Listen Up! It’s National Infertility Awareness Week: April 23-29, 2017
With roots dating back to 1989, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is the annual cornerstone calendar event aimed at focusing attention and support for those working through the trials of infertility. NIAW was started by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and this group has worked tirelessly to promote three key missions. First, enhancing public understanding that infertility is real and deserves attention. Second, working with the public to ensure individuals trying to start a family understand what it takes to see a specialist. And finally, educating lawmakers about the specific impact infertility has on their constituents.
Whether you know a couple who is struggling with infertility or you’re working through it yourself, National Infertility Awareness Week is the perfect time to show strength and solidarity. This year’s theme, “Listen Up,” speaks to the need to truly open our ears, hearts, and minds to the needs of those who face fertility issues.
That’s a pretty bold statement, but let’s talk about what it really means to listen and show empathy and support.
First, it is important to understand infertility in its most basic form. Here are some staggering statistics related to infertility across the US:
- About 6.1 million women, or 10% of the female population in the US, aged 15-44 will have trouble getting pregnant or remaining pregnant.
- Approximately one-third of infertility issues are caused by the male partner in the relationship, one-third solely due to the female, and about one-third because of a mixture of issues between the man and the woman.
- 20% of women in the U.S. wait until they are 35 years of age or older to begin trying to conceive. Age is, therefore, a growing factor in fertility problems, and about 35% of women over 35 will experience fertility issues when trying to get pregnant.
The next piece of the puzzle is to Listen Up! and reinforce the notion that people with infertility matter. There are several groups you can join and support that foster a sense of community.
Team RESOLVE is a leading option, and it can help you connect with others to form or attend support groups, link with service providers, and even discover industry professionals who can help you or a loved one with infertility issues. A convenient helpline is available to support those who have unique, fertility-based questions and help you prepare for your visit.
Another option is to seek out the services of an online support group. Each day, more than 22,000 group members gather online to support each other through the challenges they are facing. This is a great option for those who have limited time, an inflexible schedule, or other obligations that may prohibit a lot of in-person support.
Another key concept in the Listen Up! campaign is supporting others who may be working through the trials of infertility. As a friend of family member of an infertile couple, you can rely on RESOLVE.org to provide you with information about etiquette, common myths and misconceptions around infertility to guide your conversations.
One of the most important tools provided by RESOLVE is a fertility assessment tool, which helps both men and women better understand their own fertility situation ahead of making a visit to their fertility clinic for additional help. While this is no replacement for a full examination and assessment by a qualified fertility professional, it does provide some helpful information that can point you in the right direction as you start your journey.
This year, think long and hard about the way infertility has affected your life or the life of a loved one. If you’re currently struggling to conceive, make sure you reach out to a leading fertility clinic that can help you start the family you’ve always wanted. Or, if you know of someone working through it, take the time this month to show them that you’re in their corner, and will be there for them whenever they may need it.