Whether plans for parenthood are in the cards or not, fertility is something every person with a uterus has to address at some point in their life. Like it or not, approximately half of us have to start making decisions around if, how and when we get pregnant — but despite it being a topic so many people think about, it’s still not widely discussed.
A new survey of millennial women (between the ages of 25 and 33) conducted by Celmatix highlights the stigma that still exists around discussing fertility. Specifically, 39 percent of those surveyed say they don’t talk to their partners about fertility, and more than 60 percent say it’s also something they don’t mention to their friends.
To help break the taboo around the topic, the #SaytheFword campaign was conceived to encourage women to address their concerns and experiences with all aspects of reproductive health, from egg freezing to pregnancy to miscarriage and fertility treatments. For example, the survey found that nearly 60 percent of women don’t talk about fertility with their mothers. While this isn’t possible for everyone, those who do have access to and a relationship with their mother may benefit from having this conversation, as it could contain valuable information on family health history.
Egg freezing is another area people are still pretty hush-hush about. While 13 percent of women reported they either have had their eggs frozen or are interested in doing it, the survey found that more than a quarter of them haven’t told anyone else about it. And despite the fact that the egg-freezing procedure involves multiple steps and visits to a doctor, 69 percent of those who said they have frozen their eggs or are considering it haven’t spoken to their OB-GYN about this option.
Fertility is a pretty broad topic and not something that should only come up if someone encounters problems getting pregnant. Rather, taking ownership of your fertility could mean everything from choosing the right birth control for you to considering egg freezing to deciding parenthood is not your thing. And yes, it also includes actual fertility treatments, though for many people, that’s not something they are comfortable sharing with others. In fact, the survey found that 75 percent of women who are interested in or have undergone fertility treatments haven’t spoken about it with their friends.
Of course, part of owning your health and fertility is only sharing information at your own pace — and that is perfectly fine too. The point of the #SaytheFword campaign, however, is to help empower those who might want to talk about it but don’t feel as though anyone cares or is listening. People do care and are listening, and chances are, there’s someone else out there who can relate to your experience or could learn something from it.