Veteran sportscaster Erin Andrews is speaking publicly about her fertility journey for the first time, revealing that she has been undergoing "time-consuming and emotionally draining" in vitro fertilization since she was 35.
Andrews, 43, wrote on Facebook Bulletin that she is undergoing her seventh round of IVF as she prepares for the upcoming football season.
"On top of being on a special assignment last week where I was sometimes working up to 14 hours a day, I also had to set aside time for IVF treatment," the NFL broadcaster wrote. "I have been trying to do IVF treatment for a while now, but sometimes it doesn't go the way you want it. Your body just doesn't allow it."
Andrews said that at her age, she knows her body "is kind of stacked against (her)" and added that juggling work requirements makes the process even more complicated and draining. Andrews also was treated for cervical cancer and underwent surgery in 2016.
"Every cycle is different in a woman's body, so some months are better than others. When I heard this was the best time to go through another treatment, I had to figure it out all over again," Andrews wrote. "How am I going to juggle this treatment on top of my work schedule? I got so stressed out. When this happens, it really makes you question: Is it the future of my family or is it my job?"
While she initially kept her situation private because she felt women in her industry "feel the need to keep things quiet," Andrews, who is married to hockey player Jarret Stoll, said she wanted to be open with her work colleagues.
"I decided that this time around, I would be open with my show producers about having to come to work a little later than normal because I was attending daily fertility appointments. And I am thankful I did it," Andrews said. "They encouraged me to be open about it because this is real life. It's not like I'm leaving to go take a hot yoga class, I'm trying to have a baby. I am not ashamed, and I want to be vocal and honest about this."
"It can sometimes be embarrassing when you are in the waiting room and they say your name out loud. It makes me think, 'I want this to be quiet, I don't want people to know,' but I don't care anymore!" she wrote. "It sucks, but I am right there with all these other women in the waiting room. It's a team that no one wants to be a part of. We're all going through this and having a tough time. It can be so isolating, but in reality, we are all there together."
"The entire treatment takes such a mental and emotional toll on your body ... You could go through this whole experience and get absolutely nothing out of it — that's the crazy part. It's a ton of money, it's a ton of time, it's a ton of mental and physical anguish. And more times than not, they're unsuccessful," Andrews continued. "I think that's why a lot of people choose to be quiet about it. Because maybe we feel as if this is something we have to do, and we don't want to jinx it. On the other hand, we can also feel like we're a failure as females or to our partners. But we are all warriors for going through this!"
Andrews added that part of what's changed her perspective on the process has been giving herself a "Tom Brady pep talk," referencing the Tamba Bay Buccaneers quarterback.
"I was like, 'You're 43, you're giving this a shot!' Everybody said (Brady's) arm was dead. Everyone said he couldn't be on a new team and win a championship, and look what happened!'" Andrews wrote. "Anything is possible, why not us?"
"The fertility clinic can sometimes be so full, it's heartbreaking, but we really aren't alone here. You never know who else is going through this," she wrote.
"Now that it's my seventh time, something just hit me. Why am I keeping this such a secret when this is just a part of our lives?" Andrews continued. "Instead of feeling ashamed, we need to give ourselves more love. It freaking sucks, because it can seem like it's such a lonely thing. There are so many of us going through this though, and it's just not talked about."
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