It's the 25th anniversary of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). Obviously, a lot has changed for those experiencing infertility in the last 25 years: medical advances have made treatments more successful, some states have mandated insurance coverage for infertility, and more options means that some people continue with assisted reproduction much longer than they would have back in 1989.
But a lot hasn't changed: the emotional response to that infertility diagnosis, the thoughtless comments made by friends and family, and the high costs associated with assisted family building.
Resolve, the National Infertility Association, asked bloggers to write on the theme: "Resolve to Know More." Many bloggers stepped up to the plate to create a panoramic portrait of the infertility landscape.
Searching for Our Silver Lining writes about how isolating infertility can be, especially when surrounded by people who can easily conceive and carry to term.
One woman in particular broke down as she shared about how her BFF no longer is speaking to her after an incident where she assumed a day out with her new daughter would help ease the pain of her friend's recent miscarriage. After all, her little girl brought so much joy to her life; why was it awful to assume that joy couldn't be transmitted?
Amateur Nester has a great post explaining why certain questions or comments are intrusive or unhelpful. Use her post to resolve to know more about being sensitive.
During my own battle with infertility, I’ve realized most people have no idea that asking certain questions can be very painful to those suffering from the disease. Obviously, the majority of insensitive people have no malicious intent; they simply lack awareness. I used to be one of them.
My Journey to Motherhood addresses the financial cost of infertility. The numbers may be eye-opening if you haven't researched infertility treatments or adoption.
The costs of ART alone can prevent some couples from becoming parents. Shouldn't everyone have a choice to get treatment? Many of the issues that cause infertility are no different from a thyroid disorder or birth defect that are covered by insurance, so why is infertility alone a reason to deny coverage?
My Path to Mommyhood astutely points out that what works for one person may not work for another, so figuring out what you need is imperative in resolving your infertility.
It is important to me to stress that you need to Know What Works For You because there is a lot of information, misinformation, well-meaning advice, etc. that can make you feel like you must try this and that and that there is one good way to make your way through the infertile swamp. There's not. It's not one size fits all.
Lastly, Inconceivable writes about the power of hearing another person's story. She tells her story to pass along information, to light a proverbial candle, and to let others know that they're not alone.
Infertility is full of numbers, statistics, percentages. Success rates. Failure rates. Lab values. 15 eggs retrieved, 11 mature, 5 fertilized. More numbers, dollar signs as I sign the checks for treatment, for medications. There are statistics on numbers of orphans, of children adopted. There are the numbers of days, years, of waiting for treatment to work, of waiting for an adoption placement.
Yet it is not the numbers I remember.
It is the stories.
Resolve has been collecting blog posts all week (and it's not too late to write your own). Please peruse this year's blog list, and add your own voice to the movement here in the comment section. Tell us about your experience with infertility.
More from health