After hearing too many heartbreaking stories about people struggling to start a family, finding out their health insurance wouldn't cover them, and not being able to afford treatments...
Nubundle was born.
We felt the need to try and solve a problem for the millions of individuals that struggle quietly and are left behind in the healthcare system. To highlight some of the real issues that members of this community face, we are sharing two personal stories that emphasize the fact that fertility struggles are never a one size fits all.
These two ladies come from different lifestyles, careers and family goals, yet they are united by Nubundle’s mission: to make starting a family a simpler by providing fertility support and services that fit each individual’s personal needs.
Sheila’s Personal Story on Finding Answers to her own Fertility
“Look at the string of pearls” the fertility specialist said to the medical student as she counted 16 large follicles on my left ovary. I remember thinking to myself, but I thought I was in this voluntary research study as a control, or a patient who doesn’t have the medical condition being studied. When I asked the doctor what this meant, she said very calmly, “didn’t you know you have PCOS?”.
That was the first time I had ever heard of the women’s health condition Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, more commonly referred to as PCOS. Affecting 1 in 10 reproductive aged women, the symptoms of PCOS include excess hair (hirsutism), hair loss, acne, weight gain, infertility, increased risk of psychological disorders and symptoms associated with periods. More than 50 percent of women with this condition will go about their lives plagued by these symptoms, but remain undiagnosed and without answers.
After hearing the news, I remember leaving the fertility clinic unsure of how to feel. I cried tears of relief when I finally had an answer for why I had depression even though I was the happiest person. I also understood why, after eating healthy and exercising regularly, I was overweight due to my insulin-resistance. On the other hand, being told I would need fertility treatments to have a future family was one reality I wasn’t prepared to think about at the age of 25. It wasn’t until I was told I may never have children, that I suddenly wanted to do everything in my power to have them. That is what brought me to Nubundle today.
After numerous doctor appointments and countless google searches I still had so many unanswered questions about PCOS, so I attended a masters program at Northwestern in Reproductive Medicine. The program solidified my interest in educating others about their fertility while remaining aligned to my research and education background. This is the reason I’m proud to say I work at Nubundle- to provide others even the slightest sense of relief when it comes to their family planning needs. Family planning goes beyond couples who need in-vitro fertilization. I want to help educate individuals who like me, are unaware of the signs of reproductive health conditions or those who simply have an unanswered question about their first steps to start a family.
MJ’s Personal Story on Becoming an IVF Warrior
IVF was my bail-out. My solution when all else failed. The shots were what intimidated me the most, so I did everything I could to avoid them. After trying to get pregnant for 4 years unsuccessfully, I finally took the plunge. Then, when IVF didn’t work, I was completely unprepared. I had no idea that it takes on average 3-6 rounds of IVF to produce a successful outcome. Getting that phone call from the nurse saying that our scant 2 blastocysts stopped growing on day 3 put me in a really dark place.
Now, I’m almost 42 years old and am 9 years into my journey. I have completed 3 rounds of IVF with a 4th in the works, not to mention full days on the phone with insurance and pharmacies, over $20k+ spent, and hundreds of shots self-administered. I’m much more prepared and much more battle-toughened. I know the process, the risks, and the fact that the cards are not in my favor. I know how to self-care, and I have on speed dial my girlfriends who have been through it - my people I can cry and rage with.
Infertility is an emotional, financial, and physical beat-down. I went into it blindly with little to no support network or knowledge of how isolating and draining it can be. You get thrust into a different world with procedures, hormones, bloodwork, ultrasounds, outcomes, stats, needles, risk profiles, likelihoods, cycle days. There is a whole language and culture to it, like a fucked up sorority whose initiation rights include cervical fluid tracking and vaginal exams. And you have to do it all surreptitiously around your working hours, because more often than not, your company doesn’t know or provide support to you through the months-long process.
I believe in Nubundle’s mission - to be that partner to you as you have to navigate a really horrible medical situation. To help you know what to ask and when to ask it, and to help address the financial burden, when all you really want to do is have a family. And to do it with the full support of your company and organization, so it’s not something you do in secret or alone.