#TriToConceive – And the Training Begins

Week 1-2 of training

For those of you who follow our blog, you likely saw my post during National Infertility Awareness Week announcing my goal to compete in an Olympic triathlon to raise awareness for infertility.  After the first two weeks of training, though sore, I am still more inspired than ever to complete this goal.

Training began like every other event I have competed in—very slowly.  It takes a lot of effort to get up and going again after taking so many months off to “recover” (aka, eating anything and everything I want, and not even runningconsidering going for a run).   Once I finally put down the doughnuts, I was able to find a very nice rhythm this week, and found a plan that is very doable.  Through the first 2 weeks of workouts I have ran 9+ miles, swam 1.5, and completed 4+ hours on a stationary bike (our house isn’t located in an ideal biking region……soooooo many hills, and the rain has kept me inside).   All in all, the first two weeks are going as well as planned, with no setbacks or pains (minus soreness).

Following my initial post announcing my plan, I received a ton of positive feedback from family, friends, and many of those who follow this blog.  I truly appreciate all the encouragement and am truly blessed. However, I want everyone to remember that this run is in no way about me; please keep all those dealing with infertility in your thoughts and prayers.  The physical pain that I am putting myself through can never compare the countless numbers of families in the midst of their fertility struggle.

One final note for my first training update, I have to give a shout out to my wife.  The amount of time that I will be spending over the next 15 to 20 weeks training at times can be a struggle, but luckily my wife has been nothing but amazing.  I even got her on a bike (for the first time in 15 years) and she rode right along with me for the entire ride.  She is my teammate, cheerleader, motivator, and at times the one pushing me out the door to go run when I am struggling.

Come stop by next week as I will provide another update as well as a breakdown of the event I will be competing in.

#TriToConceive

#TriToConceive with Josh!

From Josh:

390040_738537463337_235816598_nFor many of you following our blog, you have read numerous pieces written by my sisters, and many less from me. As I outlined in my initial blog post, I struggled to find topics to discuss as 27-year-old male who did not have kids, or haven’t attempted to conceive with my wife. I no doubt had a passion to help spread the word and help bring encouragement to families who are struggling with infertility; I just didn’t believe that my writing was the most effective vehicle to do just that. I brainstormed for many hours hoping to find a way to connect with people more effectively and a way that brings attention to a cause that is frequently lacking a male voice.
Before I get deeper into this article, a little background will be needed. In December of 2007, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the same cancer that took the life of my grandfather 20 years prior. This became an impactful moment not only in my life, but my entire family. As we gathered in support, our entire family began taking part in a local Indianapolis 5K that raised funds to support men dealing with prostate cancer. Little did we know that doing a 5K as a family would create a spark in all of us to live a healthier lifestyle, and push our bodies to the limit. Shortly after my father’s diagnosis, he underwent a successful surgery to remove the cancer. He remains cancer free to this day. However, we have never stopped running.
In effort to blend these two passions together, I have decided to embark on a journey that I will document for you all over the coming weeks and months. I could not think of a better week to make this announcement than National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This week we honor those dealing with fertility issues for NIAW, and gather to support a common cause.
To do my part in raising awareness for families dealing with infertility, I will be competing in an Olympic Triathlon later this summer (my first Olympic distance). My goal is not to win or run my personal bests, it’s about carrying a torch for a cause that is rarely mentioned my men. I hope this journey helps inspire men to open up about the emotional effects of infertility, and create a new dialog. It is also to honor and support those who have battled, or are currently battling the physical and emotional turmoil that infertility causes. #YouAreNotAlone.
During my training, please follow my progress on Facebook, and Twitter @keytoconcieve, or search #TriToConceive as I will bring you weekly updates, as well as the stories of those who I am running for.
I look forward to hearing from all of you over the next few months.
#TriToConceive

Join us for National Infertility Awareness Week!

This year’s National Infertility Awareness Week follows the theme of “you are not alone.”  ToConceive wants to Hope is...reiterate to couples who are struggling to conceive that they are NOT in this fight alone. Along with amazing national groups like RESOLVE, ToConceive wants to rally around couples and offer them hope and support.

In honor of the 2015 NIAW, ToConceive will be giving away 15 bottles of ToConceive each day through our Facebook page in support of the 1 in 8 couples struggling with infertility. Additionally, ToConceive wants to put a face on infertility and throughout the week will be highlighting infertility success stories, sharing additional resources and educating the general public on infertility issues.

Join us in spreading awareness and hope!

The Language of Infertility…Don’t Get Scared Now

Here’s another great blog post from Josh. We’re loving having an infertility point-of-view from the other side of the aisle!

There was a recent article released in the Huffington Post outlining 3 reasons why infertility is a hushed topic. It is a great article and I highly recommend that anyone struggling with infertility, and those that are not, give it a quick read.  As I read the article I couldn’t help but shake my head with approval and internally scream “YES!!!” and “Thank You!!”  This has been a topic that we have been speaking on for years now, and the information is starting to spread.

However, as I thought more on the article, I realized it only scratched the surface; 3 reasons why is it hushed? Only 3?  I think I can find 10 times that just scrolling through our twitter feed each night.  Just off hand, the words, stress, embarrassment, sperm capitation and fallopian tube come to mind.  How many men just cringed reading ‘sperm capitation’?  How many actually made it past fallopian tube?  I am sure less than you would think.  And therein lies the significant problem.

The Huffington Post article alludes to this topic, but doesn’t dive deeply into it; that’s what I am here for.Man Scratching Head

The language that is used in the fertility world is not for the faint of heart. We commonly speak of vaginal fluid, sperm, lubrication, and oh so many more.  A lot of men, including myself, for a long time, are not good at conversations that include this (I picture I lot of red faces and abrupt trips to Lowes to avoid the conversation).  This language is not in our everyday lexicon. Maybe it is because we think that it is not masculine to talk about this stuff, but I believe the opposite.  Speaking as a man, I would hope my wife would find it rather refreshing to hear me speak on this topic not fearful of embarrassment or shame.  This is life, guys, nothing is embarrassing about it.  Heck, maybe the ladies will find our new appreciation for technical terms sexy.

Here are some of the terms that we should not be afraid of and why:

Sperm – it’s life, without sperm you wouldn’t be here, nor would your partner.

Eggs – see sperm. Pretty important stuff.

Sperm Capacitation – sperm capacitation is a natural and essential process when a woman’s natural conception lubrication dissolves the immobilizing cholesterol from the sperm and creates an enzyme to allow the sperm to fertilize the ovum. That’s a lot of technical speak for a natural process required for a sperm to fertilize an egg.

Lubrication/ Vaginal fluid – important aspect to creating the a fertile environment for sperm travel. Visit http://www.keytoconceive.com/    for more information.

Sex – well, if I have to explain this one, we have a bigger issue to deal with.

Now, I know this conversation won’t be as easy as talking about football with your buddies, but just like in that conversation you know the ins and outs of a 3-4 defense, you need to know about reproduction and the factors that apply.

ToConceive Helps Couples Trying to Conceive Take Matters Into Their Own Hands

If you have a headache, you simply head to the drug store for pain relievers. If you’re dealing with infertility, you have to see a specialist. Now, imagine if treating infertility were as simple as treating a headache–simply using an over-the-counter treatment.

ToConceive is the first OTC therapy that can treat a number of infertility issues, including many male subfertility issues. Many couples incorrectly assume that it is the female’s issue that is leading to their inability to get pregnant. However, nearly half of all infertility comes from the man. Depending on what study you look at, male fertility issues account for anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of all couples’ infertility problems.

ToConceive is inexpensive, easy to use and available over-the-counter.

Azoospermia, the complete absence of sperm, is typically untreatable, but also extremely rare. Fortunately, most male infertility issues are treatable with the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) of IntraUterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

To treat male infertility, IUI and IVF both use laboratory in-vivo sperm washing, sperm swim-up and sperm capacitation to choose only the perfect, motile and capacitated sperm needed to achieve pregnancy. Unfortunately, IUI and IVF are invasive, expensive and not an option for many couples.

Like IUI and IVF, ToConceive mimics in-vivo sperm capacitation and accomplishes the same exact sperm selection functions to produce perfect, motile and capacitated sperm. However, ToConceive is inexpensive, easy to use and available over-the-counter.

As Dr. Thompson explains, in-vivo sperm capacitation works to allow only the fittest sperm to fertilize the egg, but can only do so with normal vaginal conception lubrication. When a woman uses ToConceive, it helps her produce and increase her own natural conception lubrication, which in turns capacitates the sperm, allowing it to travel the six or seven inches up the fallopian tube to penetrate and fertilize the egg. This in-vivo sperm capacitation also selects out immature and abnormal sperm and washes sperm coated with anti-sperm antibodies, according to Dr. Thompson.

Currently, ToConceive comes in one and three-month supplies and is available online through the Key to Conceive website (www.keytoconceive.com), as well as through Amazon, Drugstore.com and the Kindara app.

A Word From the Men of ToConceive…

You’ve heard from Krissy and Lindsey of ToConceive, now it’s time to get the perspective of infertility from a male, ToConceive’s own Josh Thompson….

Josh and  OliviaI have struggled over the past few months in coming up with ideas for articles/blog posts relating to infertility from the male’s perspective. I have bounced around ideas such as fitness, nutrition, and the holy grail of male fertility topics, boxer’s vs tighty whiteys. However, none of those ideas spoke to me and writers block hit me like a ton of bricks. Then when I least expected it, as I sat on the beach next to my new bride (on our honeymoon), the idea hit me. At this moment I realized that I was now entering into whole new phase of my life, leaving the single life, and entering the world of marriage.
Naturally, my wife and I have always discussed our ideal family design; 2 kids, a boy and a girl (I must say, seeing my beautiful nieces grow up, I wouldn’t be sad if I had two girls), two or three years apart, happy and healthy. What more could a newly married couple ask for? For the longest time this conversation was nothing more than just that, a conversation. But now that we are married, it has become our everyday reality. We must decide when is the right time, is our house, and bank account ready for us to bring in another mouth, am I ready to be a father? (Just typing that sentence is sure to make my mom, sisters, wife, and likely my dad cry when they read it.)
However, what if our dream family doesn’t come as easily as it does in our conversations? What if God’s will is for us to not have a family or for us to deal with the struggles of infertility? While I have been researching infertility for the past year or more, hoping to spread the word to couples who are facing the reality of infertility, it has never occurred to me that I too one day may have to fight the same battle. Will my wife and I be mentally prepared? Will we have the faith to remain strong? I like to think that the answer is yes. But the answer to that lies within my relationship with God and my wife. I do know that the beautiful woman that I now get to call my wife (not to toot my own horn, but I totally hit the jackpot) and I would stand firm in our faith and rely on our love. It is amazing to know that regardless of what we may go through in life, we will have each other. Infertility may be a difficult topic, especially for us men, but is should never cause fear. I don’t know if these thoughts are normal (though I know I am outside of the standard of what is normal to begin with) for a man, but I like to think they are, it just might be hidden under our layers of emotional barriers. If this short blog does anything, I hope it shows men that this is not a topic that you should hide under, but rather speak to it. Family, love, and faith are a part of our lives every day and there will never be a good enough reason to hide from it.
One final story as I open this dialog around male infertility. During our rehearsal dinner my father and mother spoke to us about family and what to expect in the coming years. The one thing that stood out to me more than anything was them describing how before I ever met my wife, they were praying for her. They prayed for my brother’s wife and sister’s husband that we all would meet the perfect spouse, and find the love that they did, they did so before we were ever born. And now, we too are praying.

Run Your Way to Support NVM!

NVM 5kOne of our non-profit partners, Nehemiah Vision Ministries, will be hosting at 5k run/walk to benefit the organization’s mission of helping the people of Haiti. The race will take place on July 19 at the Northview Carmel Campus. Race starts at 8 a.m. Register for the race at http://www.nvm.org.

If you’re not going to be around for the run/walk or live out of town but still want to help NVM, check out the Crowd Rise page. www.crowdrise.com/nehemiahvision

Thinking of Men this June

Following is a guest post from one of our great partners, Don’t Cook Your Balls.

Men are supermen, right? They are impervious to all danger and illness. At the top of his game, a man is a force to be reckoned with, a superhero in his own right. Able to move heavy objects, sprint at high speeds and burn midnight oil to get the job done. But life wears us all out. With time, late nights drinking with the guys aren’t so easy the next day. A stressful job and long commute makes him want to crash on the couch rather than hitting the gym. Sometimes it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep.

spermWhy care about men’s health?

As life takes its toll on a man’s body, he just deals with it. Silently, as a society we’ve created a gender gap in health. Men are more likely to die younger, deal with more illnesses and receive less medical treatment than women. They are also more likely to face their health in isolation as they have smaller support networks and are less likely to ask for help.

Men’s Health Month

Championed by the Men’s Health Network, a non-profit that “reaches men where they live, work, play and pray”, Men’s Health Month is a dedicated opportunity to build awareness about men’s health issues. Here are some of the events that will be happening:

  • It’s a Guy Thing Fertility Summit – Kristen Magnacca Darcy and Don’t Cook your Balls have teamed up to offer a free 5 day online summit dedicated to all the issues surrounding male fertility. It is designed to help couples struggling with male fertility issues to learn more about the condition and connect to key resources to support their journey. It will cover key topics such as testosterone and fertility, varicocele – treat or not to treat, advanced treatment options for azoospermia, tips and tricks to communicating with your wife, what to do when biology won’t cooperate.
  • The Drive for Men’s Health – Dr’s Jamin Brahmbhatt and Sijo Parekattil, are leaving the operating room behind and taking to the highway to spread the word about men’s health issues. The two urologists and robotic surgeons have planned the first even Drive for Men’s Health event, traveling from Central Florida to NYC in an all-electric Tesla vehicle. The purpose of the Drive For Men’s Health is to encourage men to make their health a priority. Throughout the drive, the physicians will broadcast live through Google Glass in order to discuss men’s health issues, as well as related partners and sponsors.

There are many more great Men’s Health events happening throughout the country. Check out the official Men’s Health Month calendar to learn more.

Get Involved

Recent studies show that a man’s fertility can be a good indicator of his future health. Nearly all the health risks associated with chronic disease and early death — such as obesity, smoking, poor diet, high stress, lack of exercise and the like — have also been shown to impair sperm production. As our small part to raise awareness around this important issue, Don’t Cook your Balls is sponsoring a campaign to raise money and awareness for Men’s Health.

You can help! By simply posting a picture to facebook, twitter or instagram, you can raise awareness about men’s health issues AND raise money to support free health screenings for men.

What to do

  1. Take a picture: of something that is bad for your testicular health (smoking, tight pants, hottubs, a donut, you get the idea) with the phase “don’t cook your balls” somewhere in the picture
  2. Post the picture to facebook, twitter or instagram with the hashtag #dontcookyourballs
  3. Ask friends to like, share and retweet

During the month of June, for every picture posted that is tagged with #dontcookyourballs, $0.50 will be donated to the Men’s Health Network to support free health screenings for men. Posts with the most likes, favorites and retweets will be awarded weekly prizes, while the most popular post of the month will receive a grand prize.

Win a free bottle of ToConceive in honor of NIAW!

Hope is...In honor of the 25th anniversary of National Infertility Awareness Week, ToConceive is giving away 25 bottles of ToConceive to couples trying to conceive, in hopes of spreading hope to all couples TTC.

To enter, comment on this post letting us know what hope means to you. The first 25 to comment win!

To promote infertility education, we’ll also donate 25% of all profits during that week to RESOLVE.

The contest runs through Saturday, April 26.