Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We are 1 in 8.

I love the idea of putting a face to it. One in eight couples of childbearing age in the U.S. face infertility. So, that may sound like a statistic... and it is... but let's put a face to that number.


Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system. It is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you are over the age of 35, the time of trying to conceive is reduced to 6 months. 

Infertility doesn't mean you will not ever have children.

I feel the need to make that clear because after i became a little more open about what we were going through (but before i went public, which i did after our miscarriage in March), i ran into an old boss at a store. I was buying a baby gift & she jokingly asked if it was for me. I said, "No... I wish!" (By this point of infertility, the filter was gone... i just told the truth.) So we got to talking about how my husband & I had been trying unsuccessfully for over two years and were seeking treatment. She said something along the lines of, "Oh, they say that when you're not thinking about it, that's when it will happen!"

When people say things like this, I don't get mad or upset. I used to, and i still might depending on what is said and how it is said. More often than not, though, I just enlighten them. Things like that are said out of ignorance. Knowledge is power. And let's be honest... if i wasn't go through this myself i wouldn't know either. So my response to her was, 'That may be true for people who have been trying for about 3 months, but when you are infertile, it's a little different. It's an actual medical problem."

Maybe i shouldn't have said "when you are infertile". Maybe that was a little too strong. It seems like if i had said, "when you're going through infertility" she wouldn't have reacted the way that she did, even though they mean the same thing. But i used the word INFERTILE & as a result, her eyes got REALLY BIG & she said, "OH. You're INFERTILE?!?!?!"

I just smiled and said, "It just means we have been trying without success for over a year. That's what infertile is. It doesn't mean we will never have kids. It just means we are going to need help to get there." And wow. The relief on her face was priceless.

You see, it's all about education. And i don't say all this to sound like I'm on some high horse. People just don't know. They don't know because they haven't been there.

Here are some other facts about infertility (taken from Woman's Health & RESOLVE)

-Approximately 1/3 of infertility is attributed to the female, 1/3 is attributed to the male, and 1/3 is a combination of problems in both partners, or is unexplained. (There are both female & male causes in our situation.)

-Most infertility problems in women are caused by problems with ovulation, such as PCOS or POI. Other causes of infertility are blocked fallopian tubes due to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or surgery from an ectopic pregnancy, problems with the uterus, or uterine fibroids.

-Male infertility problems are caused by varicocele, or sperm problems such as low sperm count, morphology or motility. Sometimes a man is born with the problems that affect his sperm. Other times they start later in life due to illness or injury.

-Even though infertility is recognized as a disease among worldwide health organizations, most insurance companies do not recognize it as such. This is why infertility treatments are not covered by most insurance companies (although some states are better about it than others). My insurance covers ZERO, so everything we pursue in order to become pregnant comes out of pocket. (This angers me because we pay good money every month for health insurance, but the only things we have needed it for is RE appointments, labs & procedures.) Our insurance company calls infertility treatments a "life choice" & it's listed as one right next to liposuction!

As you can see this TRULY is a medical problem. Not just a matter of needing to relax.  Not just an issue of stress or bad timing or it not being meant to be, but a disease of the reproductive system. And this is why it is important to spread knowledge, to raise awareness. So others can have a better understanding of what it is.

Thank you for reading. By reading & understanding this post you have helped to understand those dealing with infertility. You are helping others who are, like us, that 1 in 8.

7 comments:

  1. sweetheart I had no idea you were going through this! You guys are in my prayers. I love all that you said than this! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Great post, Mel! I truly hope and pray that your journey with infertility will end soon, but God is definitely using you in this time to help educate and encourage others. I don't say that as a cliche "you'll be happy you went through this later," but it's good to see when "good" comes out of something bad.

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  3. Stumbled upon your blog today through the Infertility Awareness link-up. My husband and I are also part of the "1 in 8". We're starting our first round of Clomid in just a few days. It's a big relief to hear other women/couples talking about it and attempting to gain awareness! I wish you tons of luck as you continue this terribly messy, but completely worth it, journey.

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  4. Also visiting through the Infertility Awareness link up. You're so right---education is key, because people who've never been through it just don't know. Thanks so much for sharing your story--reading the experiences of girls just like me truly keeps me sane!

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  5. Great post, i have yet to write about our infertility issues on my blog, but we tired for over 3 years with no success and then our story ended with a successful pregnancy and beautiful baby girl born in October, we couldn't be happier and i hope that you get your beautiful too :)

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  6. I totally agree about infertility being a medical problem. It amazes me how many people - even people who are having problems themselves trying to conceive - who don't recognize it as a medical issue!

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  7. XOXO thank you for being so open about your journey and your story.

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Comments are my favorite.