Infertility & Friday the 13th- The Upside
Friday the 13th is a date that stands in the shadows- often equated with bad luck. Is that true for fertility treatment too?
If you’re in the middle of a fertility treatment cycle, would you be ok scheduling an FET (frozen embryo transfer) for that day? Or what if your patient navigator calls and tells you that your egg retrieval will be on Friday the 13th?
If your reaction is one of mild reluctance, you are not alone. If your reaction more closely resembles a panic attack, you are still not alone. And if your response is outright defiance for the suggested scheduling, you are still NOT alone. Friday the 13th superstitions are enough of a thing that there’s even a term for the fear of 13- Triskaidekaphobia.
Friday the 13th Today
There are some iconic ways that exist today that bow to the superstitions around Friday the 13th. Buildings that don’t have a 13th floor. Interior Designers that routinely skip 13 in their table count and go from 12 to 14. Restaurateurs that don’t seat 13 at a table because if they do, there is an old belief that one diner will be dead within a year. Many of us avoid traveling on that day. (Fun fact- Friday the 13th will often be among some of the cheapest days of the year to fly!) We’re not all that thrilled when the date approaches and often avoid doing anything that even has a hint of risk that day.
Where Did This Superstition Originate?
A few keys that unravel the connections to the number 13.
- The Last Supper, where Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas, (who was the 13th man at the table). It’s also believed that Jesus was crucified on the 13th.
- Famous Norse legend tells of 12 gods invited to a dinner in Valhalla. Loki, the spirit of strife and mystery, arrived, uninvited and as the 13th guest. This resulted in Balder, a particular favorite of the gods, being killed.
- On October 13, a Friday in 1307, there was the downfall of the Templars, a large group of Knights who had accumulated vast wealth and property. The beginning of their end was primarily engineered by King Philip IV of France.
- The Code of Hammurabi, which is one of the oldest legal documents in the world, dating back to 1792, had 282 rules. No rule 13. There is no definitive reason for this, it may have been inadvertent. But, given that this was a legal document- that’s a little hard to believe, isn’t it?
- The ancient Sumerians saw the number 12 as a perfect number and therefore declared that the following number, 13, was far less than perfect.
- In the more modern times? Jason. Friday the 13th. Nothing more really needs to be said.
We all know that the awareness, and sometimes dread of this date, has long surpassed the not so humble beginnings of the morbid fascination with this date.
Some chose to fight back!
- By the 19th century, there was a club formed, in New York City (followed by many major cities all over the world), called The Thirteen Club, that eventually included 5 presidents, openly mocking and discouraging the fear and adaptations used for the 13th numeral. Their First meeting was on Wednesday, September 13, 1881. They met every month, on the 13th day.
Flipping 13 to Good Luck
- The first dinosaur eggs were discovered in Mongolia on July 13, 1923. Yes, a Friday.
- Exciting news for gender and race equality! On Friday, October 13, 1967, President Lyndon Johnson signed an Executive Order further protecting employment opportunities for persons based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin.
- In 2004, the Summer Olympics opened in Athens Greece on August 13, a Friday. Michael Phelps won his first gold medal!
- IVF is working. In fact, across the country, people struggling with infertility are more likely to get pregnant than those trying on their own. Check out your local or national pregnancy rates with SART.
This good news list could go on and on. Like it could for any other day. Some Friday the 13ths delivered wonderful news and others, devastating news.
Two personal fun RMACT facts to note- one RMACT team member’s son was born on a Friday the 13th over a decade ago and is turning 13 today. And one RMACT team member will be celebrating her birthday today as well.
Back to fertility treatment- if you HAVE to have a fertility treatment test or procedure done on this Friday the 13th, review all the good news that was delivered on that superstitious date. Let it all sink in (the Olsen twins were born on a Friday the 13th too!)
If you can put it off and know that you will feel like the weight of the world is lifted off your shoulders, then by all means, do so.
Create Your Own Good Luck
Strength, determination and resilience don’t depend on luck, good or bad. If you’re dreading this Friday, make your own luck! How?
- Create an affirmation- here are some suggestions:
- Today is a great day
- I’m grateful for living today in my life
- I surround myself with possibility
- I am full of optimism
- I see myself as whole and complete
- Choose the most upbeat friend that you know and make a date to speak with them first thing in the morning.
- Plan an afterwork evening that includes watching fireflies or stars.
- Decide what your “lucky” color is for the day. Wear it!
- Become an honorary member of the 13 Club and reclaim the date.
Friday the 13th, we are ready for you. Bring it on!
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.