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NIAW: Infertility isn't a Lifestyle Choice.


It’s National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW) — a movement to raise awareness about infertility, a disease that impacts more than 7 million Americans. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has been hosting NIAW for 20 years. And yet, awareness is still lacking. And stigma still exists. And women still feel depressed and alone. And men still aren't talking about it. And friends and family still don’t get it. And the media still sensationalizes it.

What I’m saying is, despite 20 years of efforts there’s still a long way to go. That’s why it’s great to hear about individuals and organizations that are mobilizing to help spread the word — from blog posts to sponsored events.

FertilityAuthority has launched a “One Thing” campaign. We want to know the one thing you’d tell a non-infertile friend, co-worker, acquaintance. We hope our infertile friends use this as an outlet, and that their family and friends use it as a resource.

My “One Thing?” Stop dispensing “well-meaning” advice and commentary.

Comments like, “Maybe it isn’t meant to be” or “Everything happens for a reason” aren’t helpful. Nor is, “Paint your bedroom yellow and clear out everything under your bed. Your bad feng shui is keeping you from getting pregnant.” Really, how can, “You don’t need to be parents” be helpful?

I wish there wasn’t such a need for awareness. I wish people didn’t see infertility as a lifestyle choice. I wish people weren’t ashamed to talk about infertility. But because they do, and because they are, and for all the reasons I mentioned above, please support NIAW in whatever way you see fit. And don’t forget to tell us your “One Thing.”

Jennifer A. Redmond

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