Ashley Whittle Tiedt I know what you’re thinking, America doesn’t need one more “awareness week” to think about. And you know what? We don’t, so don’t think of this as a week. Think of this as changing the narrative, helping to take away the stigma of the disease called infertility.
The World Health Organization defines infertility as “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” One in eight couples suffers from infertility, and there are a variety of reasons that couples are unable to conceive. With odds like this, it is incredibly likely that you know a couple who is suffering.
This is why National Infertility Awareness Week is so important. There are so many suffering and so few talking about this disease. But how can you raise awareness about something you know nothing about? As the mother of an IVF baby, let me hit the high notes for you:
1. It’s not just a women’s issue.A friend once said to me “it’s so great that your husband is willing to put up with all this for you.” The funny thing is my problems were small when it came toour fertility issues. My husband’s issues were the cause of most of the hurdles we jumped.
2. Everyone’s issues are not necessarily similar in nature. If I sat you down in a group full ofinfertile couples, each would have their own unique set of issues and treatments.
3. It can take a toll on your marriage and your friendships. I am married to a wonderful man and I have some amazing friends, but things change when you struggle with infertility. The injections make you crazy, irrational and sometimes unsociable. Your friends who are strugglingneed you to love them through the crazy, even when they aren’t being the best friend to you. They need you, even if they don’t think they do.
What I’ve given you is just a snapshot of infertility. It’s not earth shattering or life changing, unless you take your newfound knowledge and do something with it. So this April 23 29th, take a minute to learn a little more and share what you’ve learned with a friend or post it on social media. This Infertility Awareness Week, start a conversation and allow the couples who are struggling in silence to know that they have one more ally in a world that tells them to remain silent.