NIAW: Resolve to Know More About Infertility

national-infertility-awareness-week-2011I’ve had a hard time figuring out just what to write about for this week. For those who don’t know, this week is the 25th annual National Infertility Awareness Week. This years topic is “Resolve to know more…”. The problem is, there is so much education that needs to happen. So few women and couples even know the basics of fertility outside of the idea that SEX = BABIES we were taught in school. Reality however, is that 1 in 8 couples will have difficulty conceiving. So I’ll start with the facts:

  • Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity (impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term): 6.7 million
  • Percent of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity: 10.9%
  • Number of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile (unable to get pregnant after at least 12 consecutive months of unprotected sex with husband): 1.5 million
  • Percent of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile: 6.0%
  • Number of women ages 15-44 who have ever used infertility services: 7.4 million


Please also remember that infertility IS NOT always the woman’s fault:

  • 30% of infertility is female factor
  • 30% of infertility is male factor
  • 25% of infertility is unexplained
  • 15% of infertility is a combination of female and male


And in case you were confused, I am one of those womenIt took me a very long time to not only own up to there being a problem, but to seek out help for it. You might wonder why. I mean, if something is wrong, you just go to the doctor and get it looked at and/or fixed right? You would be correct for most things. However, despite the fact that infertility is classified as a disease (The World Health Organization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognize infertility as a disease.), in the medical insurance industry it is considered a cosmetic procedure. That means that treating a couples inability to conceive is viewed the same as a boob job for cosmetic purposes.

Yes, that’s right. The insurance industry equates the treating of problems with the biological process of reproduction the same as it would someone who wants to make their b cup breasts a d cup. Totally the same thing, right?

And before you even suggest it, yes we all know we could adopt. But before you even say that, how much do you know about the adoption system? Did you know that there are wait times? Take a peek:

U.S. Newborn Adoption – Average Wait Time

Average time from preparation of portfolio to match with
birthmother (includes time spent in false starts): 

Less than 3 months………………..34%
4 to 6 months……………………….19%
7 to 12 months………………………20%
13 to 24 months…………………….17%
Longer than 24 months……………10% 

Time between birth and legal finalization:
   Less than 6 months………………..54%
7 to 12 months………………………38%
Longer than 12 months………………8%

  • 35% of respondents experienced at least one false start.
  • 15% were matched after the child had already been born.


Then there is the cost:
U.S. Newborn Adoption  – Average Cost

Agency Attorney
Homestudy fee $1,912 $1,640
Agency application & program fee $14,161 $6,413
Attorney fees $3,548 $10,261
Document preparation & authentication $1,114 $640
Advertising/networking $2,017 $3,259
Birth family counseling $1,085 $483
Birthmother expenses $3,076 $5,246
Travel expenses $2,198 $1,895
All other expenses $4,682 $1,628
TOTAL $33,793 $31,465
  • 35% of respondents experienced at least one false start. The majority (71%) of false starts cost less than $5,000.


Then there is the foster care system. Which while free, takes months to get approved. You then wait to take in a child, knowing that the entire purpose of the foster system is reunification. So you must learn to be okay with the very real possibility of having to give that child(ren) back to their biological family. In 53% of cases, children are successfully reunified with their families.

That’s not to say those aren’t options. They are. However, they still don’t cure a couples infertility. Telling someone to adopt when they are lamenting their inability to create life is insensitive and ignorant. They aren’t asking for a solution, they are asking for someone to listen. Same goes for telling us to relax. In my case, relaxing won’t make my fallopian tube miraculously start to work, or grow back the one I lost this time last year.

Anyway, I am getting sidetracked. All of this is to say, educate yourselves. Sex DOES NOT always equal babies, despite what your home ec teacher taught you. If you know someone suffering from infertility, stop giving them advice and just listen. If you’re suffering from infertility, know you aren’t alone. If you’re worried about your fertility, go to your OB and get a checkup. If you’ve been trying to conceive (TTC) for over a year and are under 35, seek out an RE. If you are over 35 and you have been TTC longer than 6 months, also seek out an RE.

If you want to know more, check out the Resolve website.

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