SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, an issue impacting one out of every eight couples across the U.S. A Sioux Falls couple shares their challenging journey to parenthood and how others who’ve experienced infertility helped them along the way.
The baby blues and chubby cheeks on four-month-old Liam can charm just about anyone.
“I would look at him and be in complete awe that he was actually here and he was ours,” mom Kelsey Wildfeuer said.
But the journey to welcoming home baby Liam was a difficult one for his parents.
“There were a lot of moments where there were many tears, it is straining on a relationship too. Its something you both want so bad, you keep getting negative results, your mindset turns negative at some point,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey and Connor Wildfeuer began trying start a family shortly after their wedding in 2020, only to face heartbreak each month.
“Its every month you get your hopes up at the start of a new cycle, you tell yourself every new cycle is the start of a new opportunity to get pregnant,” Kelsey said.
Eventually they sought help from Sanford’s Fertility and Reproductive Medicine.
“Infertility has always been an issue, now have developed ways to treat it and help couples that have had a long history of infertility now so they can actually get pregnant,” OBGYN & Reproductive Endocrinologist at Sanford Dr. Keith Hansen said.
For years Dr. Hansen has helped families all over the region with a wide range of fertility treatments.
“We don’t move directly to in vitro fertilization, that’s part of the evaluation process, we try to figure out what is the best therapy for this couple, is it medications…or surgery?” Hansen said.
Medication is how the Wildfeuers started their infertility journey, but they eventually turned to in vitro to make their dream a reality.
“Its hard for me to look back and think you were just a little embryo that was grown in a lab, this is what my body was able to create with the help of science,” Kelsey said.
While the journey may be challenging, support from the community and others who’ve experienced infertility is essential.
“I didn’t know much about infertility when we got started, I think its the best thing to share people’s story and have people learn from it that way,” Connor Wildfeuer said.
“The overwhelming support we’ve gotten and finding other people who have been through the exact something we went through is probably the most healing for me,” Kelsey said.
The Wildfeuers say infertility awareness and loss go hand in hand, as many people walking through infertility have experienced miscarriages or still births throughout their journey. And while their story ended with a happy outcome, it’s unfortunately not something everyone who seeks treatment is able to experience.