In our latest Insights Series, we speak with Rachel Shimanovsky, a social media influencer and mother of two, on her journey through IUI, fertility and motherhood.
1.Can you tell us a little about your journey through parenthood with Shiloh?
We decided to try IUI when we got pregnant with Shiloh and used a fertility clinic near us. We purchased donor sperm from a cryobank and we really had no idea what to expect or how many tries it would take to work. At the beginning of 2017 we did our first IUI and it actually worked! We ended up saving the rest of the donor sperm vials we had purchased for baby #2 which has been quite a journey for us (completely different from what happened with Shiloh).
2. Congratulations on baby #2! What have you learned from your first pregnancy that have influenced your mindset this time around?
I think probably the biggest thing is that each baby is unique, and that changes or milestones happen when they happen and for the most part don’t need to fit a certain timeline.
3. For those who may not know, could you explain what IUI is?
Of course, IUI stands for “Intrauterine insemination.” There are less moving parts with this process in contrast to IVF. The doctor determines whether there are follicles available and if there are, the doctor has you inject yourself with a trigger shot on a certain date so that they can time the insemination just right. You go into the doctor’s office at that scheduled time to have the sperm injected through your cervix.
4. Any advice for other women going through IUI?
Find your support people, and people who have been through IUIs as well. It’s such an incredibly powerful thing to have people around you who have gone through something similar and can relate with your experience. The 2nd time around this has been extremely important to us since it took much longer to get pregnant and there were some bumps along the way.
5. How is Shiloh responding to the prospect of being a big sister?
Shiloh is very excited and can hardly wait for her to come. She often talks to my belly and is always asking questions about her.
6. In your opinion, what are some of the challenges that still exist for LGBTQ+ parents or those about to enter the journey into parenthood?
One of the most common challenges is that physicians and physician offices and government offices/paperwork are not inclusive in their language and paperwork. Oftentimes using “father” instead of “other parent”. We would also experience this in pregnancy/birth classes. Some people are really making an effort but in general there is still a long way to go before families like ours feel truly seen and included in our communities. Knowing that the US doesn’t regulate donor usage and that your child may have several “diblings” if a sperm bank is used. Plus, needing to adopt your child if you are the non-birth parent.
7. Are there any common misconceptions that you’d like to dispel?
Maybe that for LGBTQ+ parents you do not want to assume that they refer to the donor in any particular way. We personally refer to the donor we picked as the donor and not the father.
8. What does Pride month mean to you?
It means celebrating the courage to be who you are and acknowledging the beauty of love in many forms.
Rachel Shimanovsky is a highly sought after social media influencer, part of a two-mom family in California and mother of two children, Shiloh and River. You can learn more about Rachel through her Instagram handle @bigpictureplay.
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