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A New Campaign for Infertility
According to a new campaign by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association “People with Infertility Are Being Ignored.”
This campaign is on the heels of Breaking the Silence of Infertility, an article in the August 2010 issue of SELF magazine. Jennifer Wolff Perrine investigates why women are silent about their infertility struggles, and why the “reluctance to talk keeps us from getting the health care we deserve.”
The article is one-of-a-kind, says Barbara Collura, Executive Director of RESOLVE, a national, non-profit, infertility patient organization. “We’re doing everything we can to get it widely read and get people talking about it. That’s the most important first step,” she says.
A Pledge to Raise Infertility Awareness
The next step? RESOLVE wants you to take a pledge to help raise awareness about infertility.
“Many people are seeing [the numbers of people with infertility] for the first time and are shocked. They’re thinking, ‘If there are all these people that are going through this, why aren’t we hearing about this? Why isn’t anything being done?’” Collura says. “For us, it’s clearly that we’re being ignored. The [SELF] story is about the silence of infertility, but from an advocacy perspective, we feel like a lot of that stems from this feeling that no one cares and no one is paying attention to those with infertility.
“So the silence is really a self-imposed silence,” she adds. And silence has consequences.
Institutions Ignoring Infertility
“What RESOLVE is saying is look, yes there’s silence,” Collura says, “but there are also a lot of people and institutions that are completely ignoring infertility.”
And who are these institutions? According to Collura, they are the Federal government, which doesn’t look at infertility as a public health issue; the leadership at the CDC; and insurers and employers who don’t recognize that insurance coverage “is the right thing to do from a patient perspective as well as a cost perspective.” Ob/Gyns and primary care physicians also need to educate their patients about infertility, she adds.
What are the consequences of the silence? According to Collura, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) says it best: “If infertility patients are not going to advocate for themselves, how can they expect others to do so?”
“Many people don’t understand or have first-hand knowledge of how policy works in this country and how things get done. They shouldn’t have to. But what they need to understand and realize is a lot of the reason things have happened for breast cancer or other diseases is because people spoke out. If everybody kept quite and silent, how would anybody know? How would any politician know? It’s clear to us that the silence we all carry around with us has had consequences. Kudos to people who step forward, but it’s not enough,” Collura says.
Do More by Taking the RESOLVE Pledge
RESOLVE felt it was important to capture people’s reactions to the article (click here to read comments or leave your own). And, says Collura, the pledge is a way to offer something to people who felt like they wanted to do more: talk about infertility, support fellow infertility patients, refer people to the right kind of resources and to speak out.
According to Collura, “People speak out about infertility and tell their friends and family, and they’ve just educated a whole circle of people. It’s so impactful — and people don’t realize it. The pledge is an attempt to say, ‘we know you’re stirred by this article, and here’s a way for you to immediately do something. And really, we want you to do more, be that through RESOLVE or through your own ways of being an activist.’”