"Infertility completely takes over your life," said Rachel Imbar, a 41-year-old who lives in Israel and spent three years trying to get pregnant when she was in her early 20s.
"You are obsessed with having a baby and you put your entire life on hold until you get that baby," she said. "I didn't pursue a career or studies. I just wanted to have that baby. And when you are young it seems like an eternity."
Attending friends' baby showers was particularly painful. "Women touching their bellies, pregnancy announcements -- I couldn't go," said Imbar, who now runs the website, Fertility Stories. "They were too hard for me."
Infertility took a toll on her marriage, which ended in divorce. Today she has six children aged 17 to 3 -- three through IVF with her first husband and three after no intervention with her second husband.
Jessica and Barry Barkley, young professionals who have been together for 15 years, didn't pay much attention to getting pregnant – until they couldn't.
The Chester County, Pa., couple had four insemination procedures and two in vitro fertilization attempts-- all failures. They were too ashamed to talk about it with family and cut themselves off from friends who were building their own families.
"We lost a lot of friends through this," said Jessica, now 33 and a fashion designer. "I didn't want to go to baby showers and talk about it and we withdrew ourselves."