I was recently connected with Alli Kasirer through an acquaintance (the power of community is real!). Naturally, I was thrilled to learn about her work. Alli’s start up story is similar to mine. She experienced a personal struggle on her motherhood journey and had no other option but to take action. In 2017, she brought FertileGirl to life. Alli lives in New York with her husband, Jonathan, and twin boys, Jacob and Freddy. Prior to starting FertileGirl, Alli was a Vice President at J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank. Scroll down to learn more about Alli, FertileGirl, and her advice to women on their fertility journey.
You have twin boys. What was your journey to motherhood like? My journey to pregnancy was difficult. After almost a year of trying naturally to conceive, we were diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility. We tried the less invasive treatments first like clomid and IUI. Three failed cycles later, we were moving on to IVF. The most frustrating part was that no doctor could tell us what was wrong. Even as a new mom now, my intellectual curiosity still does not accept the diagnosis of Unexplained Infertility. That frustration fueled my research into the importance of lifestyle changes as a compliment to going through IVF. Through this journey, I ultimately found a passion for health, wellness, fertility, and breaking the stigma around all the conversation. One egg retrieval and three embryo transfers later, we were pregnant with the twins (and my business baby @fertilegirl).
For a woman trying to conceive, what advice would you give her? MOTHER YOURSELF! That is our mantra. Most people know about the importance of self care and self love during pregnancy and postpartum; however, it is so important in the pre-pregnancy period as well. Also, don’t be afraid to get diagnostic testing early on. Many women think the second they step into a fertility clinic, they’ll be doing IVF (unfortunately, there are many clinics that do feel like that). However, diagnostic testing is often a simple blood test that may be covered by insurance. It can take 15-minutes, and you’ll feel much more informed.
And to a woman about to start IVF? Ugh. It’s a tough journey. There’s a physical invasiveness to IVF that is difficult; however, the emotional roller coaster often weighs on you more. Just know, you are not alone. That is why we’ve created our community at @fertilegirl, to give people a safe space to talk about fertility and connect with other women going through similar experiences.
What are the issues you came across for women experiencing infertility? The biggest issue I saw was that no one was talking to each other. For some reason (probably because it’s associated with womanhood in general), there is a lot of shame around fertility. Understandably, some people are just private, and I respect that. I’m not expecting everyone out there to go start an Instagram account like we did. However, just opening up to one family member or one friend can be so helpful in terms of support.
These issues of course led you to starting FertileGirl. How is FG the answer to some of them?
FertileGirl is helping to change the fertility conversation to be more hopeful, empowering, and rewarding. We are the only platform actively and regularly sharing other women’s fertility journeys.
A lot of the fertility content out there is inaccurate (because it stems from message boards) or strictly medical. We try and show the human side of fertility, and people are really responding to that.
There can be a lot of things said to a woman TTC that are hurtful. What is one that you wish no other woman ever had to hear? There are tons! “Just relax, it’ll happen” is one that particularly nags everyone. In general, its best to stay away from any guidance or advice on this topic. Usually what someone really needs is someone to listen.
Personally, what is the biggest challenge you are currently facing? And professionally? Personally, it’s learning to not sweat the small stuff. This has been my biggest challenge for my entire life. I take everything, down to the silliest detail, very seriously. I’m learning to let go and find beauty in the mess. I think all the twin moms, actually probably all moms, know what I’m talking about there. Professionally, my biggest challenge right now is figuring out where we go next. We originally launched as a nutrition company with a focus on consumer products. In the background, our content and community took off. Figuring out what FertileGirl 2.0 looks like is what keeps me up at night. I have to get over my FOMO, pick a direction, and go with it.
As a mother and entrepreneur, how do you practice self-care? First off, I surround myself with personal and professional help with the kids. It really does take a village. If I didn’t have my incredible husband that splits EVERYTHING 50/50, our helpful parents or a full-time babysitter during the weekdays, I don’t know if I would have as much time for an exercise class, a manicure, or a drink with a girlfriend.
If you could shout anything from the rooftop, what would you say?