Friday, April 27, 2012

Infertility Awareness Week

Ironically enough, this week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  RESOLVE is an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to infertility that I have recently come across.  Although I hated to think of us as infertile, the definition of infertility is anyone of child bearing age who has tried unsuccessfully to conceive for at least one year.  After a year and a half plus, three failed IUIs and now a failed IVF under our belt, I think it's official that we are infertile.  My stomach just turned when I wrote that.

I'm grateful that there is an organization out there that is working to help people understand this common, yet often undiscussed, issue and providing much needed advocacy.  Matt and I are so fortunate that his insurance covers much of our treatments, but I know we are in a very small minority.  I can't imagine it costs an employer that much more (especially in a large plan) to cover infertility when a relatively small percentage of the general population deals with it.  They also have some great resources for those going through infertility, as well as those supporting friends and family.

Through this process, I've connected with so many people that are also facing their own battles with infertility, one of them being a sorority sister whose husband started a blog.  Besides being a fantastic writer, it's really great to hear from the male's perspective.  He wrote an awesome "primer" on infertility that you must read if you are interested in that sort of thing.  It's truly amazing some of the things people say to you when you're facing infertility.  I swear, if one more person tells me to relax and maybe it will happen (especially after our very low fertilization yield), I will drop kick them.  Do you not understand that if you were to put odds on our chances of getting pregnant without IVF, they would probably be 1% or less?  Yes, that's still a chance but under the assumption that I have 12 cycles per year as a normally ovulating woman, that means that statistically, I would get pregnant once every 8 years and 4 months.  Of course, that's only statistics and means jack squat, but I just want to point out that relaxation is not usually the issue for why people don't get pregnant.  With IVF, the success rate for my age group is roughly 40-45%.  Lucky for us {dripping with sarcasm}, we fell into the 55-60% group this time.  Odds are that we will eventually get pregnant with IVF, but there are no guarantees on anything in life.  We also don't get an unlimited number of insurance covered tries and God willing, we don't max them out, but if we did, that's it.  If it hasn't worked by then, chances are it wouldn't.  So, we'll be saving up for adoption.  But, I digress.

As Carson pointed out in his post, the best thing you can say to someone facing this rollercoaster is just that you are thinking of them, praying for them, etc.  Provide support.  Don't ask questions (unless you are very close with said person).  Don't offer advice, especially if you haven't been there.  Don't diagnose.  Everyone deals with it so differently, but I think these tips would apply to anyone going through this.  For me, I am personally more open about it.  I am not bitter (much... yet).  Yes, I sometimes roll my eyes when I see yet another pregnancy announcement on Facebook, but generally speaking, I am truly happy (and slightly jealous, yes, but happy) for my friends who are expecting.  Close friends, please let your friend who is aching for a child know personally and privately that you are pregnant.  I think this is a common courtesy and though it may be a hard thing to do, she (or he) will appreciate it.  If you are pregnant, please don't complain about it.  I get that pregnancy is tough.  I am not saying that I won't ever complain about nausea, aches, pains, etc. when I am (God willing, please and thank you) pregnant.  But, for Pete's sake, DO NOT COMPLAIN in front of people who would kill for morning sickness, exhaustion, and sciatica over infertility treatments and more heartbreak.

Bottom line is there is nothing anyone can say to make it better but just knowing you have people who love, support, and pray for you means more than you probably realize.  Sending wine and Twizzlers as reinforcements probably isn't a bad idea either.


CrysHouse said...

Well said. Thank you.

Lisa said...

Great post. And thanks for sharing your friend's blog - his was very well written as well! My husband and I haven't tried yet, so I don't know where we fall in the "fertility spectrum" but with quite a few friends who are trying for a baby...this is really helpful for me to be a better and more supportive friend to them. I can't imagine what you're going through (and quite frankly, hope I never do) - but really appreciate you sharing your story. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!!