UHV student wants to help couples with infertility issues

Tai Jackson, a University of Houston-Victoria psychology major, knows what a miracle feels like.

After a year of trying to have a child with husband Eric, doctors told her in 2004 she would never conceive naturally. Tai was able to get pregnant in 2007 through in vitro fertilization, and the Eric and Tai are now parents to 2-year-old Kale. But the diagnosis Tai received six years ago gave her a new goal: to help other couples coping with infertility and to raise awareness about the condition.

“A lot of women don’t know it’s not the end when your doctor officially diagnoses you as infertile,” she said. “Many women would hear that and give up, not knowing they have options. That’s why I want to get the message out there but also because I was surprised when I got my diagnosis how little information was available to women going through this.”

Tai said many people don’t understand the impact infertility can have on a family. As a result, those with the condition often don’t receive much support.

“It’s difficult for people who aren’t dealing with infertility to understand the pain and the struggle,” she said. “They think it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life, but it does.”

Tai wants to help other families coping with infertility by starting a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women get the information they need. A resident of McKinney, Tai was able to conceive with the assistance of an in vitro fertilization expert in Plano but said there are so many other options women should know about.

“It’s not just the different procedures,” she said. “You need to know what fertility drugs are available, where you can get them and the side effects. Most doctors will have you try those for months and months before you get to more complicated procedures like in vitro.”

She also said families need to be aware of the financial options available.

“You need to know how to find your doctor’s success rate compared to the national average before you give him $15,000,” Tai said. “By the time we tried in vitro, we had tried several other procedures with lower success rates. There was no one to tell me I was going to spend the same amount on several of these less-effective procedures as I would have with one in vitro procedure. The information just isn’t out there.”

Tai wants other families to know the joy she has experienced. Motherhood is infinitely better than she thought it could be, she said.

“The more people I tell about my infertility, the more people I meet dealing with this,” she said. “People come up to me all the time and say my sister or my friend is going through that. There are so many people trying to cope with this.”

Tai will graduate in 2011 and has big plans for the future. She hopes to have her nonprofit organization operational, teach middle school science and be pregnant with her second child.

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler  or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.