NIAW: Infertility 101

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National Infertility Awareness Week is a movement to raise awareness about the disease of infertility which affects 7.3 million Americans


Infertility 101: Get the facts

Myth: Infertility is a women’s problem.

Fact: This is untrue. It surprises most people to learn that infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated during an infertility work-up.

Myth: Everyone seems to get pregnant at the drop of a hat.

Fact: More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. When you seek support, you will find that you are not alone. Join RESOLVE, a support group, or talk with others who are struggling to build a family, so that you won’t feel isolated.

Myth: It’s all in your head! Why don’t you relax or take a vacation. Then you’ll get pregnant!

Fact: Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system. While relaxing may help you with your overall quality of life, the stress and deep emotions you feel are the result of infertility, not the cause of it. Improved medical techniques have made it easier to diagnose infertility problems.

Myth: Don’t worry so much — it just takes time. You’ll get pregnant if you’re just patient.

Fact: Infertility is a medical problem that may be treated. At least 50% of those who complete an infertility evaluation will respond to treatment with a successful pregnancy. Some infertility problems respond with higher or lower success rates. Those who do not seek help have a “spontaneous cure rate” of about 5% after a year of infertility.

Myth: If you adopt a baby you’ll get pregnant!

Fact: This is one of the most painful myths for couples to hear. First it suggests that adoption is only a means to an end, not an happy and successful end in itself. Second, it is simply not true. Studies reveal that the rate for achieving pregnancy after adopting is the same as for those who do not adopt.

Myth: Why don’t you just forget it and adopt? After all, there are so many babies out there who need homes!

Fact: For many, adoption is a happy resolution to infertility. But choosing how to build your family is a very personal decision. Learning about all the ways to build a family can open your eyes to options you may not have thought of as a possibility. Education is key to finding resolution.

Myth: Maybe you two are doing something wrong!

Fact: Infertility is a medical condition, not a sexual disorder.

Myth: My partner might leave me because of our infertility.

Fact: The majority of couples do survive the infertility crisis, learning in the process new ways of relating to each other, which deepens their relationship in years to follow.

Myth: Perhaps this is God’s way of telling you that you two aren’t meant to be parents!

Fact: It is particularly difficult to hear this when you are struggling with infertility. You know what loving parents you would be, and it is painful to have to explain to others that you have a medical problem.

Myth: Infertility is nature’s way of controlling population.

Fact: Zero population growth is a goal pursued in a time of world overpopulation, but it still allows for couples to replace themselves with two children. Individuals or couples can certainly elect the option to be childfree or to raise a single child. Infertility, for those who desire children, denies them the opportunity to choose.

Myth: I shouldn’t take a month off from infertility treatment for any reason… I just know that this next month will be THE one!

Fact: It is important periodically to reassess your treatment and your parenting goal. Continuity in treatment is important, but sometimes a break can provide needed rest and renewal for the next steps.

Myth: I’ll be labeled a ‘trouble maker’ if I ask too many questions.

Fact: The physician/patient team is important. You need to be informed about what treatments are available. What is right for one couple may not be right for another, either physically, financially, or emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctor.

A second opinion can be helpful. If needed, discuss this option with your physician.

Myth: I know I’ll never be able to stop treatment until I have a pregnancy.

Fact: Pregnancy is not the only pathway to parenthood. You may begin to think more about parenthood than about pregnancy. You may long for your life to get back to normal. You may consider childfree living or begin to think of other ways to build a family.

Myth: I’ve lost interest in my job, hobbies, and my friends because of infertility. No one understands! My life will never be the same!

Fact: Infertility is a life crisis — it has a rippling effect on all areas of your life. It is normal to feel a sense of failure that can affect your self-esteem and self-image. You will move through this crisis. It is a process, and it may mean letting go of initial dreams. Throughout this process, stay informed about the wide range of options and connect with others facing similar experiences.

More RESOLVE Resources.
NIAW Homepage

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If you haven’t been here before or are fairly new to my blog, here are some posts that should answer questions you may have about where we are in our journey to having a family.

Infertility Etiquette.

Footprints.

6 Years.

Gut Feelings.

Conflicting Feelings.

A Poem Called ‘Wait’ – not written by me.

Book Recommendations.

Road Rage / Baby Rage.

Asking for Infertility Success Stories.

Presentation Sunday.

Acupuncture & Infertility.

My Most Recent Pity Party.

So, if you read those, you should be caught up. For the past year and a half, we’ve done zip, zero, ziltch. And yes. It sucks that we’re at a standstill. Hopefully one day soon we’ll be able to move forward in whichever way we’re supposed to.

Please just remember those of us that are going through this and either don’t say or word things carefully because even though we may put on a brave face, words can really tear us apart inside.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this.

    I’m ‘done’ with treatment for now. I’m ready to feel like myself again, and when I’m on the meds and hormones and getting bloodwork every week it’s hard to be me. So I need some time off.

  2. Hey love, hope you don’t mind if I steal the infertility 101–

    I’ll be sure to link ya 🙂

    Love ya!

  3. Thanks for sharing. All the best in whatever you decide to do…

  4. love love love love love this!!!!!

    after 13 years of infertility, i hated all the “helpful” tidbits. sadly, now that i have sofie, people are saying “see, you just needed to relax”…grrrrrrr

  5. Big hugs to you Megan as I think of your journey. Having just “met” you through reading your blog, I feel like a Mama Bear ahead of you on this road.

    Most days I am perfectly content with the lot in life God gave us as a family of 2, but there are days, like yesterday when our friends stopped by on their way home from the hospital with their 1 day old baby. As thrilled as I was to meet my new little “grandbaby” (the Mom is young enough to be my daughter … and she’s 25!), I couldn’t help but feel sad today as I thought “we’ll never get to experience that feeling of bringing your child home the first time”.

    It’s hard sometimes to resolve in our heads that God’s plans are ALWAYS for our good, when they hurt so badly. That’s where our faith comes in!

    I know that “limbo” feeling and I pray that God gives you & your hubby the peace, comfort and even joy while you await the next step God has planned for you!

    God bless you ~ Hugs ~

  6. My heart breaks for you. I’m so glad you posted this though because I think it is a great read!

    I am praying for you all the time!

    (((BIG HUGS)))

  7. I like that list. It’s funny, there are some things on there I still need to hear, there are some things EVERYONE I KNOW needs to hear, and there are some things that seem so obvious they don’t need to be said – and yet they weren’t obvious to me a few short years ago. We’re on the other side of the looking glass now, I guess.

    In re: standstill – I started following your blog a few months ago and it took me a few weeks to get all my “people” straight in my head. After I got that, it took a little while to get a sense of who was doing what – and realize that I hadn’t heard any mention of cycles and emotional roller-coasters and POAS from you.

    And then I realized that was something I enjoy about your blog, actually – you’re living your life and having a good time and doing great things, which is what you write about – not your injections or your embryos. Not that I mind reading about those things, I like reading other people’s journeys, and I may be on meds myself some time soon. But part of what prompted me to blogging was the idea of JUST BEING an infertile woman (hence my blog title!) – that it’s part of who you are, and yet doesn’t have to be active, the frantic pursuit of something, but just something you live with.

    All that is not to say, of course, that being in treatment wouldn’t be good for you guys too (I’m realizing I don’t know why you stopped treatment – reevaluating direction? Taking a break? Treating endo? Saving up for more treatments? Maybe I need to go back and read some older posts), just that your life actually seems more beautiful and healthy than the treatment insanity – the insanity may be unavoidable, but I feel like it masks who we really are, which is probably more sad than deranged.

    I do go on, and I’m still not entirely making sense. Anyway, thanks for posting this.

  8. What a wonderful post, Megan! Suffering through 15+ years of infertility and 4 miscarriages, it’s still hard to really talk about – particularly to people who just cannot fathom what it’s like to go through all of that.

    Even after having my miracle baby, the doctors still scratch their heads over how I was (finally) able to be (successfully) pregnant – particularly at my, ahem, ‘advanced’ age…and even more so after going through a barrage of tests afterward to see if we could add a sibling…which the tests revealed was a no way, no how.

    I appreciate you and your blog more than you could ever know. 🙂 ((HUGZ!))

  9. Thank you for sharing this.
    I have some fertility concerns, and information is power!

    Also, I have two awards for you on my blog!
    Yes, two… ’cause I think you’re wonderful! 🙂

  10. I read all your posts. wow.

    I have always had a gut feeling that I will have problems conceiving. I have always had a really crazy irregular cycle, and I am overweight.

    before I got married, I sat Sweetheart down and told him that we both had to be prepared to either not have children or have difficulties trying to conceive.

    I dont know how I feel. on the one hand, I have spent my whole life telling myself that I might not be able to have kids.

    now that Im married, I look at Sweetheart and I feel an urge to have a baby.

    my doctor agreed with me that, based on many factors, getting pregnant will not be easy. Im scared. I havent really faced it. I guess Im avoiding it.

  11. ((( hugs ))) Keeping ya in my thoughts.

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