Minneapolis Couple Creates Infertility Program


It’s almost like you’re living a lie, says Elyse Ash. You’re told when you’re a teenager that if you have sex you should use protection, because you can “easily” get pregnant. And then you get to the age when you want to have a baby and it just doesn’t happen. You can try for years with no success and all you get is frustrated.

No baby. No joy.

Couple Starts Infertility ProgramBut after finding out she had endometriosis, Elyse and her husband Brad learned that perhaps they’d be able to conceive with some help. But that wasn’t until after months and months of heartbreak and believing they’d never had a family. The couple eventually had a baby girl after 3 years of trying and 2 rounds of IVF, but during those years, says Elyse, they never felt more alone, especially at the lowest points.

She did find, however, that when she really needed to reach out to someone in order to maintain her sanity, it was those who had been through the same struggles that were her best means of support.

That’s why – after the baby came along – she and Brad decided to start an infertility program what would help other infertile families by matching them up with someone who’s had similar experiences. The program is called Fruitful.

Fruitful is a mentoring program that matches couples or singles with someone of similar background and values that has conquered the struggles now faced by the person or persons reaching out for help.

“These fertility warriors offered the best of both worlds: true empathy, along with perspective, shared knowledge and emotional stability,” Elyse explains on the website.

It’s a passion project for both of them and offers the encouragement individuals need and want from perfect strangers who have plenty in common with them.

“We describe it kind of like alcoholics anonymous meets tinder,” Brad Ash said. “I built the platform and matching algorithms.”

Their mission, he adds, is that no one goes through infertility alone because, with 8 percent of the population of the U.S. facing problems with conception, there’s no reason for anyone to feel like they’re the only ones struggling with this issue.

“I really thought it was starting to fade away for us after a few years. It just feels more and more hopeless,” Brad recalls as he chats about their quest for a family. Talking to someone who was “safely on the other side” during all of this would have been helpful, and those feelings were the reason the couple knew they had to start the Fruitful infertility program.

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