A powerful photo showing an infant surrounded by a heart made of syringes has taught thousands about the pain, struggle and joy of in vitro fertilization.
The image was posted to Facebook Sher Institutes, a national network of fertility clinics, celebrates an infant’s birth after her mother, Angela, underwent more than a year and a half of fertility treatment cycles, ABC News reports.
“Thank you to Sher Fertility St. Louis and Dr. Dayal patient Angela, who shows the true definition of love that went into making this gorgeous new baby girl,” the caption reads.
Angela’s doctor, Dr. Molina Dayal, said the number of syringes and vials in the photograph is actually less than the full amount her patient used to conceive.
“The needles were the easy part. It was the emotional struggle, the ups and downs, that really took a toll,” Angela told ABC News. “I’m single and waited a long time for a husband to come. And then by that time it was difficult to get pregnant.”
The moving photo has been shared over 4,000 times and garnered more than 10,00 likes since it was posted on Oct. 5.
“We felt like it was a provocative, emotional photo that captures the joy and pain of IVF,” Lisa Stark, director of communications for Sher Fertility Institute, told USA Today. “We are overwhelmed by the response pouring in from women who can relate to the photo.”
Stark added that she hopes the photo will “encourage a culture of openness and elevate the dialogue around infertility.”
This dialogue is now taking place in the post’s comments section, which is filling with hundreds of photos of children successfully conceived through IVF.
“This is amazing,” one commenter wrote. “We’re currently 12 weeks 6 days pregnant with our IVF ICSI Miracle after being told we’d never have a biological Baby. Every single needle and uncomfortable procedure was worth it.”