Don’t Ignore Our Voice!
It’s hard to believe a disease that affects millions of people — almost 20% of couples trying to have children — is so rarely discussed. It is time for us to talk about our challenges, so no man, woman, or couple feels alone in this journey. As soon as I connected with a friend also going through fertility treatments, and then opened up to others, I realized that my voice is important. I am not alone in this struggle and I need the love and support of my family and friends in order to battle infertility! The last 15 months have been the most emotionally challenging and, at times, devastating of my life, and without my amazing support network, I wouldn’t have made it through.
When I was originally diagnosed, I was ashamed and embarrassed to discuss my inability to have children without medical assistance with even my closest of friends. It took me months to tell my family, and even longer to discuss openly with friends. I have always been the one to take care of others, and am not used to needing people to take care of me. I am also a happy and successful person, so to be diagnosed with such a devastating illness and to suffer 4 pregnancy losses, I just didn’t know how to handle such sadness. When we originally started fertility treatments, I believed it would be easy. I would pop a few pills, go to a few doctor’s appointments, get pregnant, and have a healthy baby. Little did I know at the time, that the first three things would be easy, but the final — and most important — would be so painfully difficult.
Now, as I prepare for my first round of IVF, I realize that our collective voice is so important! This disease affects millions of couples, and our society chooses to ignore it and us. Only 7 states in the US mandate health coverage for fertility treatments, and many insurance plans omit important fertility care. This is shocking! Infertility is a disease — we did nothing to cause this, and should not be punished because of our bodies’ inability to reproduce without medical assistance. We have an important voice in the fight against infertility, but it’s up to each of us to make sure our voice is heard and that we fight for our right to have children.
Infertility affects more than 10% of the population, and impacts our families, friends, and loved ones. It is time to raise our collective voice to educate and bring awareness to this awful disease. Together we can make a difference!