My name is Tia Gendusa and I am a childfree after infertility coach, mentor and advocate, as well as Principal and Co-founder of the wildly popular company, InfertileAF. I provide leadership and guidance via private and group coaching to help others find the confidence to embrace their non-mom life should that be the outcome with their infertility diagnosis. My goal is to help break down the stigmas surrounding alternative endings with Infertility.
The choice to stop treatment and move forward childfree came all at once but built up over the course of many, many tiny decisions along the way. We endured a miscarriage, multiple chemical pregnancies, massive genetic issues between the two of us and a lot of hormonal obstacles. My husband and I discussed stopping points and options along the way. While some boundaries were pushed (moving from IUI to IVF) we were adamant about others. Adoption and donor options never set well with us personally, so when we finally felt comfortable that we had exhausted all other options, we agreed it was time to move forward without children.
When we began testing in 2012, all of our results came back normal. However, when our first three Clomid cycles failed, it was recommended to us that we chat with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (fertility specialist). He recommended we move forward with our first IUI and we jumped at the chance. He suggested we pursue genetic testing, which revealed we were both carriers of MCAD, and our IUI was quickly canceled.
Our only way to eliminate any genetically abnormal embryos was to move forward with IVF stacked with PGD and PGS testing. We are lucky to live in a state that has mandated infertility coverage, and after buying my own individual insurance, we hit the ground running in 2016 with back-to-back retrievals in an attempt to “bank” embryos for testing. As if genetic abnormalities were not tough enough, we quickly learned my egg quality was extremely poor and my hormone levels were out of whack. By the end of summer 2016, we finally banked five embryos for testing and received the amazing news that we had two genetically normal embryos for transfer.
Our second of three total transfers was a success! My beta numbers held high and continued to climb. I watched, week after week, our baby boy growing right on track. It was a miracle. However, our world came crashing down when I miscarried abruptly the day after Christmas 2016, at 11 weeks and 3 days along.
Society has predisposed women to believe that we are essentially “not complete” and “not a family” until we have children of our own, which lends itself to the “never give up” mentality. Historically, the ideal family included a man, a woman, a dog, and 2.5 children. These days, the landscape of the definition of family is changing drastically, and for good reason. I don’t believe the inclusion of offspring is what sets the bar for the term family and I speak out to tear down these expectations.
Having a baby from fertility treatments doesn’t automatically guarantee a happy ever after. For a long time, I believed that end result would automatically make all the sacrifice to myself, my marriage and my career worth it, but I learned through all the failure that a baby would never be a cure-all for any sort of lingering anxiety or depression I held onto. My husband and I spent the better part of six years attempting every possible biological angle to get and STAY pregnant and, in the end, fully embrace a thriving life without children.
My platform has expanded from a personal mission to a collaborative effort in co-founding InfertileAF. Our company provides opportunities for connection, support, and empowerment through large-format speaking summits and immersive retreats. InfertileAF started as a casual conversation about a girl’s weekend, which evolved quickly into a speaking summit featuring warriors like you and me from all facets of the infertility community. Our first Chicago-based summit was created in less than 90 days and sold out all 150 seats in weeks. We are now gearing up for our second annual summit in April 2020, just outside of Chicago, and plan to host 3 times the amount of people with an expanded two-day agenda.
Simply put, InfertileAF creates empowering opportunities. We challenge our audience to show up, dig deep, and leverage their mental wellness over reproductive limitations. We collaborate to extinguish toxic comparison, encourage empathy, and eradicate demoralization by living boldly. We believe everyone can thrive beyond their diagnosis. It starts with our voices.
To attend the upcoming April 2020 Summit, be sure to check out all the details and purchase your tickets HERE!
You can follow Tia on Instagram @mstiagendusa
Book your FREE coaching session at mstiagendusa.com
Buy your ticket to the InfertileAF summit at infertileaf.org