Thursday, May 2, 2013

20 Things You Need to Know About Infertility

  1. You know someone who struggles with infertility. The statistics vary from 1 in 10 to 1 in 8 to 1in 4, but even at the smallest percentage, that means one out of every ten people you know struggle with infertility.
  2. Infertility is embarrassing. People make bad jokes. I was asked if my husband and I knew how to “do it” right. I had to keep a chart for my ob-gyn marking every day that we “did it”, marking my temperature every morning, marking my cycles. Someone gave me a Sex for Dummies book—I normally take jokes really well, but it was humiliating.
  3. Because infertility is embarrassing, many people don’t talk about it. I promise that you know more than one person struggling with infertility. I also promise that you won’t know everyone in your life who is struggling with infertility.
  4. Infertility and sterility are different. Infertility is not being able to conceive a child after twelve months of trying. Infertility can sometimes be overcome through medicines or procedures. Sterility is the inability to procreate. No amount of medical intervention can change sterility.
  5. Infertility is not always a female thing (even though Henry the VIII always blames his wives). Male infertility happens just as frequently as female infertility.
  6. Most insurance plans do not cover infertility treatments.
  7. President George Washington, the Father of Our Country, was likely infertile. He never fathered any children, even though his wife Martha had four children with her first husband.
  8. Infertility can be caused by many different things—hormone levels, glucose levels, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low sperm count, sporadic ovulation, low sperm motility, endometriosis, irregular menstruation, infections, scar tissue, and much, much more.
  9. Secondary infertility is when someone who has already had a baby has difficulty having another baby.  
  10. Secondary infertility is just as devastating as primary infertility. The fact that someone should be “happy with what they have” and be glad they already have a child does not lessen the blow that their hopes and expectations have been pulled away from them.
  11. In vitro fertilization is not the only course of action for infertility. Treatments depend on the underlying cause and will vary based on that. Many treatments are as simple as taking a pill a few times a month or changing your diet. Less than 3% of infertile couples are treated with in vitro fertilization.
  12. Alternative health care like acupuncture or herbal remedies seems to be beneficial at treating infertility.
  13. Infertility is a physical disease and must be treated as such. “Relaxing” won’t get rid of someone’s lupus or diabetes. It won’t get rid of infertility. However, learning to cope with stress is an important part of dealing with infertility, just as it’s an important part of dealing with any long-term disease.
  14. Depression rates in people with infertility are the same as in people diagnosed with cancer.
  15. Adoption is not a cure for infertility—it a cure for childlessness, which is not the same thing.
  16. Infertility increases with age. While society may think that 30 is the new 20, women’s ovaries haven’t got the message.  
  17. There are only about 600 reproductive endocrinologists (reproductive specialists) compared to over 28,000 ob-gyns.
  18. Baby showers and birth announcements can be really hard for those who are struggling to have children. 
  19. Hormone therapy used to treat infertility can make people extremely moody and sensitive with a penchant to get upset easily, rage astronomically, and cry uncontrollably. They don't act like themselves. They are usually aware. They don't feel like themselves. They don't like themselves either. Show them extra patience and love when this happens. 
  20. People with infertility like hugs as much as everyone else. Give them one. 


Stephanie May Anderson said...

Perfect post. I love all your posts, but this one hits home. Baby sister just had a baby this morning...not sure if anyone understands why I laid in bed and cried all morning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about such a personal and sensitive issue :)

Shawn and Teresa Nilsson said...

Thank you for this post. Last week was Infertility week and I've been in a funk every since :( I may need to share some of these facts with a few people... said...

After nine years, we finally were that tiny percent who tried IVF, and we WON! We got a bouncing baby boy. But I will never forget the sting of infertility and the maddening 'unexplained' part of it all. I think a part of me will always be infertile.

mbwebmarketing said...

this is a great read on infertility

Rachel said...

I kinda want to find the person who gave you a copy of "Sex For Dummies" and drown them in a bucket. Why do people gotta be such idiots?


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