Here’s the thing about infertility: it’s blind to its victims. It doesn’t care where you live, what color you are, or how much money you make. Infertility is indiscriminate in destroying a family’s hopes and dreams.
For the most vulnerable members of our community—those without access to insurance coverage for infertility care or the economic means to pay out-of-pocket for treatments, third-party options, or adoption—the infertility diagnosis really could be the last stop on a couple’s journey toward bringing a child into their lives.
National Infertility Awareness Week is April 18-24, and organizers hope to remove the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of building families. Created by RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association, the theme for 2019 is #WhatIWantYouToKnow.
Mark and Amy didn’t experience any infertility issues until after the birth of their first child. When they found themselves dealing with secondary unexplained infertility, they credit friends for helping them get through the maze towards a second child. Initially, Amy experienced resistance from her primary doctor, who urged her to just keep trying instead of referring her to a specialist. Another obstacle they faced on their infertility journey was Amy’s employer dropping insurance coverage for fertility treatments—until she became an advocate and got them to reverse their decision. Ultimately, the couple decided to become foster parents to a little girl whom they eventually ended up adopting.
Lauren and her husband tried to conceive for two years before she discovered she had a large cyst on her ovary and had a portion of her fallopian tube removed during surgery. “What else is infertility going to steal from me?” she wondered. After working with a reproductive endocrinologist and six failed rounds of intrauterine insemination, the couple’s journey came to a halt due to insurance changes. Lauren says she fell into a depression and worried about the state of her marriage; then a few months later, she found out she had gotten pregnant on her own, a little addition whom she refers to as their “miracle baby.”
Infertility appeared early on in Michelle and her husband Matt’s journey to parenthood. She was diagnosed with unexplained infertility and went unsuccessfully through three medicated cycles and three IUI cycles, before deciding to go the IVF route. Nine months later, their son was born. But the heartbreak of infertility struck when they were unable to conceive a second time. They say they are not giving up TTC and advise other couples in a similar situation to hang in there. “Don’t give up, but don’t forget to live every day to the fullest.”
Infertility strikes men and women equally
When it comes to infertility, both men and women can have something that’s keeping them from conceiving. Statistics vary, but about one-third of the time it’s the man, another third it’s the woman and the remaining percentage finds the cause is either a mix of both partners or for reasons unknown.
If you are a man wondering if you might be the cause of your inability to conceive, SpermCheck is an affordable and convenient way to check your fertility right at home.
Infertility is a devastating disease that puts so many couples on a complicated and uncertain path towards parenthood. Maybe those couples will find comfort in National Infertility Awareness Week and know their stories matter. “Do not be sad,” Lauren advised. “You are not alone and we are in this together.”