Why Has Infertility Been Such a Source of Stigma for Females?

The Stigma of Infertility 

Infertility can carry many feelings, including frustration, fear, and isolation due to the social stigma surrounding it. This experience may feel incredibly lonely as it is often an arduous, confusing, and expensive process to identify the root cause of one’s infertility – let alone begin to treat the problem. 

It can feel as if you are entirely alone in dealing with this grief and frustration; however, according to the World Health Organization, there are one hundred and eighty-six million individuals living with the ongoing effects of infertility.

In heterosexual couples trying to get pregnant, both partners may experience infertility stigma. Even amongst more progressive circles, infertility may be discussed as being one or the other partner’s “fault” without much thought given to the word’s connotation. Though males often experience stigma relating to infertility, this article seeks to understand why, on average, females experiencing infertility have often experienced a greater sense of stigma than their male counterparts. PubMed estimates that infertility affects roughly ten percent of the global population of females. 

The Root of the Stigma

Historically conservative societies, especially those with laws preventing females from having any political standing or property outside their connections to male family members, have been fading out of more progressive regions of the western world. However, the evolutionary baggage still exists in many cultures around the globe today, including the too-often misogynistic system in the United States.

A female’s societal status has historically been tied to their ability to produce viable heirs to inherit property and maintain their family’s social status for generations. Dating back centuries to the Bible is the figure of Sarah, who is often remembered as a “barren” wife, unable to provide a family for her husband Abraham until the age of 90. Although religion takes a less prominent role in many Americans today, and religious text is interpreted far less literally than in centuries past, religious ideology is at the root of many American values. With that often comes the association of females with family.

For example, a large faction of females in the United States primarily associate their purpose with being a mother to their children and a wife to their spouse – as opposed to their individual characteristics or interests. Even Hilary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, has the following Instagram bio: 

“Doting grandmother, among other things.” Young females often grow up in the United States with role models who consistently define themselves with others instead of by their passions and careers.

Quips about biological clocks ticking and terms like “spinster” carry far more shame than the equivalent “bachelor” used for male counterparts. As male infertility is not as broadly associated with age, men are not shamed in the same way that females may be for causing their infertility issues by not settling down soon enough or not being a desirable enough partner to find the right match. It is no wonder that there is so much social stigma placed on females unable to produce a family.

The Stigma of Miscarriage 

In addition to females experiencing infertility in the form of an inability to get pregnant, millions of females globally hold the grief and loss of their pregnancies that terminated in a miscarriage.  Healthline estimates that ten to fifteen percent of pregnancies result in a miscarriage. 

Those who have not experienced a loss like this can often underestimate the social stigma of treating this pregnancy loss as the death of a child, which, to many females, is how it feels. One such person is Amy Pittman, who beautifully described her loss experience with humor and grace in her Modern Love piece The Internet Still Thinks I’m Pregnant. If you are grieving your miscarriage and feel alone, we hope this resource may be of help. 

The Impact of Stigma

Many females are reluctant to reach out for support or even share the details of their infertility with their broader circle of supporters due to the social stigma associated with it. These feelings of shame in the face of repeated inquiries about when they might start building a family can lead to social isolation and withdrawal, which may result in depression and anxiety. 

According to research conducted by the Isfahan Fertility and Infertility Center in Iran, this social stigma led to lower self-esteem and feelings of inferiority compared to participants’ broader social network of females who did have children. The inability to have children heightened fears about the potential of divorce and further social exclusion. 

Though we often underestimate the physical toll that these more emotional or social influences can have on us, Professor Canli at Stony Brook University discusses the direct correlation between loneliness and the long-term risk of cognitive decline and eventual risk of Alzheimer’s and other serious health concerns in his research on How Loneliness Can Make you Sick. These physical impacts of social isolation can even exacerbate pre-existing infertility issues as they negatively impact the health of patients undergoing fertility treatment.

How to Combat the Stigma

Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has previously addressed three major forms of stigma ranging from societal to personalized to enacted. It has provided seven recommendations on how to help overcome them. In this article, you will find suggestions ranging from seeking out support groups to empowering yourself through education on the topic of infertility. If you are investigating the right place to begin your journey with fertility treatments, we hope that you will consider contacting our clinic to see how we can help you.

If your loved one is experiencing infertility and you are looking to support them through this experience, we hope that you will find this article helpful as you aid them through their journey.

Stay in Touch

If you resonate with this article, we recommend signing up for our newsletter to receive notifications when new content is posted to our site. If you are a returning client, we invite you to leave us a review on Google My Business to share your infertility story and experience with our clinic. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

What information are you interested in receiving?

Fighting the Stigma of an ICSI Procedure

There’s no denying a stigma exists around male infertility. If you or someone you know is struggling with male factor infertility, they should know that they aren’t alone and that it’s far more common than they might think. About 1 in 6 couples struggle to conceive, and 40-50% of infertility cases are related to male factor infertility. Male infertility does not mean that your chances of conceiving are gone, it just means that there are more roadblocks along the way. Luckily, fertility treatments have advanced enough that there is a way to make pregnancy more likely. ICSI is a procedure that can improve the chances of pregnancy by increasing the likelihood that the sperm will fertilize the egg. 

Who can benefit from ICSI? 

ICSI may be recommended to you if you are experiencing male factor infertility. What impacts male factor infertility? The condition is caused by several issues including, abnormal sperm production, motility, blockage of delivery of sperm, or low sperm production. 

Graphic showing 6 bullet points on how the ICSI procedure can help men who are struggling with fertility issues.

What does the ICSI procedure involve?

ICSI is short for intracellular sperm injection and is an additional procedure performed as part of IVF. As part of the ICSI procedure, sperm is collected either through microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) or percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA). Although Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility does not offer this specific service, we can refer excellent doctors and resources that will help you.

After the sperm is collected, the next step is to inject the sperm into a mature egg. Once the sperm fertilizes the egg, we transfer the embryo into the woman’s uterus to begin the pregnancy process.

Please note that, like all fertility treatments, success is not 100% guaranteed, however, ICSI is a very effective treatment. For reference, this procedure fertilizes 50% to 80% of eggs. 

What are the risks of the ICSI procedure? 

While ICSI is an incredible procedure that has helped countless couples successfully conceive, there have been some misconceptions about the level of risk associated with it. Research conducted about the risks of ICSI found that there is a slightly increased risk of birth defects. Though, this risk can be comparable to the risk associated with IVF without ICSI. In both cases, the risk of birth defects is marginally higher than natural conception. Additionally, we can conduct comprehensive prenatal genetic testing to ensure the quality of the embryo and provide the safest, most effective fertility solutions. However, it is the position of Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility to not push for this testing, unless something runs in the family that makes it a justifiable pursuit. 

When you visit us at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility in Tucson, AZ, you can feel confident that you are receiving the highest quality service to address your individual situation. One of our favorite aspects of our job is helping hopeful parents-to-be experience the beauty and joy of parenthood. Our fertility experts train for years to make sure they offer you the best advice and treatment. We focus on pinpointing the issue, walking you through your options, and providing reliable solutions. If you have any lingering questions about the ICSI procedure or IVF, set up an appointment today by calling 520-326-0001. We are here to discuss your situation at length so we can help you discover the best path to pregnancy.

3 Ways We Keep Our Arizona Fertility Clinic Affordable and Approachable

Fertility treatments and consultation can make a huge difference in guiding you on your journey to conceiving, but they aren’t always the most accessible or affordable services. No matter your fertility journey, At Arizona Fertility Clinic, we  want you to know that you are not alone and it is our priority to help you have the very best outcomes. This belief is what inspires our expert staff and the work we do every day to keep our services affordable while continuing to provide the highest quality of care and attention to every patient who walks through our doors. 

Welcoming All 

Sometimes, couples can feel unwelcome at certain fertility clinics, because of their sexual or gender orientation. Fertility treatments are not limited to heterosexual couples, which is why we have tailored our services to accommodate and welcome same-sex and LGBTQ+ couples. We make sure that when they come in for an initial consultation, they leave feeling that they understand the full scope of options available to them and that pregnancy is a genuine possibility for them. During a consultation, we work with a couple to create a treatment plan relevant to their unique situation, but for couples who prefer to have a little extra prior knowledge, we have a guide on the LGBTQ+ fertility options that can be helpful to reference. 

Competitive Pricing

While successful treatment can help hopeful parents experience the most priceless gift of all, a child, we also understand that the cost of treatment can be a pretty large setback for some. With this in mind, we price our services at a competitive rate because we know that successful fertility treatments provide immeasurable value for our patients in helping them along their pregnancy journey. We believe your current financial situation shouldn’t be the one thing holding you back from starting the family you have always dreamed of. Health insurance can also be very helpful in alleviating some of the financial costs of fertility treatment. To see if we accept your insurance carrier, visit our financial resources section or give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help you explore your fertility options. 

Reliable Estimates 

When you speak with our fertility specialist, you can trust that we are committed to guiding you and helping you make the best decisions as an aspiring parent. To help couples evaluate their options more effectively, we provide reliable estimates, so that they never feel blindsided. Surprises are exciting when they mean a new baby girl or baby boy is on their way into this world, but not when it comes down to finances. We also recommend that as you look for the best fertility clinics and start to compare rates, consider not only the cost per cycle but also the success rates of the clinic. These factors will help you to assess the true cost of treatment as well as the expected number of cycles before conception.

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, we are proud to have helped parents from all walks of life, sexual orientations, beliefs, and cultures experience the incredible journey of childbirth. We guide those seeking pregnancy assistance every step of the way, whether that includes increasing their fertility or providing alternative solutions they might consider. All couples deserve to experience all the first delights and surprises that come with raising a child, and we are so happy to help so many with the invaluable gift of parenthood. 

Give us a call at 520-326-0001 to discuss your unique situation at length and discover the most suitable solution to meet your individual needs. 


The Emotional Side of Becoming a Surrogate

Surrogacy can be immensely rewarding for many women who choose to be surrogates. Giving the joy of a newborn child to a couple who were unable to conceive on their own is a priceless gift of immeasurable value. Any pregnancy can be an emotional journey with highs and lows. However, surrogacy, whether gestational or traditional, comes with its own emotional hurdles. While every surrogacy experience is unique, it can be helpful to understand what to expect.

Before Pregnancy

Women who decide to become surrogates must first apply through a surrogate agency. The application includes a detailed screening process, which will determine whether you are physically and emotionally ready for the surrogacy experience. During this time, you might ask yourself: 

  • Will I be prepared to be pregnant with someone else’s child?
  • Will I be able to commit to the lifestyle required to carry out a healthy pregnancy when it isn’t my child? 

If you believe surrogacy is right for you, you’ll then need to decide if you would prefer gestational surrogacy or traditional surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy includes carrying and delivering a child who has no biological genes of the surrogate. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides the egg used for conception and carries out the pregnancy for another couple. Your preference will play a part in matching you with the intended parents. 

The next part of the process includes additional medical screening and legal contract review. Once approved, you will attend monitoring appointments to determine when your body is ready for embryo transfer. 

During Pregnancy

When you become pregnant, you are an important part of a hopeful couple’s journey to parenthood. You experience the shared joy and excitement that comes with conceiving. Prospective or first-time surrogates may be worried that they will form an emotional attachment to the baby they’re carrying. Others may be concerned about their lack of emotional attachment. Everyone’s surrogacy experience is different. 

Surrogates may still feel the emotional ups and downs of hormonal fluctuations common with pregnancy. But, many surrogates find they are better at managing their emotions because they have not bonded with the child in the same way. Often, mothers-to-be struggle with their emotions because of fears that they won’t be a good parent, won’t know how to parent, or don’t know how the child will behave. Since surrogates do not have to worry about the challenges that come with raising a child, they may be better able to separate their feelings for the child they’re carrying from feelings they have for their child. Some even choose to view their pregnancy as “babysitting.” Establishing a bond with the intended parents can help ease the transition both for you and the baby. 

Even if you feel comfortable with surrogacy, there may be times when you have conflicted feelings due to hormone fluctuations. While you can’t control your hormone changes, the feelings can be disorienting, so speaking to someone you trust, whether that includes a surrogacy professional, trusted friend or family member, or therapist can help. 

After Pregnancy

Many surrogates feel excited for the intended parents after the baby is born. However, everyone is different. If you find yourself needing support post-birth, do not be ashamed to reach out to your surrogacy support team. Pregnancy is a difficult but incredibly rewarding experience and giving another couple a chance to raise a child of their own is honorable. Seeing the intended parents’ happiness when they meet their baby for the first time is a moment you will never forget.

We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the unique happiness of raising a child. Our core mission is to guide couples every step of the way to create a treatment plan tailored to their unique situation. We offer a wide range of services that cater to every woman no matter where they are in life at the moment. Learn more


5 Reasons Community Support is So Important During Infertility Treatments

Having a support system in place as you go through fertility treatments is so important. You don’t have to brave the stress and the ups and downs of this journey alone—because you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of 100 couples in the United States, about 12 to 13 of them have trouble becoming pregnant


While friends and family will do their best to support you, sometimes you need to turn to, talk to, and vent to people who deeply understand exactly what you’re going through. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, our team is always here to lend and ear and support you, but we’re no match for a true infertility support community. Here are five reasons we recommend finding and connecting with a community while you’re in the process of trying to have a baby.

You’ll receive validation of your feelings and experiences

There is powerful validation in knowing that other people share your experiences. Hearing stories that parallel you own gives you a sense that you’re not alone. Communing with others going through infertility treatments may validate your worries, sadness, and frustrations as well. On the flip side, it may also give you hope, strength, and encouragement you’ll find only through hearing the stories of people in situations similar to yours. Plus, when you share your own stories you’ll feel a unique sort of empathy as you validate the feelings of others.

You’ll be a part of destigmatizing infertility

Being a part of a group that can openly talk about their experiences with infertility helps destigmatize some of the issues with reproductive health. It shifts the narrative from something that’s taboo (as society often treats it) to something that’s normal, quite common, and nobody’s fault. When conversations surrounding infertility and the general complexities of trying to conceive can exist out in the open, the shame and judgment that often surround it will begin to dissipate.

You won’t have to worry about judgement or uncomfortable questioning

Even the most well-intentioned family members or friends may unknowingly overstep a boundary, say the wrong thing, or ask something that feels a little judgmental. A community who has gone through or is going through the same thing you are will not judge your circumstances or situations. They also won’t ask you intrusive, stressful, or otherwise inappropriate questions. Again, you’ll be able to share your thoughts and feelings pretty openly, without the fear of being judged (or stigmatized).

You’ll experience better mental health

The right community will make you feel genuinely understood, listened to, seen, and supported. Without the worry of facing stigmatization or judgement, you’ll be able to open up and really connect with others. Having a community in and of itself is key for a healthy mental state, but having a community where you can lay out all your stress and anxiety does even more to boost your mental health. With a community of support, you’ll be able to better build the resilience you need to get through difficult treatments and potential heartbreaks. (However, it’s important to note that even the best of communities cannot replace the help of a therapist; if you are experiencing severe mental health issues, like major depression or anxiety, we encourage you to talk to a therapist.)

You’ll have more people to turn to for support

When it’s difficult to turn to family and/or friends, people dealing with infertility will often rely on their partners for support. While the two of you may be going through this journey together, it doesn’t mean you’ll both experience the same feelings or cope the same way. Reproductive difficulties can affect relationships in a variety of ways, sometimes even causing resentment, communication issues, or emotional distance. You might find that speaking to people other than your partner to be incredibly helpful—not just because others may possibly relate more closely to what you’re going through, but also because they can share perspectives that pave the way for more open and encouraging conversations with your partner.

Our team at AZCREI is always here to help you connect with a group and answer any questions you may have about infertility and your reproductive health. If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant and want support or more information, we can help. You can contact us or make an appointment by visiting us online or calling (520) 326-0001.


What It’s Like to Be a Surrogate?

Becoming a surrogate is not an easy decision to make, but for some women, it’s an obvious choice—something they were called to do. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we’ve seen many, many women become surrogates and give the priceless gift of a baby and endless joy to another family.

But even if you’re sure you want to be a surrogate, you’ll need to consider everything involved in the process. If this is the first time you’ve seriously thought about becoming a surrogate, you may be nervous about what to expect. While every woman’s experience is different, here is a glimpse of what it’s like to be a surrogate and what you can expect during your surrogacy journey.

Before the Pregnancy

When you first apply to be a surrogate, you will have to go through an extensive screening process to make sure you’re physically and emotionally ready for this undertaking. After you’ve completed and passed the screening, the time you may wait to be matched with intended parents can vary drastically. 

Once you’ve been paired with a couple and you mutually decide that you’re a good fit for each other, you’ll have to sort out the legalities and sign a contract. The contract will likely address sensitive topics like the number of embryo transplants you’re comfortable committing to, selective reduction (the possibility of reducing the number of fetuses if more than one embryo successfully implants), and the financial compensation you will receive. It’s best to use this time—before signing—to ask whatever questions you have about what’s expected of you and establish an open, honest relationship with the intended parents.

If you choose to sign the contract and move forward with surrogacy, you will begin to go through extensive fertility treatments to regulate your cycle and make your uterus as fertile as possible for the incoming embryos. Typically, these treatments include daily fertility shots and regular doctor’s appointments and tests to ensure you’re physically ready and able to carry and deliver a child.

It’s important to note that embryos may not successfully implant in the first cycle; it often takes several embryo transfer attempts to achieve a successful pregnancy.

During the Pregnancy

Once an embryo successfully implants, the rest of the pregnancy is relatively normal. You may have several appointments with the infertility clinic that performed the embryo transfer in the early weeks of the pregnancy to make sure everything is developing properly, and from there, you’ll see your OB-GYN for regular check ups. Usually, all your copays are covered by the intended parents, and depending on what you agreed upon, they may attend the doctor visits and check ups with you.

As you go through the pregnancy, you may want to take extra steps to create memories and bonding moments for the baby and intended parents. Most moms-to-be will create ‘baby books’ to document the pregnancy and surrogacy journey. You will also want to prepare the baby for the emotional transfer of going home with their parents; you can ease the transition by having the intended parents talk to the baby whenever you’re with them and familiarizing the baby with sounds from their parents home (like their favorite music or recordings of them talking to the baby). 

After the Pregnancy

If you’ve bonded with the intended parents, you’ll likely feel joy and excitement once you give birth. Seeing the intended parents hold their baby for the first time will be a memory you’ll never forget. Most surrogates are just happy to be able to give them the baby they’ve been dreaming of, however, everyone is different, and you may struggle emotionally after your pregnancy and surrogacy journey is over—that’s normal too (and may very well be due to pregnancy hormones). If you are having a difficult time after birth, reach out to a surrogacy support group, your surrogacy agency, or infertility clinic for support. In some cases, you may be able to reach out to the intended parents as well; contact with the intended parents and baby varies from family to family and is usually something that’s decided upon before you even become pregnant.

Whether you struggle post-pregnancy or not, it’s important to have a support system to lean on during this time. 

If you have more questions about becoming a surrogate mother or what surrogacy entails—or if you’re curious about building a family through surrogacy—you can contact us at AZCREI for more information, by calling (520) 326-0001 or visiting us online.

How to Support a Friend or Loved One Struggling with Infertility

Very often, we see patients who struggle with infertility but don’t necessarily know where to turn (beyond our office) for help and support. Sometimes, turning to friends and/or family isn’t always the simplest solution, especially when those loved ones aren’t sure exactly how to be supportive.

Infertility is difficult in so many different ways—physically, emotionally, relationally…the list goes on and on. And people all cope with infertility differently, which means figuring out what a friend needs and how to really help them through this challenging time can be complicated; you want to help, but you don’t want to undermine the process, accidentally say something insensitive, or minimize their struggle.

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we want our patients to feel fully supported in every way. Knowing how to actually give that support can be tricky—especially if you’ve never experienced infertility yourself — so we put together a guide on how to offer support to a loved one struggling with infertility.

Here are three major things you can do to help.

Learn More About Infertility

The first thing you can do to be supportive is to read up on the basics of infertility. This helps in two ways: 1) It will make it easier for your friend to talk to you about what they are going through (instead of having to explain the process or waiting for you to react to new information). And, 2) Knowing more about infertility will spare you the misstep of repeating misconceptions or offering inappropriate advice.

Basically, having a foundational knowledge of infertility—some of its potential causes and the most common treatments—will make conversations easier and give your loved one a better opportunity to open up about what they’re going through and how they’re really feeling.

Know What to Say

Even now, armed with some foundational information about infertility, you still might not have all the answers on what’s most helpful and supportive to say to someone dealing with infertility. Just acknowledging that the process is difficult and validating their feelings can be really valuable when navigating the conversations with your loved one. Simple statements like “I’m here for you” and “I can see how hard this is for you” can let a person know that you are listening and that you really do care. 

You can also ask them what you can do to be most helpful. Offer to attend difficult appointments with them, to watch their older kids, or even to be their workout buddy (since regular exercise can alleviate stress and may also help increase fertility in some cases). 

Know What Not to Say

On the other end of the spectrum, knowing what not to say can be just as important as knowing what to say to a loved one struggling with infertility. Ultimately, you don’t want to say anything that will invalidate their struggle or experience. You should avoid saying things like:

  • “Just relax,”
  • “Stop stressing about it so much,”
  • “At least you can still sleep in (or travel, go out whenever you want, etc.),”
  • “Just be grateful you already have a child,”
  • “There are worse things that could happen,” or
  • “What’s meant to be will be.”

These types of comments—even when said in jest—can create even more stress for someone dealing with infertility and minimize the pain they are feeling. You should also avoid questioning their decisions and/or pushing other solutions (like adoption or giving up altogether). 

If you’re really worried about saying the wrong thing, you can be honest about it. You can say something like, “I’m worried about saying the wrong thing, but I do want you to know that I care about you and want to support you in any way I can.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with infertility and you have questions or would like more information, you can contact AZCREI by visiting us online or calling (520) 326-0001.


How to Fight Against the Negative Stigma About Infertility


About 1 in 6 (heterosexual) couples in the U.S. struggle with fertility. Yet, despite how common infertility is, there is still a negative stigma against adults (particularly those in relationships) who do not have children. While some people choose to not have children, dealing with the stigma can be especially difficult for those who are trying to get pregnant, but haven’t yet been successful.

Unfortunately, stigma comes in many forms, and each involves its own set of challenges:

  • Societal stigma – How society views people with a stigmatized characteristic (like infertility)
  • Personalized stigma – The prejudices a person with a stigmatized characteristic internalize against themselves
  • Enacted stigma – Actual instances of discrimination or prejudice against a stigmatized characteristic

When it comes to infertility, all three of these types of stigma are present; and if you’ve been struggling with infertility, you’ve likely experienced at least one of these before too. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, our goal is to end the stigma around infertility and empower our patients to fight against it as well.

7 Ways to Fight Against the Stigma of Infertility

We know that coping with the stigma of infertility looks different for every individual, but here are seven things you can do to help overcome the stigma on your terms—and feel confident in your current situation and the future ahead.

Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame.

Stigma doesn’t just come from others; personalized stigma is the negative beliefs you hold about yourself because of your difficulty in having a child. You may mistakenly believe that your infertility is a sign of weakness or “bad karma” for something in your past. Seeking counseling, educating yourself about the causes of infertility, and connecting with others who are facing the same challenges can help you overcome this destructive self-judgment.

Remember, you are more than your infertility.

You are not your struggle. Instead of saying “I am infertile,” say “I am dealing with infertility” or “I have yet to get pregnant.” Don’t let infertility define you.

Don’t isolate yourself.

Unfortunately, dealing with infertility can be a very isolating experience. Many people feel alone in their involuntary childlessness because they’re often surrounded by siblings, cousins, and friends all having children. You may be reluctant to tell anyone about it or discuss it, but your partner, family, and friends can offer you support if they know about your current struggles. You might even find out that some of those same individuals also struggled with fertility at one point or another.

Join a support group.

There are several support groups (online and in person) specifically for individuals dealing with infertility; RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, is a great resource for finding a support group in your area. These provide a forum where you can openly talk about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through with people who are experiencing the same thing as you.

Empower yourself with information.

One of the ways to overcome the stigma is to educate yourself about the negativity behind it as well as the medical treatment options available to you. Shining a light on something “scary” (like infertility) can take away some of the fear—and the stigma—of it. The more you know about your current situation and what’s going on with your body, the more empowered you will feel.

Speak out against the stigma.

The stigma of infertility is so ingrained in our society, that many people don’t realize when they’re discriminating against or making those who are coping with infertility feel uncomfortable. If someone says something insensitive or hurtful, even if it’s unintentional, you can let them know. You don’t have to necessarily share your story, but calling out the stigma—in any way—helps fight it. You may encourage and empower others to rethink the stigma as well.

Get treatment.

Many couples put off seeking infertility treatment because they’re reluctant to admit they are dealing with infertility, or they may just be putting it off to try again for “just one more” cycle. Infertility can decrease over time though, especially for uterus owners. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner we can identify what’s causing your infertility and create a plan to move forward and help you finally achieve a pregnancy.

At AZCREI, we do our part to help chip away at the infertility stigma by offering a non-judgmental environment for all our patients, providing patients with thorough information about their options, and normalizing the experience of infertility more generally. If you are currently struggling with infertility and would like to meet with our team, you can schedule an appointment by calling (520) 326-0001 or visiting us online.

7 Ways to Cope After a Miscarriage

If you were finally celebrating a positive pregnancy test after months of battling infertility just a few weeks ago, we know how difficult—to say the least—it can be to now be coping with a sudden and unexpected miscarriage.

Understandably, you may feel a range of emotions, maybe sad, disheartened, hopeless, and even angry or resentful. You may have trouble eating and sleeping; you may cry a lot, or not at all; you might feel alone and isolated. These are all natural, normal, healthy responses to a pregnancy loss. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we want you to remember, your reaction—no matter what it may be—is normal for you.

Feeling in the dark about what happened, confused about why it happened, unsure of what to expect, or uncertain of what your next steps should be can make the situation even more challenging.

Recovering from a miscarriage—physically, mentally, and emotionally—takes time and patience. Our team is here to help you figure out how to move forward. While there is no correct or easy way to cope after a miscarriage, here are seven suggestions for getting through this difficult time.

Grieve your loss

The grief you are feeling is real – no matter how early in your pregnancy you experienced the loss of your baby. Allow yourself to go through the grieving process in your own way and at your own pace. Keep in mind that some well-intentioned family and friends may try to minimize your loss, but remember, you have the right to grieve as much—or as little—as you need to. Doing this in any way can help you heal and eventually move forward.

Commemorate your baby

One of the things that makes a miscarriage so devastating is that there is rarely closure that comes with the loss. But doing something to commemorate your baby can help you create your own sense of closure and help you cope. Consider making a memory box, writing a goodbye letter, planting flowers or a tree, getting a special piece of jewelry with their birthstone, or having a private ceremony with your partner and close friends and family—whatever feels right to you. You may still feel the loss and find yourself grieving again on your baby’s due date or the anniversary of your loss and may want to do something special to pay tribute to your baby then as well.

Take care of yourself

You have been through a traumatic loss, but try not to let those feelings of grief completely encompass you. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well, doing something active every day, limiting your alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking. Often, the response to a miscarriage is isolation, so take care of yourself by staying connected to your loved ones during this time too.

Find support

As you deal with your grief, remember that your partner is also mourning the loss of your baby—although they may grieve differently. Sharing your feelings openly with each other can help you both heal.

Miscarriage occurs during the first trimester of 10 percent of pregnancies and about 2-3 percent of the time during the second trimester. Unfortunately, that means it’s not at all uncommon. Fortunately, though, that means you’re not alone. Many other women have been in your shoes and are coping with miscarriage alongside you. Sharing and comparing your story with those women (through a support group, in an online forum, or in a social media group), can be reassuring.

Know when to seek professional help

While it’s normal to grieve deeply when you first lose your baby, you should gradually feel better as time passes. It may be time to seek professional help if you

  • Find yourself having difficult focusing, eating, or sleeping
  • Feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety
  • Are becoming more isolated from your family and friends

Our team can connect you to resources and help you find a therapist or counselor who can help you start feeling better.

Empower yourself with knowledge

Knowing the facts and statistics about pregnancy, miscarriage, and what may have happened with your body and baby can give you a feeling of empowerment. At AZCREI, we work to identify the reason(s) for your miscarriage and then create a plan with you to help you try to conceive again.

Remember, this isn’t the end

A common question many women have after a miscarriage is when they’ll be able to try again. The good news in all this is that even with women who have had two or three consecutive, unexplained pregnancy losses, about 65-75 percent go on to have a successful pregnancy and birth. Try to remind yourself that you can—and most likely will—become pregnant again and give birth to a healthy, happy baby.

Ready to try again?

It’s usually safe to conceive after one normal menstrual cycle (which typically occurs four to six weeks after a pregnancy loss). We always recommend that you wait until you are physically and emotionally ready before trying to conceive again. Don’t hesitate to talk with our team about any concerns you may have.

To find out more about our center or schedule a visit, contact us online or call (520) 326-0001.

5 Tips for Coping with Infertility

Dealing with infertility and going through treatments can be exhausting—both mentally and physically. From hormone injections, to doctor appointments, to emotional roller coasters, infertility isn’t an easy situation to manage.   

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we understand that coping with infertility is a very difficult part of your journey. Our team is here to support you in any way possible; we’re here to walk with you and hold your hand through the entire process. We know that everyone deals with the stress and challenge of infertility differently, but here are five copping tips we’ve found to be helpful for most of our patients.  

Accept that your feelings are legitimate and normal 

When a person or couple is trying for a pregnancy or to have a baby, there are often a ton of expectations. With those, come stress, anxiety, self-doubt, and disappointment. The first step in coping with these feelings are identifying them (and their source), and accepting that these emotions are legitimate perfectly normal. You don’t have to put on a brave face every day or attempt to shut off your feelings. If you need to cry at an appointment or scream into a pillow before bed, that’s okay. When you try to ignore your feelings, you drain your energy and create more stress.  

Work with your partner as a team. 

It’s very likely that you and your partner will deal with the stress of infertility and its treatments very differently. Remember that you both are on the same team and working towards the same goal. While you both figure out how to cope, keep communication open—especially in regards to your emotions, doubts, concerns, and mental stress. If you are going through treatments and trying to have a baby on your own, find someone you can trust to be your support during this time, and remember, AZCREI is on your team through it all as well.  

Manage Your Stress (to the Best of Your Ability) 

During treatments, you may often feel powerless, helpless, confused, and overwhelmed. Our team does out best to mitigate some of these stressors by giving you as much information as possible and several treatment options so you feel confident and comfortable in your decisionsStress does have an impact on fertility, so it’s important to manage it to the best of your ability. We know that some days or situations will feel very challenging—again, that’s expected and completely normal. In general, we encourage you to practice stress-management techniques such as yoga, meditation, journaling, physical activity, or whatever else you find helpful, as you go through this journey. 

Find a Community of Support 

Online communities, blogs, and forums can be helpful for finding other people who are also coping with infertility. This can be helpful if you aren’t comfortable discussing your personal journey face-to-face. Of course, in-person support groups and counseling may also be extremely helpful too. Engaging in conversations within a trusted community can ease your frustrations and provide additional help, support, and encouragement; you’ll also hear or read about success stories and the incredible joy that will come when the struggle is over and you finally have your baby.  

You can also create your own community of family, friends, and loved ones; if they’ve never dealt with infertility themselves, ask them to educate themselves and be vocal about what you need (or don’t need) during this season of life. 

Know When It’s Time to Seek Help 

Infertility treatments are quite complex and complicated; you’ll likely spend a great deal of time seeking out resources and learning about your options. If you’ve been struggling with infertility for more than six months (if you’re 35 or older) to a year (if you’re younger than 35), it’s time to seek medical assistance to help you identify and overcome the potential cause of your infertility. Additionally, an infertility specialist can refer you to a mental health specialist to help you cope with your emotions in a safe and healthy environment.  

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.