Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples—or 12 percent of married women—according to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. It doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, religion, sexuality, education, or economic status. Yet, while it’s more common than most people would guess, it can still be a very misunderstood and isolating experience.
That’s why movements like the National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) are so important. They’re a way to acknowledge that you’re not alone in your struggle to have a child. If we can help increase awareness of the fertility challenges many people face, we can hopefully help increase the public’s understanding, and make it easier for anyone struggling to share their experience and receive support.
At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we make it a point to thoroughly inform all our patients about the various potential reasons for infertility because we know that the media doesn’t usually portray the struggles accurately. For example, they often skew stories to focus on female issues or present age as the main cause of infertility. In reality, half of all infertile couples deal with male factor infertility, and conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can affect women at any age.
The media also tends to oversimplify the causes and solutions to infertility—this is especially true when it comes to age, stress, or diet in relation to fertility. This can be a huge problem because the causes of infertility are often very diverse, complicated, and personal. There is no overarching treatment that will guarantee a pregnancy, but when that’s all our patients ever see covered, they often end up feeling discouraged when something doesn’t work.
On the other end of the spectrum, the infertility treatments can be so exaggerated, that many couples are afraid to even try. Every journey is different. Some women are able to get pregnant after taking hormonal medication, while other couples may need to opt for a donor or surrogate. Regardless of the means, our team at AZCREI is determined to help every woman or couple who comes to see us fulfill their dreams and have a baby.
Embracing & Celebrating NIAW
One reason NIAW is so important for couples struggling with infertility is that it provides a visible community and support system. RESOLVE typically hosts a variety of activities and events throughout the week. This year, most of them will, of course, be virtual, but they still offer an opportunity to share your story with others and bring awareness to the challenges so many people experience.
Here are a few things you can do to help you feel empowered and encouraged this week:
- Look to RESOLVE for resources—they have free fertility support groups in more than 200 communities!
- Open up to your friends and family about your struggles. They may not always understand your situation, but they will likely support you in any way they’re able.
- Share your infertility story with others. There are many online sites, forums, and blogs where you can safely (and anonymously) share your experience.
- Find an online community. Again, you can find websites, blogs, and social pages dedicated to support women and couples trying to get pregnant.
- Give back. One way to feel empowered in your journey is to help others who are facing the same challenges. You can fundraise, participate in a virtual walk, or donate to groups, such as RESOLVE, who are helping support others dealing with infertility.
- Reach out to your representatives and elected officials to advocate for fertility rights (such as infertility coverage for medical insurance).
The most important thing when it comes to infertility support is understanding that you’re not alone in the ups and downs of this journey. Our team at AZCREI wants to be there for you and offer you support every step of the way. To find out more about our treatment process or to schedule a visit, contact us online or by calling (520) 326-0001.