If you saw Aprill Fasino Lane’s family, you would think she was blessed with an easy path to parenthood. She has 5 beautiful children under the age of 6.
What you wouldn’t know is that Aprill was diagnosed with unexplained infertility shortly after she and her husband starting trying to conceive, and it took her and her husband almost a decade to create their picture perfect family.
Aprill is passionate about advocating on behalf of others with the disease of infertility, and helping people access grants, through her AGC Scholarship Fund, to help cover costs incurred from everything from fertility treatments to surrogacy and adoption.
Here’s more about Aprill’s family story:
What’s your fertility/infertility and family story, in a nutshell?
It took us 9.5 years to build our family. We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility shortly after we got married. We underwent 3 IUI, 10 IVF, had 5 losses and navigated our way through the adoption process. We went from facing life without children to having 5 children in 4 years – via adoption, IVF and one, HOLY SMOKES spontaneous natural pregnancy.When and why did you start your blog?
Early on in our struggles to build a family, I found that I didn’t have anyone that truly understood what I was going through. When I opened up about our struggles, I received so much unsolicited advice and I didn’t know how to handle it. At the time, I wasn’t comfortable with my disease of infertility, which in turn, made me uncomfortable to stand up for myself. My blog, which I published in 2010, was my way of verbalizing what I couldn’t express in person. It was therapeutic for me to be able to post about comments that were hurtful and real life moments that left me in tears. And, it was my way to build a community of support for me and for others.
When was AGC Scholarship created and how do you serve people on this infertility journey? (What does AGC stand for?)
Shortly after we started trying for a baby and before I started my blog, I went online to find a chat room (I know, I’m totally dating myself here) for people going through fertility treatments. In those forums, I met a core group of women known only by screen names. (I was SOMAR – a mixture of letters from my two child-hood best friends.) The forums were set up based on your current treatment plan: 1st IVF, 2nd IVF, IVF with PGD, etc. I found myself moving from one group, to the next, all without success BUT with that same group of women. Finally, when we were all in the forum labeled, “5th, 6th, 7th IVF”, we decided that it was time to get out. Emotionally we couldn’t continue being the last people standing. So, we exchanged emails and started supporting each other privately. When email got to be too big, we moved to a private Facebook group. The local women in the group would meet up once every few months for dinner.
I wish people knew infertility is a disease. A disease. I heard many comments diminishing my disease like, “It’s not like you have cancer. Just relax. You’re over thinking it. Have you considered a vacation?”
One night, while we were at dinner, a woman walked by with her kids. She was yelling at them, pushing them around and while she was walking past us, she pulled one by the ponytail and said, “Keep moving you little shit.” Here we were, fighting our tail feathers off to build our families. Many of us had suffered multiple losses and NONE of us had had a live birth. We were a couple of glasses of wine in and our emotions were raw. We started making comments about how unfair infertility was and how ungrateful some people can be. In the moment, we were angry. We were angry with our bodies. We were angry with our diagnosis. We were angry with our journey. I said, “We are like an Angry Girl’s Club.”
From then on, we started calling each other the AGC. That FB support group now has around 190 members in it.
It was through that group, that I heard stories of couples and individuals selling cars, homes, pawning jewelry and taking out loans from family and friends — all for just a chance to treat their medical condition. My husband and I are lucky to live in a state with good (but with loopholes) fertility coverage mandates. We had two insurance plans covering us and we still spent over $80,000 out of pocket. Although it drained us financially, I felt lucky to live in a state that supported our family building.
In 2010, before the birth of our son, I started AGC to give back to the community that was supporting me – it was my baby before babies. Although AGC Scholarship Foundation is a separate entity from the support group, AGC the support group is the motivation behind the mission.
We awarded our first scholarship in late 2013. Since then, we have awarded 36 scholarships totaling over a quarter million dollars. We have had 21 babies born via adoption, IVF, surrogacy, donor cycles and FET. We have 11 babies due this year and many more cycles on the books. We have witnessed the change from feeling hopeless to being full of hope. It’s pretty freaking amazing.
What do you wish people knew about infertility?
Infertility is a disease. A disease. I heard many comments diminishing my disease like, “It’s not like you have cancer. Just relax. You’re over thinking it. Have you considered a vacation?”
I wish people would respect it like they respect other diseases. Every disease needs advocacy to fight on its behalf.
I will continue to fight for our community for as long as I have a voice to use; but since we are talking about wishes…that would be my one. (That people recognized it as a disease.)
Now, looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were near the start of your family-building journey?
I knew that I would be a mom. We were willing to do whatever possible to build our family. When the possible ran out, we were willing to do the impossible. I am a fighter. I always have been. But, even fighters lose hope. Every let down and every disappointment, I found myself questioning if we were meant to be parents. Early on, I became depressed. Infertility traumatized me.
We were willing to do whatever possible to build our family. When the possible ran out, we were willing to do the impossible.
Even now, 5 kids later, I have serious PTSD from what we went through. If I could go back, to the very beginning, I would tell myself that no matter how deep the grief; no matter how broken you become; remember that this does not define you. This is not Aprill Lane. This is the story of how Aprill Lane took impossible and made it possible. (I say that now; however, I probably would have punched that Aprill Lane in the face for saying that.)
Listen to stories, share your own, and get feedback from the community.