With the start of National Infertility Awareness Week I have been thinking a lot about, well, infertility. I am glad that this week exists, yet I find it sad that infertility is still so unknown and unacknowledged. It is not a new "issue" yet many people are completely clueless that couples actually have trouble conceiving. I think that there are several reasons for this, one being ignorance. And I believe that most ignorance exists because we (infertiles) decline to discuss infertility. I understand how difficult that it can be to share our struggles with people. Once you open up about infertility you open yourself up for criticism, advice and patronizing comments. All of which can be painful. None of us want to hear that we need to relax or pray harder, but we often do from well meaning individuals.
Another reason for the silence is that infertility involves S-E-X. Who wants to share these nitty gritty details? I sure don't! And I don't think that we need to tell the cashier at the grocery store about your latest hoo-ha inspection or your hubby's semen analysis, but we each have many opportunities to educate people on not only the clinical side of infertility but the emotional side as well. Until we do we will constantly be the recipient of idiotic advice.
I am very open about infertility. Very! Sometimes too much! But I am tired of people, especially in our Christian circles, condemning IUI and IVF due to lack of knowledge. So we feel shame over our diagnosis of infertility and now shame over our reproductive choices? How fair is that? I have studied that biblical side of infertility and see no basis for these opinions. And yes, that is what they are though many claim it to be the gospel truth. We alienate those that are hurting and it needs to stop.
Now that I have learned about embryo donation/adoption I am now quick to educate those that are interested about this choice as well. It saddens me that there are so many couples out there that are unaware of this options, both possible recipients and donors. I was on the baby.center.com website and someone posted about disposing of her embryos. She was feeling guilty about wanting to do this and was looking for someone to assuage her guilt. I posted my story of being a recipient of donated embryos and encouraged her to consider this option. I do not know if she will or not, but that one post sparked some conversation. One woman wanted to donate her2 embryos but was under the impression that you could not donate less than 4 at a time. I was quick to tell her of agencies that would take her two precious embryos and she has already contacted them to donate. Another women messaged me to ask me more questions because she was now interested in donating as well.
Infertility has been the hardest trial in my life and I refuse for it to be in vain. I will do everything that I can to inform and educate people about this often silent struggle. I hope that many of you feel this way as well. And for those of you that are still shy about it, maybe this week you can find an opportunity to share your story with someone and maybe help someone else that is struggling or educate someone about infertility.
So how open are you about infertility?