Company: Sparkles of Life
Why is it important to educate the community on infertility?
We as a community must face the realization that 1 out of 8 couples are affected by infertility. That’s why it’s very important that we educate our communities on infertility issues. We have a better awareness for AIDS and breast cancer but infertility is still not as visible as it should be. When I started Sparkles of Life the idea was to educate, uplift, empower and offer support for women whose journey consists of infertility, miscarriages, or delayed parenting. I feel like now that Sparkles is going into its fifth year, things are more socially acceptable. Ten years ago when I started out, you couldn’t even tell people that you needed medical assistance to have children. Now it’s becoming normal because more people are experiencing it. We have ladies in our program who are posting their stories and being transparent about their treatment through blogs and social media. We have more recognition and the barriers have come down so now we can mainstream this topic to make it more powerful. Now the women who are struggling and the couples who have been affected can feel free to share their stories and speak out about what they are doing and the challenges that they have faced.
When and how often should you get tested?
You should not wait until you decide to have kids, you should test before to make sure that everything is OK. If you happen to be over the age of 27 or 29, you need to at least check your egg reserve and make sure your tubes are open. Infertility can be male or female related, so your husband or your partner will also have to test his sperm count. If there are bad eggs or [they are] not high quality, then you need to discuss other methods of either freezing those eggs, or deciding on an egg donor to carry your pregnancy to full term. Your regular gynecologist can do a basic workup and for guys a primary care doctor can examine your sperm count. If you have had unprotected sex over 12 or 14 months, at some point you should become pregnant. If that does not happen you should consult your doctor. In fertility years a woman of 34 years [of age] is considered old because the quality of her organs and her eggs are not the best. Most people are marrying later in age due to finances and career goals, which puts you in a high risk area. Once you consult your doctor, if the outcome is not positive you will need to see a specialist. This will determine if the diagnosis is due to a vitamin deficiency or if some other minor modifications to your diet can help boost your sperm or egg count. I answer a lot of similar questions in my book, Delay Is Not Denial: A Victorious Journey to Motherhood. I recommend it to anyone who is seeking more knowledge on infertility and the journey to conceive.
What’s next for Sparkles?
On Saturday, May 2, Sparkles of Life will host its fifth annual “High Heels and Hats” conference and brunch. The free conference starts at 9 a.m. and the brunch will immediately follow at 11:30 a.m. This is a fundraiser to raise funds so that we can offer treatment, but it’s also a time to showcase the families who have endured the hardships and have now come out victorious. We are happy to announce that our keynote speaker will be Dr. Leticia Plummer who is local to the Houston community and is fighting to get the legislative system to change the appending rights act for surrogacy. Dr. Plummer will be speaking about other ways to become a parent and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that go along with surrogacy, adoption and infertility.