Over those years I learned a lot about infertility and a lot about myself. While it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, and I worry about going through it all again, I wouldn’t change it. I have learned so much about dealing with heartache, difficulty and how to help others going through trials.
Today I will be sharing my top 5 misconceptions about infertility
- JUST RELAX…IT WILL HAPPEN.
This is the most common and hurtful comment women struggling with infertility receive. Infertility is a disease. Can you imagine saying “just relax and you’ll be cured” to a person diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or any other illness? No. That is because most people don’t recognize infertility as a real disease. Infertility is created by a variety of real illnesses including but not limited to Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Uterine scarring, and Varicoceles.
This misconception that relaxing will cure infertility is also hurtful because it insinuates that infertility is mental. If someone has ever told you to relax, what has it done? I can probably guess that it didn’t make you relax, but probably just made you worked up. Infertility is a disease that rears it’s ugly head everyday. It is not something that can easily be forgotten. Women have monthly physical reminders that they are not pregnant and are often receiving treatments, have weekly doctors visits, blood draws, pills and shots to remind them.
Next time someone you know tells you they’re struggling with infertility, the absolute best thing you can say is “I’m so sorry. That is so incredibly hard”. Validating that what they are experiencing is real is very comforting and supportive.
- WHY DON’T YOU JUST ADOPT?
I had this question so many times! And I think it is definitely one of the most misunderstood aspects about infertility.
People would ask me often, “why don’t you JUST adopt?”. Oh how I would LOVE to! I LOVE adoption! But it’s not JUST adopt. Adoption is not a simple process like most people assume. Adoption is often more emotionally trying than infertility treatments. Many adoptions fall through at the last minute or birth mothers change their minds. It can be incredibly emotionally hard. Also, filing out paperwork, getting home studies, creating a blog, website or scrapbook of photos, and then waiting to be chosen by a birth mother is often a long process. Adoption is also, more often than not, considerably more expensive than fertility treatments.
So while so many of us with infertility would just LOVE to adopt, it is not as easy as it might seem. We are educated on our options and will choose to go down the path of adoption if we feel that is what is best for us.
- MAYBE INFERTILE PEOPLE JUST AREN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE CHILDREN
Or something similar, like, “Maybe God has another plan for you.”
Sometimes it is confusing to me why this is ever said. If you were to translate this question to other medical diseases it would sound a little bit like this “Maybe you were meant to die of cancer, so why do chemo treatments? Maybe God had a plan for you to spend your life in a wheelchair, so don’t bother with that prosthetic.”
Medical advances exist so that people can live better, longer and happier lives! Why is the disease of infertility one that shouldn’t be treated?
- YOU ALREADY HAVE KIDS, YOU’RE NOT INFERTILE
Another misconception about infertility is that you can not suffer from it if you already have had children. This is not true and is referred to as Secondary Infertility.
This infertility diagnosis is often the result of complications after a previous birth or can have no cause. Secondary infertility is extremely difficult for the couples experiencing it, and should not be minimized simply because they already have a child or children.
I have experienced secondary infertility first hand but in a different way than most. My parents had me without issue, but then experienced secondary infertility. The ache I felt for a sibling was real and I watched the pain of my parents as they wanted nothing more than to give me that sibling and to have another child.
- INFERTILITY MEANS IVF
Actually, fewer than 3% of couples struggling with infertility will need to do In-vitro fertilization. There are many less invasive treatment options!
Fertility Specialists (Reproductive Edocrinologists) recommend you see them if you are under 35 and healthy (regular periods) and have not conceived after trying for 12 months. And for those over 35, to visit a specialist after trying for 6 months.
A big misconception is that you need a referral from your OBGYN to see a fertility specialist. For most Reproductive Endocrinologists you can just call their office and schedule an initial appointment. Initial consults often just involve some diagnostic work and questions.
Well, those are what I believe to be the top misconceptions about Infertility. I hope that you were able to learn something new about a disease that affects so many!