MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis woman wants to give people struggling with infertility a new forum to communicate with others who understand.
Elyse Ash, 33, and her husband Brad launched the website fruitfulfertility.org Sunday, in conjunction with National Infertility Awareness Week.
The online matching service pairs a person who is currently struggling with infertility with a mentor, or someone who has gone through similar experiences.
Since the site launched, Ash said 300 people from across the country have signed up.
Ash said signing up is free and she takes serious steps to ensure privacy for users.
“It is up to those who sign up to decided how they want to connect,” Ash said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1 in 8 couples deal with infertility, or the inability to get pregnant after trying for one year.
Ash said 60 percent of people dealing with infertility do not share their journey with others.
“There is a lot of shame affiliated with infertility, unfortunately,” Ash said.
Fruitful was an idea born out of a lot of heartache, according to Ash.
“It has been incredibly cathartic to work on this with my husband as we are going through our own journey,” Ash said.
The couple have been trying to have a baby for three years.
“I know so many successful, creative, amazing women and men who have struggled with this and feel like failures even though it is no fault of their own; it’s biological,” Ash said.
Ash said many couples choose not to talk about their experience because the people around them do not quite understand.
“They’re getting ‘Oh, just relax’ or ‘Oh, it’ll happen for you,” Ash said. “So that is not really helpful even though they try to be.”
Ash, a copywriter, and her web developer husband got to work on creating a private forum for people with similar experiences to communicate.
“We started working on this nine months ago, the symbolism of which is not lost on me,” Ash said. “The feedback has been incredible.”
Now, in their second cycle of In Vitro Fertilization, The Ash’s know the road ahead may not be easy, but they are not alone.
“However our story works out, we will be able to help a lot of people and that’s a victory in and of itself,” Ash said.