By: Isabella Brown
A personal struggle and desire to spread awareness about infertility inspired Ali to start her podcast. In 2009, Ali had her daughter Ever. She got pregnant with her daughter quickly and naturally. Three years later, when she was 38, Ali and her husband began trying for another baby. She got pregnant soon after, yet this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Ali began to realize her chances of getting and staying pregnant had declined significantly due to her age. “I didn’t know much about my own body, admittedly,” Ali said when reflecting on the start of her fertility journey. Over the next four years, Ali had four miscarriages. Doctors told her this was likely caused by an “egg quality problem” due to her age. “I wasn’t having trouble getting pregnant, I was having trouble staying pregnant,” she said. “It was devastating.”
Ali thought about getting pregnant constantly.
Ali wanted to get pregnant with her second child more than anything in the world. The desire was all-consuming. She tried anything she could to boost her chances of pregnancy. She exercised frequently, tried acupuncture, consumed certain herbs, teas, supplements, and foods. She visited many specialists, and searched online for resources and information. She did a few IUI cycles that ended up being unsuccessful. This journey took a toll on Ali emotionally. She speaks honestly about her infertility depression, which hurt her mental health as well as her marriage. Ali wanted to move forward with IVF, but her husband initially did not. He expressed that he didn’t see the need for them to do IVF, because he was happy with their daughter and with being a family of three. To this, Ali said, “I was super happy with my daughter, but I was coming from a feeling that our family wasn’t complete”. It wasn’t that she was dissatisfied with raising her daughter, it was that she wanted to grow her family and provide love and support for another child. This conflict caused fighting in Ali’s marriage, which sometimes left her questioning if she and her husband’s relationship would survive this hard time. Finally, the couple agreed that they would try IVF one time.
With only one shot at IVF, Ali felt nervous, but ready to take a chance. Initially, Ali had 26 eggs retrieved. Of these, she ended up with five embryos, and after doing genetic testing, they found out that only one embryo was healthy. The doctors gave Ali a low percentage that the cycle would work. This was hard on Ali, who had been striving to get pregnant for four years. “We had one embryo, and this was our one cycle we were going to do,” she explained. These odds were stressful, but Ali tried her best to stay calm and hope for the best. When Ali returned to the clinic to take a pregnancy test about ten days later, she discovered she was pregnant. Ali was overcome by the shock and joy that came with this news. “It was like out of a movie,” she said, “I dropped my phone, my jaw hit the floor, I burst into tears”. Against all odds, her IVF cycle had been successful. Ali still remembers the doctor telling her, “Call us when you deliver,” which filled her heart with gratitude, excitement, and disbelief. In 2015, Ali gave birth to her son, Sonny. After a long and tumultuous journey to pregnancy, Ali finally accomplished what she had been dreaming of. She felt inspired by her journey to tell her story and support other women going through similar obstacles.
Ali recalls trying to find support on her fertility journey through online groups, books, and other outlets. She admits that none of the resources she found were particularly helpful. She remembers going to the bookstore, trying to find something on infertility. The section on infertility was tiny, and the books she found weren’t especially relatable or helpful. In short, Ali felt isolated in her journey. “I wish that I knew there were so many people going through the same thing that I was,'' she said. Yet where were their voices? Ali felt there was a gap in the support for infertility. She wanted to give their stories their own space. These feelings inspired Ali to start her podcast, InfertileAF. Her goal was to show others going through infertility that they were not the only ones struggling with infertility. “I set out with the intention that if I could only help a handful of people feel less alone, I would have accomplished my immediate goal,'' Ali said. The success of her podcast, and the amount of people Ali has been able to help, has been beyond what she imagined. Ali gets messages and comments about how helpful her podcast is for those facing obstacles in their fertility. She provides an honest, relatable outlet for those looking for support on their fertility journeys. Ali is thankful for the community she has found through the podcast, and is looking forward to building it even more.
Ali began interviewing women and men about their fertility stories, and realized not only how many people out there have similar fertility experiences, but how many different paths people take to have (or not have) children.
Through hosting her podcast, Ali has learned that there are so many potential obstacles on the road to parenthood. Yet what amazes her the most is the strength of the people she interviews, and the tenacity of those who are facing these hardships. “Women in particular are so strong,” she said while explaining the support she has found in the infertility community. Ali’s podcast is a judgement-free space in which people can speak about fertility freely. She wants to spread awareness and acceptance of infertility. “There’s no shame in [infertility]. You’re not broken, you’re not a bad person.” She uses the example that, if you needed eyeglasses you would go to the eye doctor with no shame. Why is seeking help for infertility any different? Ali believes no one should be ashamed of their fertility obstacles. By openly sharing stories, Ali hopes to end the stigmas surrounding infertility and show all the different paths people take. “Giving these people a voice and sharing their stories, there’s a lot of power in that,” she believes. Ali’s podcast is a platform where people can hear unfiltered personal experiences. It is funny, heartbreaking, inspiring and educating.
Ali Prato has always loved telling stories. As a journalist in the magazine and fashion industries, she has written celebrity profiles and entertainment features for more than two decades. She has also worked on digital copywriting for a number of brands and websites, giving them voice and character. Ali enjoys talking to people, getting to know them, and learning about their lives. She loves to write, especially about the people she meets. This passion for storytelling led Ali to start her podcast in March of 2019. Infertile AF provides raw, honest, and candid narratives of infertility. Ali interviews women and men about their journeys through infertility, allowing them to share their stories.
Podcast: Infertile AF