April 24-30 marks National Infertility Awareness Week, an annual opportunity to highlight a topic that is often ignored and marginalized. Katie Hurst was diagnosed with fertility issues in her 20s and received treatment that allowed her to give birth to a daughter last year. In this infertility success story, she shares her thoughts about her journey and the journey that millions of women often take in silence.
Infertility is rooted in hope. We hope to find answers, we hope to be confident in our treatment plan, we hope that this cycle will be successful, and we hope to see two pink lines. Among the many emotions, you experience through infertility, hope is the underlying emotion that rises and falls but is ever-present. National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is also rooted in hope. We hope that by raising awareness, we are seen, understood, and accommodated. That one of the most challenging, emotional, and heartbreaking times of our lives is validated and not something that is publicly overlooked or glazed over.
There are a lot of legislative and cultural changes that need to happen to truly make a difference in the lives of families pursuing fertility treatments, but change begins with awareness. Awareness is subjective and is often difficult to measure but it’s an essential first step in change. By raising awareness, we hope to create a world where conversations around infertility are not uncomfortable but normalized and held with empathetic respect. We hope that a family’s out-of-pocket costs are not causing them to weigh the importance of pursuing having a baby against anything else. We hope that through research, we can find why infertility diagnoses have risen in recent years. We hope that by raising awareness, we reach a family who is struggling to conceive and who may feel alone or is unaware of resources that are available to them.
We raise awareness because we hope to create a community for support and change. We do this by sharing our stories, talking as openly as we are comfortable, supporting others in the infertility community, staying informed of important legislation that impacts family planning, and participating in NIAW.