Infertility can affect anyone – it doesn’t know the boundaries of gender, race, religion, sexuality or income. Everyone coping with this serious medical condition knows the challenges that abound – medical, financial, and emotional. What can help is creating an environment – or, better yet, a community – where facts, not myth, and acceptance not stigma, are the rule and not the exception. The ability to have a conversation and gain understanding and support goes a long way.
Since 1 in every 8 Americans has been diagnosed with infertility, it’s very likely someone you know – a family member, neighbor or co-worker – is dealing with the disease and all its stressors. As RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and sponsor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) reminds us, it’s not just older women who waited too long to have children. While you may not have yet had a conversation with someone close on the topic, there’s a way to show you care during NIAW from April 22-28. Join millions of people across the country dedicated to the proposition that everyone who wants to build a family should be able to.
This year the goal is to “Flip the Script” and change the conversation about infertility and family building issues. You can help advance the cause of building greater awareness and support on critical issues by sharing information about the magnitude of the problem, who it affects and how overwhelming it can feel. Describing the many barriers including lack of insurance coverage, high out-of-pocket costs, problematic state and federal laws, plus faith, religion and sexual orientation illustrate the reality faced by many who want nothing more and nothing less than to have children.
Only through a better understanding of these issues – including who is affected – can we hope for positive change. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the public, insurers, lawmakers, media, and health professionals understand all that’s involved including that infertility does not just affect the person or couple seeking to start a family. Besides other family members and friends, coping with infertility also affects co-workers and employers.
So, what can you do? So much! That’s why ARC Fertility joined RESOLVE as a NIAW co-sponsor and will actively participate along with our partner clinics. To get started, RESOLVE’s NIAW home page is full of ideas about how you can join in – from creating local events to using your social media skills – to spread the word and build a community that understands and supports family building needs. More than ideas, there are even instructions for how to get it done. In addition to NIAW participation opportunities for individuals, family and friends, family building professionals can also get involved and should check out the NIAW Tool Kit here.
To build greater awareness of family building issues and fundraise, you can create your own local event: ask your local library to feature infertility and adoption-related books during awareness week; ask your yoga teacher to donate a class where the fee becomes a donation; or, hold a benefit happy hour at your favorite restaurant. If you want to help through Facebook, Instagram and more, RESOLVE offers social media suggestions and tools including NIAW social media images to download, facts to share from your home state and how to create your own Facebook Causes page with your story and a donation option. For more fundraising ideas, click here. You can also submit your own personal story for consideration to be posted on the NIAW website during awareness week.
If you choose to create a local event, be sure to submit the event information to be listed on the NIAW calendar so as many cities as possible can show their support for building community.
Coping with all the issues that confront those diagnosed with infertility takes a lot of energy, courage and perseverance. Whether this is your journey, or that of a family member, neighbor or colleague, please take the time – especially from April 22-28 – to share information and experience. Change or “Flipping the Script” can only occur with your help as part of a strong and vibrant community dedicated to making it better for everyone.