because infertility sucks.
We're committed to making infertility suck less.
Fruitful is a free fertility mentorship program that connects those struggling with infertility with those who've been through it firsthand. Because no one should have to go through this crap on their own.
The story of Fruitful
How it started
When Elyse Ash started trying to conceive with her husband Brad in 2014, she thought it'd be easy...kind of like going to get frozen yogurt. You decided you wanted something, then went out and got it. Little did she know that years of waiting and an endometriosis diagnosis were in her future.
Torture for control freaks
Infertility was absolute torture for a natural-born control freak like Elyse. She quickly noticed that the only people who really understood the emotional turmoil she was going through were others also struggling to conceive. But talking in support groups was intimidating...and Instagram’s #TTC community didn’t have the one-to-one connection she craved.
Finding fellow fertility warriors
Elyse eventually learned that the best people to talk to about infertility were those who had been through the struggle firsthand but were now safely on the other side. These fertility warriors offered the best of both worlds: true empathy, along with perspective, shared knowledge and emotional stability.
That's when Elyse had the idea for Fruitful — a free fertility mentorship program that would match women beginning their fertility journeys with those who've been there and injected that. The idea was exciting because it would give women in need of emotional support a safe place to vent about baby showers, while giving individuals who've already conquered infertility the chance to give back. Everybody wins!
Fruitful is a movement dedicated to connecting people experiencing infertility with the mentors, resources and support they need to make emotionally healthy decisions. Fruitful exists to encourage, inspire and support those struggling with the emotional fallout of infertility.
We believe in...
Infertility isn't shameful and sharing your story matters.
We strive to always lead with empathy for those trying to conceive.
We exist because no one should have to go through infertility alone.
Our Advisory Board
CEO of Fruitful
Elyse is the CEO and founder of Fruitful. Before Fruitful, Elyse spent 10 years working as a copywriter and digital marketing strategist in advertising, helping write everything from TV commercials to billboards for a variety of brands and target markets. Elyse has won multiple advertising awards including ADDYs, an Effie, and was recognized as one of AdFed’s “32 Under 32.” After struggling with infertility herself, Elyse is passionate about helping others. She also loves hockey, Beyonce, social justice, and pretending she’s into yoga.
CTO of Fruitful
Brad is a software developer with a background in design and digital marketing. He has worked for the past 18 years in financial services and publishing to build both client-facing applications and infrastructure support systems. Brad has a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York which wasn't quite cold enough, so he moved to Minnesota with his wife in 2010. Brad is the co-founder of Fruitful and loves working alongside his wife, Elyse, to help others deal with the struggle of facing infertility alone.
M.D., Reproductive Endocrinologist
Dr. Fechner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and is Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Hackensack University Medical Center. In addition to infertility treatment and management of recurrent pregnancy loss, he specializes in minimally invasive surgery to correct problems associated with infertility, menstrual disorders and pelvic pain. He was trained to operate with the da Vinci surgical robot and is currently offering robotic surgery to appropriate patients for the treatment of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions and ovarian cysts.
Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Debbie Fischer, M.A., L.A.M.F.T., works with couples and individuals who are seeking therapeutic support while on their reproductive journey. A bereaved mom, who endured the roller coaster of infertility, she is empathetic to the needs of those who are faced with reproductive health challenges. Debbie specializes in reproductive complications including infertility, pregnancy loss and alternative family building with donors and surrogates.
By day, Sarah is a strategist at Zeus Jones, a small marketing consultancy in Minneapolis. By night, she is a new mom to a human (Leo), dog (Mika), and wife to Erik. In between it all, she loves cooking, home renovation projects and running slowly through her neighborhood. Sarah and Erik started their journey to expand their family in 2015, naively thinking they would become pregnant within a month or two. Three years later, Leo is showing them the wait was totally worth it.
Digital Marketer + Brand Strategist
Craig has spent his career driving digital innovation for brands such as Cheerios, Land O'Lakes, Caribou Coffee, Boston Scientific, Mayo Clinic, Johnson & Johnson, Laureate International Universities and more. All of this has been made possible by working for great companies like General Mills, Colle+McVoy, GoKart Labs and Ovative/group. Craig received his B.A. from Gustavus and a M.B.A. from St. Thomas. To continue his pursuit in education, he teaches at the University of Minnesota in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He's also the Vice President of the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. Craig lives in Saint Louis Park with his wife Kristin, two amazing kiddos and one spunky 11-year old Wheaten Terrier.
Ph.D. in Family Social Science + Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. Deborah Simmons has provided counseling for infertility-related trauma and pregnancy loss since 1997. She offers clinical hypnosis, EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, couples therapy, and energy work. She prepares straight and gay couples and single women and men who wish to pursue IUIs, IVF, donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, and surrogacy. She prepares gestational carriers for surrogate pregnancy. Dr. Simmons is affiliated with the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Minneapolis where she screens potential egg donors. She is also working in the area of fertility preservation with women who have been diagnosed with cancer and with transgender men and women who wish to be parents. She is an active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Resolve.
Sally St. John
Holistic Health Professional
As the director of the George Wellbeing Center at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, Sally St. John is dedicated to bringing self-care practices and holistic healing modalities to all. She is passionate about serving the people who need it most and engaging with healthcare systems in efforts to move dominant healing philosophies towards a more holistic worldview; a worldview that supports all dimensions of the human experience, mind-body-spirit and community. Working in the complementary medicine field for almost a decade, she views her work as the future of medicine––lifestyle medicine. She holds a master of arts in holistic health, certifications in functional medicine, positive psychology, energy healing, and integrative nutrition, and a bachelors of science in urban education.