My husband and I started our company for a number of reasons. Initially we were looking for a solution to a very real problem we were experiencing called “unexplained infertility”. After some years trying to conceive we were facing the reality that we were unable to make a baby on our own. We looked for a product we could use at home and couldn’t find one. So we tried to do the “turkey baster” method. It was comical, weird, and not as we had hoped. Shortly thereafter, with the help of a wonderful doctor, we were able to conceive through IUI.
But that wasn’t the end of our story. It was just the beginning. After many months, advice from our fertility specialist and a medical device engineer we created Mosie, the first syringe designed as an alternative to intercourse for conception. Now, here I sit with the first “Mosie Baby” in my belly due in August - our product worked after a single cycle and we recently beta launched our company. Hurray! But again, that’s not the end of our story.
Creating a product for people trying to conceive has been an incredible journey. One that continues to bring joy and new challenges. The most difficult challenge I’ve discovered is that people don’t talk about fertility issues. Everyone is covertly searching for answers on anonymous TTC (trying to conceive) forums and private posting boards.
Since starting this company, people from all walks of life, both strangers and close friends, have opened up to me and shared their stories. Stories of secret struggles and costly disappointments they’ve shouldered alone. And it often begins with, "No one really knows this but..."
I have a close friend with a new baby who spent thousands of dollars and multiple doctor visits to go through IVF. No one in her family knows that their child was conceived this way. I am one of two people who know besides their spouse.
Because very few people share their successes let alone their struggles with conception, the topic itself is often avoided at the risk of making people uncomfortable.
Just last week I tried to commission a well-known online advertising agency to promote our product, but we were rejected because the subject matter was “non-compliant”. Our product is controversial because it deals with fertility and the female body. Ironically this all happened during National Infertility Awareness Week.
While shocked, I don’t blame this company. Our “non-compliance” is a symptom of a much larger issue. No one talks about the difficulties of trying to conceive, and as long as the subject remains a social taboo nothing will change. People will continue to struggle in isolation.
So while we originally created our product as a result of our own struggle with unexplained infertility, I am more and more convinced that our company is here help create a dialogue about the stigma associated with struggling to conceive and alternative methods of conception.
It’s okay to struggle with getting pregnant. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to consider alternatives. It’s okay to try to DIY at home before seeking costly, invasive procedures. And it’s okay to let people know this. You are not alone. And until you, and me, and everyone else who’s been affected by this stigma begins to move the needle forward by sharing our stories, millions of people will continue to hide in shame when there is no reason to.
So let me start by saying, my husband I struggled to conceive with our first child for two and a half years. They were the toughest years of our marriage. They were emotional, powerful, lonely, and filled with unnecessary, isolated shame. We were lucky to get pregnant with our first child through IUI, and doubly lucky to get pregnant with our second child using our own product. Neither of my children were conceived the old-fashioned way. And I could care less. Both were conceived out of love. And isn’t that what really matters?
My heart goes out to those struggling with fertility and the sometimes long-journey of trying to conceive. I want you to know that you are not alone. And I want you to be okay talking about how your child was conceived when it is conceived. You worked hard to get pregnant and you never gave up because of a burning love deep inside you. A love that brought your bundle of joy into the world. Talk about it. It’s ok. There is someone out there who needs to hear your story.
Author: Maureen Krause Brown is co-inventor of the Mosie syringe and co-founder of Mosie LLC. She is a new found advocate for fertility awareness. She lives with her husband and 18 month old in Austin, Texas and is currently expecting her second child in August.