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Share Your ONE THING for National Infertility Awareness Week

FertilityAuthority,  April 25, 2009

Last week, April 25 - May 2, was National Infertility Awareness Week®, a movement to raise awareness about the disease of infertility which affects 7.3 million Americans. You can learn more about NIAW by visiting RESOLVE and reading our Editors' Blog.

Do your part to help others understand infertility's physical and emotional challenges by joining our “ONE THING” campaign to raise awareness and de-stigmatize infertility.

First, VOTE in our NIAW poll on our homepage.

Then, answer this question:

If you could tell a non-infertile friend, relative, co-worker or stranger
ONE THING about your struggle with infertility
what would it be?

Share Your ONE THING!

Dear Non-Infertile,
Here’s what I want you to know about me and my infertility:

(Post your ONE THING in the comment box below!)

Comments (40)

It's very sweet to say that it's tearing you apart watching me struggle month after month year after year for the last 13 years with infertility and only having 2 pregnancies in that time, both of which ended in m/c, BUT how can you possibly know what I'm going through when you have 3 healthy children of your own? If you've not struggled with infertility AND spend everything you have trying to conceive AND got nowhere, ONLY then will you have even the smallest hint of knowledge about how I feel on a day to day basis! For those who say you shouldn't have waited so long to start trying - I was 25 when I started trying, even if I'd been 16 or 18, the same issues would have been there. Sometimes age isn't the problem! Oh and sticking me in a room full of relatives who all are about to have, have had or just had kids isn't going to help me feel any better - it just emphasises the fact that not only am I the eldest one there, but I'm the only childless one there to - none of them have had to struggle like I have/do on a daily basis- really it doesn't help!

My wife's struggle for fertility is my struggle. I don't physically feel her pain, but I do feel every emotional aspect of this. It seems like people don't get that. 4 years, and noone gets it. If I'm randomly upset, ask me why. And genuinely listen when I explain that we had a failed cycle. Don't blow it off, ignore what I said because "I'm a man". I'm also a husband, a [father], a person.

Don't tell me I wouldn't be able to afford a child and am "not ready" because I can't afford to pay the $15,000 it costs to do ONE round of IVF in my state. You don't spend $15k in one month in the life of your child, but rather over the course of time. That is perhaps the MOST insensitive thing I've heard being said to an infertile person.

Don't try to help me by saying things like "just relax and it'll happen" or "God has a plan" or "Don't worry" or anything of that nature. It doesn't help. I've tried every mind-set for the past 4 years and guess what, it makes no difference. It doesn't coax my reproductive system to work properly. If not worrying prevented pregnancy, there would be NO pregnant teenagers or unwanted pregnancies. My struggle is hard enough without the insensitive comments that basically say "shut up and move on." My husband and I are doing the best that we possibly can. Say nothing if you're not going to be supportive.

Fortunately, I haven't experienced this problems and I don't want to either, but as far as I understood from my friend who has been attending a <a rel="follow" href="">cocaine addiction treatment</a>, there are certain substances contained in the treatments held in these centers which can make certain women sterile.

Just because some days are better than others, it does not mean I am over it. There are countless reminders, and as strong as I have become, some reminders are bound to find the chink in my armor that will bring me to my knees.

I really wish I could tell family members who know that I am dealing with infertility that it hurts to sit there and listen to you talk to me about someone else's baby, who was conceived by accident, and how cute this baby is and all the milestones it is reaching and how much they all just love this baby. It hurts to sit there and listen about a child who was born the same month I miscarried, which happened to be the only time in the last year and a half that I ovulated. You know everything I am dealing with. Please be more sensitive.

I agree so much with this. There is just something inside that makes you so uncomfortable when this happens and its not because you want to be this way, but it just hurts. I wish my family would honor this too.

Thank-you, dear relative/friend/co-worker (basically anyone I so wisely shared my life with), for your heartfelt empathy and advice. I do appreciate what you are saying; however, the woman you knew that had IVF/IUI/Chlomid etc and got pregnant does not necessarily have the same issues that I am dealing with. Just because she was successful with her doctor does not guarantee success for me. Oh, and IVF does not have an 100% success rate, you telling me you KNOW I'll get pregnant is nice, but not necessarily accurate. So please forgive me if I do not get as excited as you would like me to upon receiving this news.

Infertility is a chronic disease that darkens every aspect of one's life. Imagine looking into the mirror and not recognizing the person staring back at you. It is a life crisis that deserves acknowledgement and support from family and friends!

even though i have a child, infertility the second time around is just as hard. so please do not think i am being selfish and say "but you already have a child." (especially when i am hopped up on IVF meds. i can not be responsible for my response.) if anything i am more grateful to have conceived and birthed a baby because i had to fight for him.

I don't have any children yet, but a good friend of mine that I met in an infertility community was in your position. She had a baby (she conceived when she was real young 16 years old, and kept her) and when she got married she couldn't conceive. She tried and tried and struggled with it, especially with me because I am childless and infertile. She felt like she couldn't fully understand how I felt because she already had one kid and I have none. Let me just say that just because you have a child, it doesn't lessen your struggle. I am sympathetic to ALL infertile couples, not just ones who are childless like me. It's NOT wrong to want more than one child, it's NORMAL and people are so ignorant to that fact. I hope your IVF goes well. My friend eventually conceived, and that gave me hope. My struggle is going on 4 years now-- she took about 3-3 1/2.

Just because you are family (by marriage) nd had a m/c as well means you know what i am going through, especially when you don't know my full medical history. I will appreciate it if you don't take it upon yourself to tell me what supplements to take and evangelising me.

Please don't tell me I can "just adopt". First of all, I have to grieve the loss of never having a biological child - never deciding whose nose the baby has or whether they have grandpa's mannerisms - never carrying a child in my womb. Second of all, adopting a child is an arduous and emotional process. Your worth as a parent is judged and determined by someone else. No, there is no such thing as "just adopt".

You wouldn't tell a paraplegic that it could be worse, or a cancer patient, or a person with diabetes. Don't tell me it could be worse. Being infertile, losing my only two pregnancies that I've ever had, the last two years... none of it has been easy. Don't try to say that it is nothing. It hurts.

When I try to explain how difficult infertility treatments can be, please do not tell me that "it could be worse, at least you aren't having to go to chemotherapy treatments." This does not make me feel better. If I had cancer, at least people would not make stupid comments to me like, "at least you don't have AIDS." Not to mention the fact that my treatment would be paid for by insurance...

Just like I don't know how the hardships you may have faced in life feel, don't assume you know what this is like for me. Until you are in my shoes, don't judge me for my choices. - "Sarang"/Lisa

Tell me you are pregnant by email so that I can muster the appropriate response. It is not that I am not happy for you, but i need a few moments to be sad for myself.

My desire for a biological child has surprised even me. I always thought I would be comfortable adopting - and it turns out, it's not so simple. My deep longing for a child does not make me selfish. It does not make me an egomaniac. It makes me human. If you can't understand that, please keep silent. Your own emotional reaction to a crisis in your life might surprise you someday too. And I hope I will have more compassion for you because I have survived this crisis of my own.

-Don't tell me that just because insurance will cover it, we should do TDI instead of IVF. You clearly haven't been listening to a thing I've said, so thanks for that. -I'm sorry you're estranged from your children, but don't tell me that's harder than not being able to have children. Apples and oranges, apples and oranges.

...Don't assume that just because my husband is the half of our couple with 'fertility issues' that I'm basking in my 'fertility' and don't feel pain in all of this as well. I can't get pregnant with the man I love, I'm infertile too! ...Don't tell me, "Oh well, if the IVF doesn't work you can always just use a donor, I had a friend that did that and it's no big deal". You have NO idea what you are talking about, and it's the biggest deal we may ever face. ...Don't think that just because I joke and laugh and look 'fine' means that I am 'fine'. I cry myself to sleep at night too. That was three things. There are more, but they've all already been said.

Stop telling me about all of your friends who adopted and then got pregnant. It doesn't happen that often. Really, it doesn't. Stop telling me about your friends who got pregnant 'with no problem' in their 40s. It doesn't work out that way for a lot of us. And if I post in forum, trying to educate or bring light to infertility and my experience with egg donation... do not spill your hate, bile, ignorance, fear and intolerance on me. What if the woman who needed egg donation was your sister? Your aunt? YOUR DAUGHTER?

The one thing I want my non-infertile friends to know is that this oftentimes dominates my thoughts..that there is not one day that goes by that I do not think about my lack of fertility, ways to fund more treatment, limited options, etc. etc. etc. and that it is EXHAUSTING.

Please respect where your friend dealing with infertility is in the process - his/her feelings about it, ability and desire to talk about it, can change dramatically from day to day, even hour to hour. Give her space when she needs it...and be there to listen when she's ready to talk. And start with asking just that - "Do you want to talk about things or would you rather not right now?" I always found it helped to know my friends were thinking about me, even if I didn't want to talk about it.

Please understand that infertility hurts men as well and our inability to conceive is not just on the woman.

Following a miscarriage, there's no comfort in, "At least you were able to get pregnant." It doesn't feel like an upside...

Relaxing and trying not to think about it is not an option. When you are taking medicine everyday or going for bloodwork or ultrasound, etc. how can you not think about it. The financial burden is also far from being relaxing. Also, if you have children or grandchildren you have no idea what I am going through and you have no idea how hard it is.

Not being able to have children must just be "meant to be" for you. What!? Why do they always say this with infertility? There are lots of bad things that happen in life that are absolutely NOT meant to be.

I'm young. Please don't tell me that I should wait. Please don't tell me to "enjoy my time without kids"....

You'd never ask a woman who got pregnant through intercourse, "Why did you make that decision?" or "Why didn't you just adopt?" so why ask me?

Stop offering me your kids unless you really are prepared to give them to me.

Avoid giving me advice on what you think you would do in my situation. Hypothetical decisions are easy to make and you really have no idea as to what it takes to make decisions related to infertility.

When I talk about my infertility, just acknowledge that it must be hard or you are sorry. Avoid using "at least...." or "but...." or anything else that only ignores my pain.

Infertility goes way beyond the heartache of not being able to conceive: It's a life-changer that affects relationships, identity and planning for the future.

We never "get over" infertility, we can only manage it ... and some days are better than others.

I don't know that you understand what it's like to feel left behind by the universe this way.

When you announce your pregnancy, please understand that my tears are for me and my grief over my own situation.

I hate when people tell me I shouldn't have waited so long to start trying to have a baby. The issues I face would have been issues whether I started trying at 22 or 32 or 42. It's not always about age.

Someone actually said to me once "It (conceiving a child) really wasn't meant to happen that way". FYI, that is the wrong thing to say to someone going through treatments.

That's ok if they have that view, but then they should also eschew all technological advancements, including medicine and agriculture. The next time they reach for an antibiotic, remind them that should really take their chances, and that not only are they being true to their beliefs, but are practicing eugenics in a purely Darwinian way. The species will become stronger if they do. Hmm...this argument sounded better in 1939. Seriously, ignore people who are hypocritical. They're not worth your time, and unless the stupid out-breed the smart, you can sit back and enjoy your life. Keep trying. My wife and I are going through IUI, and we're praying it will work. Stay compassionate, and keep love in your heart always.

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