The online infertility community has grown by leaps and bounds since I stumbled upon it nearly three years ago, and with that growth a certain amount of mainstreaming seems to have happened. I am not saying anything against the "traditional" IFer, I myself fall into that category in many instances, but with this year's NIAW theme "don't ignore", I think it is a good opportunity to not only raise awareness within the general public, but among ourselves as well. I have too often heard from IFers who feel left out because their current circumstances don't look like everyone else's. So here some things that both the world around us and the infertility community itself should not ignore:
- Don't ignore that going through IVF, IUI or any form of ART is not what defines infertility. These are methods of attempting to resolve infertility, not the disease itself. Many people will find resolutions without ART but that doesn't make them any less infertile.
- Don't ignore that infertility resolutions are not one size fits all and not every path is for everyone. Likewise, just because there are choices that aren't right for you doesn't mean that it's not the best option for someone else in their journey.
- Don't ignore that choosing adoption is not an indication of "failure" at biological conception. It is a choice that everyone makes for many different reasons and due to their own unique circumstances.
- Don't ignore that choosing to live child-free is just as valid a resolution to infertility as any other and not a worst-case scenario or last resort. Our child-free sisters and brothers are a vital part of this community.
- Don't ignore that secondary infertility is real and it hurts. Having a baby easily the first time does not change that.
- Don't ignore that becoming a parent is not a cure for infertility. Most infertility survivors still struggle with their journey and will face the same as well as new struggles if they choose to attempt to have another child.
- Don't ignore that the ability to get pregnant doesn't mean someone is fertile. Losing a child or a pregnancy leaves people with the devastating hurt of infertility in addition to the loss of their child.
- Don't ignore the many men struggling with infertility that need our support too.
- Don't ignore that non-traditional parents face infertility just like every other group and being young, straight or married does not make anyone more deserving of our support than anyone else.
- Don't ignore that the pain of infertility is not a contest. There is no winner for who has been trying longer, who has done more cycles or who has spent more money. We have all been through our own version of hell and we should all be here to support each other regardless of the differences in our experiences and outcomes.
For more information of Infertility and National Infertility Awareness Week visit
- http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
- http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)