Thankful for the 5th night of Hanukkah 

All women – and men – should be educated and informed to decide what they wish to do about their fertility

A year ago tonight, on the 5th night of Hanukkah, my life changed for the better.  I have written and rewritten this article to express my gratitude for this past year, and I hope I did it justice. 

I was sitting on my couch, post-candle lighting, scrolling through Facebook when I came across a post by my childhood friend Shelley. I didn’t know it then, but her article about her egg-freezing journey would change my life. 

I can hardly grasp that it’s been a year since I started my fertility trek. Yes, fertility trek. Some call it a fertility journey – but journeys are smooth, more or less. Fertility treatments are like climbing Mount Everest with no shoes or water. 

When I first began this trek 50 weeks ago, I started recording myself as a daily diary always to go back and remember how far I’ve come. At first, it was theoretical if I would go through with it. Once I decided I was all in — the trek began. 

Doctor appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds, finding the right hospital — took up more time than I expected, but because I was furloughed then, I had the time. 

I felt very much alone. I felt like no one understood what I was going through. I needed support. I knew if I was feeling this way that others were too. So, I created a Facebook group: Fertility Support Community: Israel – which now has over 450 members. 

Every woman in the group has her own story – egg freezing, pregnancy loss, fertility treatments, etc. Although we are all different – we all have empathy towards each other. What I most want for people to understand is that fertility is not a single person or married issue– your relationship status and age, for that matter, are irrelevant. All women – and men – should be educated and informed to decide what they wish to do about their fertility.

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by i24 news about my trek. At first, I was hesitant to be part of the segment because sharing on social media and sharing on TV are different ball games, but I am thrilled I did because it helped get the word out there. 

Two months ago, I had my first egg retrieval. After a week of injections, blood tests, ultrasounds, and a lot of tears, I had finally made it. The night before my retrieval, I went to the Mikveh (following Shelley’s unique initiative), and as cliché as this may sound, I felt pure — I felt ready for the procedure. Next week, I’ll be doing a second round, and I know it will not be easy, but I am prepared because I’ve learned that I am stronger than I ever knew. 

A year ago today, I took charge of my fertility, and I am not at all ashamed of it. My wish on this 5th night of Chanukkah is that YOU reading this know that you’re not alone. 

Tonight I am grateful for the 5th night of Chanukkah and to all the Wonder Women who I’ve met on this trek. 

About the Author
Gila is an Executive Assistant at BrainQ Technologies. She made Aliyah in 2004 and currently lives in Jerusalem. She is passionate about empowering women about fertility and fertility preservation, volunteering with Holocaust survivors, and Jerusalem. She created a Facebook community for English speaking women called: Fertility Support Community: Israel
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