This month we celebrate National Infertility Awareness Week® from April 23-29.
While very few who have had to cope with infertility would want to celebrate, this week serves a vital function of raising awareness, educating the public, and providing a sense of community and support in communities across the country and around the world.
Sponsored by The National Infertility Association, National Infertility Awareness Week ® began in 1989 and became a federally recognized health observance by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010. The organization provides information, support, advocacy and resources for people from all walks of life who are coping with infertility. It also sponsors nationwide fundraisers including the annual “Walk of Hope.”
Why Infertility Awareness Month?
The fact is, many people don’t realize how prevalent infertility is. 11 percent of women in the U.S. have had trouble getting pregnant, or staying pregnant.
That is because even as we raise awareness, it can still be hard for men and women to talk about infertility.
Women are taught from a young age to prevent pregnancy.
From the moment they hit puberty, young women are constantly reminded that they run the risk of getting pregnant if they are sexually active. When you spend your life seeing pregnancy as a default, it’s hard to accept that it may not be easy to get pregnant.
When a woman does face infertility, it’s also easy for them to feel that their body is failing them, or they feel guilty for not starting sooner.
For men, talking about fertility may be difficult because they see it as a reflection of their masculinity and virility. Because most of the conversation about infertility centers around women, many men are genuinely surprised to hear that there’s a male factor involved with infertility about 50 percent of the time.
For couples dealing with infertility, there can be a wide range of emotional, spiritual and relationship issues that can affect their journey as they deal with infertility. That is why I always offer additional support and counseling recommendations to my patients when they start treatment.
Infertility Awareness is designed to help men and women coping with infertility know that they are part of a greater community, that they’re not alone, and that solutions exist to help them.
The theme for this year is #StartAsking.
According to The National Infertility Association:
“Every day people with infertility are asking questions. “Why me?” “How can we afford this?” “Why don’t you understand?” National Infertility Awareness Week® is not only an opportunity to raise awareness about this disease, but also motivate all that are touched by infertility to commit to the cause.”
The goal of this year’s campaign is to encourage those who are coping with infertility and those who know someone who is coping fertility to start asking the tough questions and get involved. You should #startasking:
- Employers if their insurance covers infertility treatments.
- Lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community.
- Friends and family to support you.
- The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face.
- Your friends, family, and social networks to make a donation.
- Your OB/GYN or healthcare provider to take the time to address your concerns about infertility or recommend a fertility specialist who can help.
If you’d like to understand more about infertility, we have an easy to understand guide that provides information on the common causes of infertility and the treatment options available.
If you have questions, or if you’d like to learn more about me or my practice, OC Fertility, schedule your new patient consultation today or call us at (949) 706-2229.