A photo that depicts the struggle, pain, and (hopefully) eventual joy of IVF treatments has gone viral on social media thanks to a nationwide fertility clinic. The picture posted Oct. 5 on the Sher Institutes Facebook page shows a baby girl lying on a white backdrop, in the middle of a heart made out of syringes and vials—just some of the implements that helped her mom, Angela, conceive her during a year and a half of IVF treatments, 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," reads the caption with the picture, which has already nabbed nearly 10,000 likes and 4,000 shares as of this writing. "We are overwhelmed by the response pouring in from women who can relate to the photo," Sher spokeswoman Lisa Stark tells USA Today, adding to ABC, "We have never seen a photo create such a stir in the infertility world."
Although the baby at the center of the heart is the result of a successful IVF treatment, the picture is meant to capture all the emotions of women with fertility issues. "We felt like it was a provocative, emotional photo that captures the joy and pain of IVF," Stark, who's gone through IVF four times herself, tells ABC. Indeed, IVF can be "exhausting" and "painful," notes Fox 29, with multiple hormone and drug injections each day, as well as blood tests and the removal of the eggs. Not everyone's moved: USA Today notes some commenters wonder how safe it was to photograph the baby surrounded by needles, while others call IVF "pointless" and bring up adoption instead. But those who've been through the process disagree. "Didn't even tell my husband what this was," one Facebook commenter, now the mom of twin boys, writes. "I just handed him my phone. I saw tears form in his eyes as he probably also went through the memories of countless nights, over our four year journey."