By Trystan Reese, Director of Family Formation
One of our great gifts at Family Equality is the opportunities we get to partner creatively with genius storytellers. In 2018, we got an email from Anna Almendrala, who, at the time, was a writer for HuffPost. She let us know that she and her husband were the hosts of a podcast called IVFML (“IVF” referring to In Vitro Fertilization, and “FML” referring to the common exasperated phrase, “F*** My Life,”… get it?). Season one of the podcast was focused on their own infertility journey, walking listeners through their infertility diagnosis and, eventually their successful IVF procedure. Season two would be focused on other kinds of fertility journeys—and they wanted to talk to us about including LGBTQ+ fertility stories. We jumped at the chance to partner with them and got to work.
Because this podcast story would be in the realm of family formation, I offered to work with them directly (with input from the rest of our amazing programs and communications teams, obviously!). So I scheduled a call with Anna, and binge-listened IVFML, which quickly became my favorite podcast (an impressive feat because I love podcasts). Anna and her husband were authentic, funny, and charming. I was stoked to be working with them to include Family Equality’s stories on their sweet podcast!
In no time, Anna got me into a recording studio to share my own trans fertility story on the podcast, along with information about the research we’ve done on LGBTQ+ family-building. She also wanted to include other personal narratives on the LGBTQ+ episode, so the Family Equality team worked our personal and professional networks until we found a different trans family story—that of Shea and Sienna Gilliam. Part of our mission at Family Equality is equity: We want to include as many diverse family journeys in our media partnerships as possible, so it was really important to us that we included at least two different stories.
We recorded our interviews and waited. Several weeks later, our episode (“We’re Both Going To Be Moms”) was edited and released! The final version was beautifully made—the personal stories were showcased well, the numbers and data were clear and made sense, and (perhaps most importantly) Anna and her husband listened to our tips and tricks for telling trans stories well. They used all the right language and explained anything complicated to their viewers in an easy-to-understand way. We were thrilled with the partnership. And it’s not just us— IVFML’s “We’re Both Going To Be Moms” won The Excellence in Podcasts Award from the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists, too.
Based on our conversations, Anna also wrote an article for HuffPost on the interplay of gender transition and fertility. Turns out, you never know when one partnership may open up other opportunities for education, research, and exploration.
Long story short: If you want a casual, informative, and fun way to learn more about transgender fertility and parenting, check out Family Equality’s award-winning podcast episode, IVFML today!