CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A photographer with the dream of becoming a mother is raising awareness about infertility.
Inara Mackay did a photo shoot with families struggling with infertility, including her own.
Inara Mackay and her husband, Chris, hoped to have children right after getting married but after a year of trying, they struggled to get pregnant.
“They ran all the tests and told us IVF was our option to have kids,” Inara Mackay said.
In vitro fertilization is a type of assisted reproductive technology that involves combining a woman’s egg with sperm in a lab dish to create embryos. The embryos are later transferred into a woman’s uterus.
“There were some days when it was the hardest thing ever and there were some days that it was OK,” Inara Mackay said.
A year after doing IVF, they received the news they had hoped for. Their daughter Astrid was born last year.
“After all the heartache and all the waiting, it’s so fulfilling,” Chris Mackay said.
Their insurance covered most of the fertility treatment, but they still owed $20,000. Their family and their savings helped them pay for it.
“We were extremely lucky to have the situation that made her possible,” Chris Mackay said.
Inara Mackay also started doing photography back then to help cover expenses and ended up finding her passion.
“I try to make it not super forced and everyone just genuinely has a good time,” Inara Mackay said.
Her specialties are children and family photo sessions.
In April, for National Infertility Awareness Week, she decided to use her photography skills to raise awareness about infertility. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it affects 1 in 8 couples.
“I wanted to show it’s invisible, but it’s very common,” Inara Mackay said.
Families of different backgrounds and of different types participated in the photo shoot. Each family held a sign explaining what infertility meant to them.
Lindsey Roberts and her husband participated in the photo shoot. They said infertility is always hoping.
They tried to conceive for five years and experienced four miscarriages. Through embryo adoption, they had their daughter last year.
“When you see people spread awareness and you see all of these people spreading these messages of hope or just what they're feeling, you realize that you're not alone,” Roberts said.
For the Mackays, infertility means spending every dollar you have for the smallest chance.
Through the photo shoot, Inara Mackay raised $500 dollars for RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association. Each participating family had the chance to keep their photos.
Atrium Health’s Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist Dr. Ashley Eskew said infertility is when a couple is unable to conceive after a year of trying. If the woman is over 35 years of age, infertility is not being able to conceive after six months.
She said people of all walks of life and backgrounds can struggle to get pregnant.
"Infertility really affects all races, ethnicities, any sort of religious orientation and those things, and sexual orientation. There’s no one, you know, person or anyone who is removed from that,” Eskew said.
She said it's best not to delay seeing a specialist if you are having trouble getting pregnant. Treatments and support groups are available for families experiencing infertility.
For more information about infertility, click here. For more information about RESOLVE, click here.