Local group supports African American women through fertility issues

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Meet Kameron and Addison, two beautiful, energetic toddlers who are getting ready to celebrate their second birthday.

They are the children Angela and Kyonn Genes once doubted they would ever have.

"It feels like when you're trying you always see someone who's pregnant. You see them in target. You see them in the grocery store. Even when I was trying to get pregnant, my two friends in church beside me were pregnant."

Angela hoped other women who are trying to get pregnant but can't can relate to her story.

She said she and her husband tried for four years before finally turning to In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF.

"A lot of African American women are ashamed to admit they have issues with infertility. 7.3 million women in the world deal with infertility and most of the times African American women we don't talk about it because we were raised to believe in God and our faith and it will just happen naturally."

Angela said often times African American women wait too late to get help.

As women age their fertility declines, making even treatments like IVF difficult to work.

At first, Kyonn was skeptical.

"I didn't know nothing about it and I just didn't want to do it, and after reading up on it and my step mother who introduced her to it. She just said 'Keep an open mind and check it out.'"

Angela said she wants other women to explore alternatives to natural conception. To do that, she's now one of the leaders of the support group Mid-South Fertility For Colored Girls.

"I wanted to share my story because I did have to do an alternative option."

The couple saved up thousands of dollars for the procedure, but Angela miscarried and the thousands they saved up for the first procedure was gone.

That's when she heard about Fertility For Colored Girls and its annual fundraiser tea and raffle in Chicago for free IVF.

"We had to ride the megabus. We were saving so we rode the bus all night to Chicago to go to the tea."

Surprisingly, the two $40 raffle tickets they bought paid off.

They won a free IVF procedure and she carried the babies to full term.

Angela said the support group allowed her to hold on to the hope she would one day be a mom.

"You hear some of the cliches, 'In God's timing' or 'Why don't you just enjoy your nieces and nephews? Maybe you're not to be a Mom.' When you're going through those are not the things you want to hear. You want to hear some encouraging words."

Angela said she wants women to know they don't have to suffer in silence.

"It hurts because you hear a lot from family so because our family don't understand and they just got pregnant. It's hard for them to accept the process. Why do you have to pay all this money? Why do you have to give yourself these shots? If God wanted you to be pregnant, it would happen naturally. But in my mind God invented medicine so it may not be he didn't want this to happen. This just may be journey for me to help someone else."

For more information on the Fertility For Colored Girls support group, click here or here.