Growing up as an Asian American, Anna Wang felt pressure to keep “failures” quiet. So as adults, Anna and her husband, Jeremy, kept their infertility struggles private, all while developing a social media presence as happy, successful restaurant entrepreneurs. Now, via their social media platforms they are breaking taboos and showing that support, not silence, empowers women and men on their infertility journeys.
Q: What’s your infertility story in a nutshell?
My husband Jeremy and I have been trying to conceive for 7 ½ years and struggled alone for five years before going public with our story. We have walked through it all: Two Clomid rounds, two IUIs, three IVF retrievals, fourIVF transfers, multiple infertility surgeries, eastern medicine, western medicine, and a five-week miscarriage. We are now 16 weeks pregnant from our 4th IVF transfer!
Q: What inspired you to share your story online? How has the response been?
Shifting the focus from ourselves to helping others on the same journey inspired us to share our story. We know firsthand that the experience is very isolating. We hope we can help others feel less alone and encourage them to share their stories. Infertility can be a scary road, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, and we have built an amazing community of infertility warriors fighting their own battles while leaning on each other.
Q: After being on your infertility journey for 7 ½ years, how has your journey affected your marriage?
People tend to forget that men are going through it, too, and they grieve differently.
Like all battles, there are wounds to lick and injuries to heal. It affected us emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially, and during some of the toughest times, we had to seek marriage counseling. Overall, my husband and I have a greater appreciation for the resilience and courage that each of us has shown to get here. It has definitely made us stronger as a couple.
Q: What do you think people misunderstand about men going through this experience? How has your husband played a part in breaking this taboo?
People tend to forget that men are going through it, too, and they grieve differently. There aren’t too many communities for men to lean on and it can be an isolating experience for them as well. A lot of communities are geared toward women and make it hard for men to find resources, so they often feel helpless. Jeremy breaks this taboo by responding to people that reach out to him for tips on administering shots and mitigating pain, sharing our experiences through social media, and taking part in small support groups for men.
Growing up, I was encouraged to share accomplishments only and keep failures behind closed doors as it was considered taboo. A part of my purpose is to break the stereotype and show that it’s okay to share our deepest vulnerabilities to help others.
Q: Speaking of taboos…we often see older white women with infertility in the news. You’re Asian American. Is this an important part of your platform in terms of breaking stereotypes or cultural misconceptions?
Absolutely! Asian Americans don’t typically share vulnerabilities openly, especially when it comes to infertility. Growing up, I was encouraged to share accomplishments only and keep failures behind closed doors as it was considered taboo. A part of my purpose is to break the stereotype and show that it’s okay to share our deepest vulnerabilities to help others.
Q: What was it like going through IVF during COVID?
It was like playing roulette except we were making a huge bet with a large amount of money while risking my health. In addition, it was constantly getting riskier because anyone visiting the clinic could be carrying the virus and shut it down. This made it very emotional as everyday was a rollercoaster ride. We were very anxious and feared that our cycle would be canceled at any moment and all of our progress would be lost. Our results are not the norm, as we know many people who are devastated because their cycles were canceled and postponed. We are very fortunate to have made it this far.