May 14, 2019

Why don’t we talk about our fertility issues?

Having trouble trying to conceive and turning to alternative ways to get pregnant, like IVF, is nothing to be ashamed of.

Finding out you have fertility issues often makes women and men feel shame. Consider that 1 in 8 couples need some form of fertility help to conceive. The average age women start their families may be one of the reasons fertility treatments are becoming increasingly common. Statistics tells us more women than ever are having babies later in life. According to the CDC, women in their 30s are now having more babies than women in their 20s in the U.S.

And yet so many women find it hard to discuss their fertility issues with others. Or that they are even looking into alternative ways to try to conceive, such as IVF (in vitro fertilization). You may not know it, but if you have turned to IVF for help getting pregnant, you are part of a rising trend. According to the U.S. Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), an astonishing 1 million babies were born via IVF, or other assisted reproductive technologies between 1987 and 2015.

Meanwhile, we owe Michelle Obama, Chrissy Teigen, Courteney Cox, Brooke Shields, and many more women in the spotlight a debt of gratitude for opening up about the IVF journeys that lead them to their children.

Despite the multitude of information and stories that reflect the growing number of couples who seek fertility assistance, there seems to be a lingering sense that using IVF to conceive is somehow taboo. The proof? It’s rarely talked about, sometimes even among close friends. This only serves to fuel the feeling that you’re alone walking this path. So it’s no wonder IVF is only discussed in whispered tones, if at all. It’s a vicious cycle.

No one denies that going through IVF can be emotionally and physically challenging. Paying for expensive treatments of the IVF costs often adds to the burden. You may feel stressed and oversensitive, which is normal. So if you have caught yourself feeling hurt, angry, or resentful that some other people get pregnant with no effort, it’s OK. Don’t let those emotions spiral into shame.

Instead, remember that the moment you get to hold your beautiful baby in your arms, it won’t matter how he or she got here. Your baby will not be any different because you needed help to conceive. But you’ll be different; a bit braver, stronger, and more grateful! Because you are an IVF warrior.

Ultimately, you realize your dream to have a family is no one else’s business, unless you’d like it to be. But if you are like so many couples in the U.S. who turn to fertility treatments, there is also no reason to feel anything but pride about your path to parenthood.

So, when someone asks if you are trying to have a child, why not be open and honest about the work you are doing to become pregnant. By being open about your fertility issues, you are helping open the door for someone else to talk about their fertility issues.

Written by Nicole Fry, head of care management, Future Family

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