on the site.”
A mission of diversity and inclusion
April is National Infertility Awareness Week,” Syrtash points out. “We are launching a program, along with First Response, called, ‘This is What Infertility Looks Like’, to show the pain and determination people who want to create families have, and to share the faces and voices of those frequently left out of the storytelling of infertility. This program will surprise many people who don’t fully understand the depth and breadth of whom this affects.”Adds Syrtash, “I’m very passionate about serving our audience with content and resources that will make this incredibly taxing journey a little easier.”