In the 1980’s, Lisa Rosenthal found herself blindsided: she was having trouble getting pregnant. Throughout her six-year struggle to conceive, she was amazed by misconceptions about fertility and how reluctant and ashamed women were to share their stories – even with their mothers and friends.
Seeking meaning from her fertility challenge and unsatisfied with the information available, Lisa began volunteering with RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association. She lent her help with hands-on roles such as the telephone support helpline, leading peer support groups, and organizing fundraising efforts. Her impact on the association grew as she took on new positions, including Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director. Volunteering led to a career change, as well as the support Lisa needed.
In 1999, Lisa was part of the team that founded The American Infertility Association, a nationwide patient advocacy, support and educational non-profit organization. The association later changed its name to The American Fertility Association, making a conscious decision to emphasize the positive side of the discussion. It created many new programs and educational venues for men and women to become more educated and empowered and a whole new way of discussing infertility. Her involvement in The American Fertility Association included starting a quarterly magazine that aimed to educate women about infertility, organizing patient conferences for nearly 1,000 people, major fundraising and serving as Assistant Executive Director. Twenty-five years later she continues to encourage women to share their experience and speak up about their fertility challenges.
Working with Reproductive Medical Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communication gives Lisa an opportunity to continue to educate patients, doctors and the general public about infertility and the impact and availability of responsible fertility treatment.
Currently Lisa channels her passion for fertility education and the importance of women breaking infertility stigmas by creating and teaching Fertile Yoga, a program and class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women’s sense of self. “Yoga is affirmative. My students are reconnecting with their bodies – even when they are angry with themselves, even when they are wishing they could disconnect. I work with students to heal and forgive their bodies. After all, infertility is not a label we need to use to define our identities,” says Lisa, who is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200). Fertile Yoga is offered by RMACT, free of charge, to the general public. Fertile Yoga is a restorative style class; gentle movement, guided meditation; positive affirmations, relaxation and breathing techniques are all offered as ways to make the journey towards fertility as supportive as possible.
Writing the blog, PathtoFertility, Lisa’s objective is to further women’s and men’s understanding of their fertility challenges and to provide a compassionate forum for telling and hearing experiences. Ultimately, her hope is that readers will feel supported as they move along their personal paths of fertility. Sometimes, simply knowing that one is not alone nor the first person to have experienced these challenges can relieve stress and provide a sense of comfort.