For my final project, I want to start a conversation for the in vitro fertilization community. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and physical discomfort when a person or couple begins their IVF journey. The first steps is how do I choose a doctor or practice and how are we going to pay for this? Then, there is the anxiety and stress that comes from the actual procedure of countless injections in the stomach, buttocks and arms for over 10 days with cocktails of hormones and endless blood tests for monitoring appointments. Once the shots and surgery step is over, the waiting game begins for the results and whether or not to go to the next steps. And if it ends in a negative or failed response, it becomes an outpouring of sadness, anger, envy, depression and even self-blame with the eventual decision to make on whether or not to start the whole arduous process over again or take the difficult steps to stop and look for other options to have a baby, like adoption or donor sperm/eggs or to make that painful decision to choose a childless path. I want to figure out a way to create an interactive experience to give people an outlet to exchange advice and talk (or scream and cry). It’s sometimes hard to talk to your partner, or family and friends who have never gone through this because they might not understand what you are going through and sometimes they say the wrong things in the efforts to make you feel better, but it makes you feel worse. Being able to connect the IVF community can put people in touch with others that have or will go through that process. Since the community is spread out, I see this design as something that is web or mobile based or even in a game-like medium. Having seen some Facebook groups and message boards for these communities, I find it hard to sift through all the comments to find something in particular that you are looking for. Because of this, I envision a visual mental map of a person going through the IVF process with the terrain of the actual IVF procedure. In this map, a user can immediately go to the spot on the map that they’re on in the IVF process and be able to to engage immediately with people that are in the same stage of the procedure. And as I try to think this through to the end of the journey, I have the images of lanterns being released into the night sky as a symbolic way to cast away one’s grief and ill-fortunes, like in the Thai tradition of Loy Krathon to help in the grieving process.
ROUGH SKETCH FOR THE END OF JOURNEY: