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Coming WAY Out of the Infertility Closet

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a blog by tori, March 23, 2010

I am out of the closet . . . the infertility closet.

My friends know, my family knows, my coworkers know . . . heck, the random person walking down the street might know something about our infertility.

If you know me at all, you most likely know that my husband and I are infertile. You probably know that I’m a teacher, I love kids and that we’ve always wanted a family. You know we started trying two years ago and that we’ve undergone treatments. You may also know that one round of treatment was successful, at least for a little while.

If you bring up babies in a conversation or ask me why I don’t yet have a baby, prepare to know. In detail. If you ask my husband, prepare to know even MORE detail.

Why? Because I know that for changes to be made in the way people think about and treat infertility, people need to talk about it.

I know that it’s a rough subject and I know it can be uncomfortable, but most important subject are.

The need for advocacy, when it comes to infertility, is vital. If you are currently on your own infertility rollercoaster, then you are probably already aware of the lack of knowledge most people have about the subject. Dealing with people who aren’t going through the same thing can be really difficult. People, in general, don’t get it. They can’t unless they’ve been there, and while I’d never wish infertility on anyone, I definitely wish they had more knowledge about it.

Teaching people about infertility seems to happen in layers. Layer one seems to happen when you don’t want it to. It’s the layer that happens when people ask, “Why haven’t you started a family yet?”

Now, I know that not everyone is comfortable answering directly, but if you are like me, then normally it goes something like this, “Actually, we’ve got a whole team of professionals working on that for us, hahaha” or, “Actually we would love to start a family, but for us it’s going to be a long journey.”
Layer one, for me, is the hardest.

After that, the layers, seem to be a little easier. I like to tell people a little bit about what type of infertility we’re dealing with, and what our treatments are/will be, and what our experiences thus far have been.

Then I like to delve into a bit of advocacy. I want people to know that most insurance doesn’t cover infertility. Not because I want their pity, but because people need to know that insurance, basically, is not covering procreation. For many people this means that if you are unable to procreate in a totally naturally way, then you are unable to have a family. I want people to know that even if treatments are “covered,” like with the insurance we used to have, that it can still cost thousands of dollars per cycle.

People don’t know this, they really don’t. They don’t get that this is like saying, “If you can’t walk into a building naturally, you don’t get to come in” or, “If you can’t see a book, you don’t get to read.” It’s unfathomable to me, and it should be to anyone, that a person’s right to have a family can be denied, even though -- as we all know -- many people out there choose to recklessly play with their lives and have children in unstable homes every day. These people aren’t “tested,” they aren’t expected to pay thousands. They get what is natural, and so should we.

I refuse to be ashamed of the path that my husband and I are taking to achieve having the family we deserve. I don’t want my children to ever feel ashamed that their family was not built in the “normal” way. Advocacy can help change the way that people view fertility treatments, and hopefully over time, it will change the way that insurance companies see treatments as well.

There is no pity at my party. I am proud to be an advocate.

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Comments (4)

Thank you so much for this article and for your advocacy efforts. Talking about my infertility was very diffcult for me, but once I came out of my own closet I found that it seemed even harder for my friends and family to talk about. Several years and two children later, and people still do not like to talk about this with me.

Infertility makes most people really uncomfortable, but there are so many myths about it that people need to start being educated and understanding how difficult this really is. Studies have shown that infertility patients face the same stress levels as those going through cancer treatments. They really need the understanding and support of family and friends. The old "relax and you'll get pregnant" or "just adopt" doesn't cut it anymore! Infertility is a very complicated and difficult journey. There are many wonderful paths to resolution, but most of them are not simple.

RESOLVE, a national infertility organization, is dedicated to advocacy, education, and support, and is a great place to turn for help. I highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree, talking about infertility will increase awareness/acceptance and decrease fear/shame/misunderstanding.
I think its great there are social networks and online communities committed to infertility, but how can those struggling with fertility resonate outside of this already engaged and interested audience?

Thank you for this insightful blog entry. I will definitely share this post. It is very motivating and I agree with you on many levels. I think people do not want to share because they feel ashamed that their body or partner's body is broken. But maybe, just maybe, knowing that this is very prevalent, will help people feel less ashamed.
Liz Richards, L. Ac.

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