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KUTV Channel 2 Story on UIRC- New resource for couples struggling with infertility

This article was originally published on KUTV on February 29, 2016 and can be found here

(KUTV) About 3 million couples are affected by infertility in America every year.

In Utah, a very family-focused state, a diagnosis of infertility can be devastating.

Many women facing that news can feel alone because they often don't want to share the struggle that they may never have children.

That's how it was for Krystal Larsen. She married her husband 8 years ago and wanted to start creating a family within the first year. But when months of trying to get pregnant went nowhere, she turned to doctors.


"I always had this picture in my head of what I wanted; I wanted to be a mom," Krystal explained.


But her doctor diagnosed her with PCOS, Polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a common endocrine system disorder that can cause infertility.

"I felt that, this is my fault," Krystal said. "I'm the reason why we can't have babies or a family."


They started IVF treatments and at one point suffered an ectopic pregnancy.

"I was just not a happy person. I felt like I wanted to talk to people," she explained.

That's how many couples struggling with infertility can feel, and in the past there haven't been very many options for support and resources in Utah.


But now a new organization is giving those women support and hope. It's called the Utah Infertility Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping couples struggling with infertility.


Camille Van Wagoner Hawkins recognized the need for the center when she and her husband also struggled with infertility.


"After my husband and I went through our first In Vitro cycle and that ended in a miscarriage, I was completely broken down emotionally," said Camille, LCSW.

Just 5 years ago, there was only a support group on Facebook, and Camille realized there was a need for much more in Utah.


"There was nowhere for these people to turn and say, 'I'm having a hard time'," she explained. "Utah needed an organization dedicated to the mental, emotional and social aspects of infertility."


That's why she helped organize the resource center with the help of other local women.

Emotional support is a big part of the center, but organizers are also dedicated to helping change the future for couples struggling with infertility.


For those families, cost is one of the biggest hurdles. An IVF cycle can cost around $15,000, but it doesn't always work and insurance doesn't cover it.

"Utah is not a great state to live in if you're dealing with infertility. You don't have mandated infertility insurance," explains Brooke Walrath, education director of the Utah Infertility Resource Center.


That's why the center is making it a mission to raise awareness, and that includes talking to Utah lawmakers about infertility struggles.


The center also offers monthly support meetings for local women, and they're hoping to expand. That support helped Krystal when she needed it.


"It was just a safe place where I could open up and say, I'm struggling this month," Krystal explained.


After two IVF treatments, Krystal and her husband were able to have a little boy, who is almost 3 years old now. But she said even after having her son, she still struggled.

"It was so, so super hard, and after I had my son my infertility didn't go away, I knew I wanted more kids," she said.


Krystal went through 2 more rounds of IVF treatments, and she's now 28 weeks pregnant with her second child.


And now, she's sharing a message of hope.


"I just want to tell people you're not alone," she said.


The Utah Infertility Resource Center is planning an open house welcome night on Saturday, March 5th, 2016.


For more information, visit the Utah Infertility Resource Center.

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