What you can do to break the silence

When couples struggle with infertility, they often feel alone and isolated, and their fear, questions and heartache often go ignored. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is working to change that.

Here's how you can make a difference during National Infertility Awareness Week.

It's never any different.

I sit in one of the few empty chairs, and I place my purse beside me on the chair.

Within these walls, my smartphone is useless.

Within these walls, I am completely cut off from the outside world.

There is a thick silence, and the only sound in the room is that of measured breaths.

"We all want a baby, and none of us can have one without medical intervention."

And although I look around me and I see myself in each of the other patients, I am somehow still very alone.

There seems to be an unwritten rule that we all avoid making eye contact. Asking questions seems entirely inappropriate, and the comparison of stories is oddly missing.

We are each here for one purpose. We all want a baby, and none of us can have one without medical intervention.

But we don't talk to one another. We don't share our stories.

I'm one of the lucky ones, though. When I leave the infertility clinic, I have a support system of friends who listen, ask questions and offer me room to express anger, sadness and worry.

So many other women leave the clinic and return to a world that also ignores their struggles, a world that echoes the silence of the clinic.

But this week, we can all do something to change that.

More on our struggles with infertility >>

No more ignoring the problem

April 22-28, 2012 is National Infertility Awareness Week®. The goal of this nationwide campaign is to educate the public about infertility and the concerns that go along with it.

This year, RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has chosen the theme "Don't Ignore Infertility."

Their website explains why they chose this important message: "Every voice that speaks out about the realities of infertility, and every act that acknowledges infertility as a medical condition with far-reaching social and emotional implications, helps tear down the wall of ignorance and silence that surrounds this devastating disease."

How to find emotional support for infertility >>

What you can do

If you are struggling with infertility, here's how you can help bring the issue out into the open:

  • Look for opportunities in your daily life to break the silence. Use your Facebook wall or Twitter account to help open a dialogue.
  • Stay abreast of legislation that affects infertility patients. Write to your representative or attend RESOLVE's Advocacy Day in Washington D.C., on April 25.

If you aren't personally struggling with infertility, it's likely you know someone who is. Reach out and offer your support. Together, we can bring infertility out into the light and offer support to couples who are being ignored and are suffering in silence.

And the next time I go into the clinic, I plan to initiate a conversation with the woman in the chair beside me. Because we have to start somewhere.

More on infertility

Facing infertility
When to see a specialist
Trying to conceive: Conversations you should have with your doctor


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Comments on "Don't ignore infertility: National Infertility Week"

Jen April 24, 2012 | 11:03 PM

I had a laparoscopy done and found out I had endomitreosis. I then had lupron depo shots for 6 months.. Those were HORRID. Then I was on clomid. Three years of trying (seeing specialists, taking my temp, etc) and I decided to stop it all I was getting really stressed out. My Dr said he did all he could and he hoped I would have children someday. The next month I was pg! Don't give up hope!! I now have 3 precious children (ages 4, 17 months and 3 months old). I know it is so hard to see your friends and family get pg so easily. I avoided the baby sections in stores even or I was scared I would bawl right in the aisles. God hears your prayers just as He heard mine.

Diana Clark April 24, 2012 | 1:30 PM

Infertility is not a fun thing to go through. I would not wish it on anyone. I am completely exhausted from this roller coaster. I have had 8 cycles of clomid and and just tried IVF and it did not work

Elizabeth April 23, 2012 | 10:28 AM

Nichole, thank you for sharing your personal struggles and raising awareness about infertility. It's an issue so many families deal with and often without an answer or diagnosis as to why. Love and hugs to you my sweet friend!

Natalie April 23, 2012 | 9:47 AM

It is SO important to raise awareness and spread the word about infertility. You are brave to share your journey. xoxox

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