Saturday, April 21, 2012

DON'T IGNORE:  National Infertility Awareness Week

April 22nd marks the start of national infertility week.  From autism awareness to the lesser known diseases such as gullian barre, it seems that nowadays there is everything under the sun when it comes to fundraising, awareness and so on.  But what about those of us suffering with the difficulties of conceiving a child and starting a family?  Until I was forced to deal with it, I've never given it much thought either.  It's easy to ignore things that don't directly impact us.  Living in the shoes of someone who is struggling to have a baby, I can honestly say that this has forever changed my life and the way I look at things.  I feel that most people take for granted that they can have children if they so desire.  I feel that this issue is ignored by the general population, which is amazing to me considering 1 in 8 couples deal with some sort of infertility issue.  I have decided to paste my business all over the internet and speak up about it so things change.  Chris and I don't have a choice like many of you reading this do.  We didn't choose to struggle with this.  It is beyond our control, but we do have a choice to open our mouths and speak to others about what is important to us.  It could just as easily be you in this situation so I ask for your support.  

For most people, a career and a family are the two main things we strive for in life.  My life is incomplete because I am unable at this point to have a family.  For me and many of you, the culmination of life is the happiness of having a child and raising a family.  Imagine not being able to have the one most important dream of your life and there's nothing you can do about it?  It's not easy to deal with and not easy to see and hear others talk about what you can't have.

I'm asking you to take a few minutes and care about this....this could just have easily be you in this situation.  What can you do?
1)  Educate yourself:  There's nothing worse than to have to hear comments of insensitive or ignorant people.  Before this, I too didn't know much about this topic and I'm sure I said things that were incorrect and perhaps insensitive because I didn't know any better.  The prime example is "stop being so stressed out, stress can cause you to have difficulty conceiving."  The truth is that this is false.  There are many other enlightening things I've learned through this process and I'm a better person for doing so.  A way to start is to log onto and search the website.  It offers alot of education and support.  

2)  Advocate:  So many things are covered by insurance companies for things that aren't life threatening:  allergies, GERD, acne treatments,.... the list goes on.  Not to downplay these problems, but why do they get more attention and treatment?  Sure these problems affect quality of life, but so does infertility and probably in a greater way.  Who's to judge whether or not my insurance covers my treatment?  Some person in congress that's never had the heartbreak of 21 consecutive negatives, 21 times where their dreams are shattered.  Someone who's never had to deal with awful tests and procedures and someone who probably wouldn't find it difficult to come up with $20,000 for ART (assisted reproductive technology).  There are many ways to help.  One way is by going to  Look on the lower left of the main page under get involved and click on Send a Family Act 2011 letter of support to your representative. The Family Act 2011 is a bill to create a tax credit for the out-of-pocket costs associated with infertility medical treatment.  It could potentially help thousands of people struggling with infertility to seek medical treatment that would otherwise be out of reach to them.  The government has a tax credit for those who adopt to lessen the financial burden, but not for infertility treatments.   
    I am a responsible person and take care of my body and am otherwise healthy.  I have job and pay for medical coverage, however am unable to use my insurance for most types of infertility treatments.  Before, this I paid for insurance and never used it because I was healthy.  I see so many people who aren't working (some who choose not to) and who abuse their bodies, yet these people are allowed nearly free coverage for most medical ailments.  How is this fair?

3)  Don't be afraid to talk about it and ask questions.  Sure it can be an embarrassing and sensitive topic but pretending it doesn't exist is worse.  Ignorance makes the problem worse.

4)  Learn how to be sensitive and what to say (or what not to say).  Log onto and click on support and services, then on the for family and friends tab.  

5)  Be understanding.  While I am open about this and don't mind talking about it, there are times when I need my space.  Particularly around those who are pregnant and have families.  Sometimes the simplest comment can bring up a flood of emotions.  There may be times when I am unable to participate in family type events.  While infertility is a physical disease, it has an emotional component only those of us dealing with it can know.  Don't judge my feelings and don't take them personally.  

6)  Let us vent.  I have two full time jobs and 2 part time jobs. I work a full time job during the week and 2 part time weekend jobs in order to pay for medical treatment.  What you may not know is that my second full time job is dealing with infertility including doctors appointments.  This process is awfully time consuming.  It's emotional and stressful.  Right now this consumes our lives and we don't really have much else to talk about.  Many can sympathize, but few can empathize.  Trying to be understanding and placing yourselves in our shoes is helpful when we need to vent.  Sometimes all we need is an ear and someone who cares.  

So I ask that who ever reads this post does something.  Give me a shout out on face book to let me know you care, that you've read this and that you are behind Chris and I and the 7.3 million other people out there dealing with this. 

Helpful Links:

1 comment: