Ronda Kaysen: If Rosemary Reed had known just how emotionally traumatic fertility treatment was going to be for her, she might have done things differently. But instead, it took her five cycles of in-vitro fertilization and one miscarriage to realize that the process was more than she could handle.
"If only I'd known that before I started, I wonder if I would have gone through it," says Reed, who lives in London and was 41 when she tried IVF. She was ultimately unable to conceive a child.
But she did conceive of an iPhone app to help other women in her situation. It's called LifeForce, and it's an interactive app for women just starting out on the long and uncertain road of fertility treatments.
For $6.99, women can get a virtual consultation with a doctor about what the fertility process will be like, and also a virtual consultation with a holistic specialist (to find out what her unconscious thinks about the whole thing).
With a detailed questionnaire that asks about things like age, previous pregnancies and medical history, the app fine-tunes its information to meet users' specific needs. And then it offers something of a virtual medical consultation with Dr. Laurence Shaw, a British fertility specialist. He breaks down the process, answering myriad questions you might (or might not) have thought to ask.
Reed insists that, by having a doctor speak to you in a prerecorded video, you can avoid a problem that often happens at the doctor's office: forgetting to ask the questions you meant to ask and never asking the ones you didn't know that you should be asking. Unlike at a real appointment, if you didn't understand something the first time around, you can always hit replay.
While Dr. Shaw handles the medical side of things, holistic specialist Jules Williams handles the spiritual side. Described as an "intuitive counselor," Williams' role on the app is to be a guide for the subconscious, helping women tap past experiences that have hindered them on their road to motherhood. He offers guidance for meditation and tips for journaling to help women (and their partners) work through whatever it is in their subconscious that might be preventing them from conceiving a baby.
"It amazes me how the subconscious controls your emotional and hormonal release," Williams tells momlogic. "That's why people go on stronger drugs, because the subconscious is trying to achieve something else."
The app is no substitute for the grueling fertility process, but if nothing else, it will offer women some insight into what they're in for.
"When one is desperate to have a child," says Reed, "you don't really want to look at all the cons. You just look at the pros." Now you can get the cons delivered straight to your iPhone.