Infertility affects one in every eight couples. Odds are you know a couple that has experienced it, and if you don’t there probably is one in your circle of friends that hasn’t told you about it. These couples are quiet heroes. Most suffer in silence and find strength to deal with it in their own quiet ways. So with infertility affecting so much of the population, why does it feel like most of us are going through it alone?
Both men and women have an instinctive desire to reproduce. Whether it’s due to nature or nurture is unknown, but perhaps it’s some of both. Human beings experience emotional/physical subconscious signals that hint to the brain that it’s time to have a baby. This is also referred to as “baby fever.” When women realize that their baby making window is closing due to age, they start to hear their biological clock ticking away. When this biological desire to have a baby cannot be achieved due to infertility, it’s devastating. Many couples don’t speak about it because they feel that it makes them failures in some way. It carries with it a burden for some. Everything about infertility is hard, and most of the time this is when the silent suffering begins. People who suffer from infertility suffer from the following.
Low self esteem/self worth
Emotional pain that grows with each failed attempt and/or with miscarriages.
Physical hardship from pumping the body full of hormones and meds to help conceive
Sex life deteriorates as well as the relationship
Loss of pregnancy, birth experience, as well as genetic legacy
Loss of faith and hope for the future
The list could go on and on. The pain and suffering is real on so many levels and can sometimes have devastating affects on relationships and day to day living. No one chooses to go through infertility; it’s one of those things that most think will never happen to them. And when it does it’s like the ultimate slap in the face. Couples lives and long-term plans and goals are forever changed from this devastating disease.
You read that right, infertility is a disease. In 2009, The World Health Organization defined 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.” The day the WHO proclaimed it to be a disease was a HUGE day for people who have long been ashamed of being infertile. No one chooses this; it’s due to biological and medical problems that are out of the control of the people suffering just like any other disease. For some reason, though, this news never even made the headlines. Most insurance plans still don’t cover the costs of treatment, and it becomes a financial hardship for most couples. We’re sure this comes down to the money the insurance companies would have to pay; it always does.
If you or someone you know suffers from infertility, know this, you/they are not alone. So many of us go through this fight, and it’s time to let go of that shame. Be quiet no more. Reach out for help; talk to people about your journey. Just as with your healthcare, do your research. There is an answer out there for you, you just need to stay with it long enough to find that answer. In other words, don’t give up. It’s not going to be easy, but in the end when you hold that precious child in your arms, it’ll all be worth it. In the meantime, find your tribe, your group of supporters who are going through a similar journey. You can start here with Resolve, The National Infertility Association. This site not only helps find a support group in your area, but is truly a treasure trove of helpful information for this journey. Most people don’t realize that there are also financial programs that can help pay for the cost of fertility treatments. These can help with the financial hardships of treatment. You can view a list of available programs here.
Be open to receiving options. Perhaps adoption is the answer you seek. As we are going through this journey in search of the answer to adding a second child to our family, we are learning that every path is worth a look. Leaving no rock unturned will ensure that your answer is found, that your prayers are answered. We believe that it will happen for you just as it will happen for us and we wish you all the best on this journey. Remember you guys are strong in this fight against a dark force; you are truly heroes. You may have lost some battles in this war, but have faith that you will win the war.