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a blog by Ellen Glazer, September 30, 2010

Going through infertility can be such a lonely experience. There are many reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that fertility is visible and infertility is not.

If you take a walk in a city on a lovely spring day, it seems the world is filled with pregnant women and young children. No one can so easily identify who among the spring walkers is struggling with infertility, nor can you tell which of the pregnant women or new parents endured years of infertility in order to get where they are. And it's not easy to tell which families were built through adoption.

As someone working in the field of infertility, I am keenly aware of how lonely it is to be going through infertility. However, as someone who freely tells others what I do, I am struck by how omnipresent infertility is.

Some cases in point:

  • When the UPS woman delivered a few cartons of books I wrote, she asked me what they were about. When I told her, she sat down and shared her IVF story with me.
  • When I checked into a flight a few years ago, the ticket agent — when they still had ticket agents — came up to me and said that we’d met at a fertility center, and she’d since had a baby.
  • When I went to get fingerprinted for some adoption work I do, the police officer doing the prints asked me what they were for. He, too, told me his infertility story.

Then there are the movies. Of course movies are filled with babies and pregnancies and “first comes love, then comes marriage…” stories. However, I am finding that more and more films include some reference to infertility. The Kite Runner comes to mind. So does, Casa Los Babies and, of course, Sex in the City. The documentary, Prodigal Sons deals with a family blended through adoption and birth.

Recently, I decided to take a break from all the serious Indie films and documentaries and chose total fluff: Did you Hear about the Morgans? is a comedy about a couple in the witness protection program. What I didn’t know was that their hiding place and new identities would be given away when they couldn’t bear to be out of touch with their adoption agency!

So, yes, fertility is everywhere, but infertility is as well.