National Infertility Awareness Week

by sockii

National Infertility Awareness Week is a time when those affected by infertility try to reach out and raise awareness about this important medical condition.

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is a campaign sponsored by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. The goal of this annual event is to bring awareness to the struggles and difficulties faced by women, men and couples throughout the United States - and globally.

Infertility is no longer a disease we should be expected to suffer from in silence and misunderstanding about its causes, its treatments, and the ways in which infertility can affect an individual's emotional well-being.

The next National Infertility Awareness Week will take place April 24 - 30, 2016; the theme for the year has yet to be announced. Read on if you'd like to learn more about why NIAW is important, what political issues are currently at the forefront of infertility rights and campaigning, and how you too can get involved.

What Do You Know About National Infertility Awareness Week?

Have you heard about National Infertility Awareness Week before?

Things To Know About Infertility

Some basic facts and statistics

CoupleDo you know the true facts about infertility? Chances are unless you've been affected by it yourself, you probably don't. Even if you are affected, you may feel alone, depressed, or some how at fault for your condition when you are absolutely not to blame. Here are some basic data and statistics about infertility that you should be aware of (taken from Discovery Health and elsewhere):

* In America alone, infertility affects over 6 million women and their partners - that's about 10 percent of the reproductive age population. One in six couples will encounter difficulty getting pregnant and experience infertility to some extent.

* Infertility is not always "the woman's fault" - indeed, infertility affects male and female reproductive systems nearly equally. In approximately 30% of all infertility cases, there are both male and female factors causing difficulty in achieving successful pregnancy.

* In approximately 30% of cases, the causes will remain "unexplained infertility" despite full medical work-ups and extensive diagnostic testing. This only points out the complicated nature and many causes of infertility, and how even today medical science cannot provide all of the answers.
There is no such thing as a "miracle cure for infertility", despite thousands of websites and unscrupulous individuals promising such. The causes and reasons for infertility are far too numerous and different to all be "solved" by one single approach or drug product.

* Infertility is a disease. Albeit it took until 2009 for the World Health Organization to officially define infertility as a disease. This was an important milestone in recognizing the serious medical nature of infertility and helping to bring it more recognition and hopefully governmental and scientific support.

* Infertility is a disability. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme court held that infertility is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, most insurers in the United States still provide no coverage - or only extremely limited coverage - for medical treatment related to infertility. Many of those affected with infertility have to struggle in the workplace not just to afford expensive IF treatments but to receive fair treatment and understanding if they must take time off for procedures, testing, or rest during a difficult pregnancy.

Image credit

RESOLVE is the National Infertility Association of the United States. It is the organization behind National Infertility Awareness Week every year, and the first place to go for resources, community, knowledge and legislative news related to infertility treatment, support and awareness.

Books about Infertility on Amazon

Are you dealing with this condition? Arm yourself with information.

Wherever you are on your infertility journey, there are books and references out there which can help you out. Some focus on the medical aspects of IF: possible causes, treatments and medical procedures. Others look at the aftermath of infertility and how to move on in your life - whether you end up having children or not.

Past Year Themes and Writings

Looking back on NIAW in recent times

2015 National Infertility Awareness Week

"You Are Not Alone"

women at workInfertility can leave a person feeling isolated, alone, as if no one knows what you are going through. No one can understand.

But that is absolutely not the case. When 1 in 8 people are affected by infertility, chances are very strong it has affected someone else in your life. Probably several people. They may just be too afraid, too ashamed to talk about it - or simply not want to invite others into their personal affairs.

The theme of NIAW for 2015 was to embrace the idea that "You Are Not Alone". To share knowledge, compassion, and awareness to others. To share individual stories to illustrate how every one's path through infertility may be different but they all share common threads of experience and emotion. You can read the 2015 "You Are Not Alone" blog posts in the RESOLVE archives

Image credit

2014 National Infertility Awareness Week

"Resolve to Know"

2014 was the 25th anniversary of National Infertility Awareness Week. As such it was a year of reflection on what we've come to know about infertility, and an opportunity to pledge to learn more. More about the causes and treatments for infertility, more about when to talk to your doctor or a specialist, more about the support avenues and communities out there for those facing infertility themselves. 

In 2014 there were a huge number of responses to the "Resolve to Know More" blog challenge, and you can read 4 pages of those articles in the RESOLVE archives.

2013 National Infertility Awareness Week

"Join the Movement"

RESOLVE has launched their 2013 NIAW campaign with the theme "Join the Movement".

What does joining the movement mean? It can mean something different to each of us.

It can mean getting involved in RESOLVE or other organizations promoting IF awareness and activism.

It can mean participating in a Walk of Hope event to raise money for IF awareness and support.

It can mean being open about your IF struggles to others so that it is no longer a silent, "taboo" condition.

It can mean showing your friends and loved ones affected by IF that you care about what they are going through - even if you have never had to deal with infertility yourself.

2012 National Infertility Awareness Week

"Don't Ignore Infertility"

See no evilFar too often, infertility is a disease that is ignored by healthcare professionals, the government, insurance companies and the media. It is not seen as "important" as other health issues and conditions, despite the fact that so many people are affected by it worldwide.

People affected by infertility can also feel ignored by friends and loved ones because of their condition! At family gatherings, more attention is lavished on those with young children, those who have "continued the family name". In work environments, those without children are often asked to or expected to step in and do extra work when co-workers have responsibilities related to their children.

Also, sometimes we "ignore" the signs and possibility of IF until it is too late for effective treatment. We put off getting tested and talking to our doctors about our concerns - which can be dangerous as infertility can sometimes be a symptom other underlying health issues.

For NIAW 2012, the Bloggers Unite campaign asked people to write about the "Don't Ignore..." theme. You can read the "Don't Ignore Infertility" blog posts in the RESOLVE archives.

Image credit

Do you think people ignore infertility and those affected by IF?

2011 National Infertility Awareness Week

Busting Myths About Infertility

The focus of the 2011 NIAW campaign was to Bust a Myth about Infertility. There are so many misconceptions, myths and lies propagated about infertility that an important part of the awareness campaign is to spread some truths instead. RESOLVE challenged participants to blog about their experiences challenging these myths, some of those classic (and wrong headed) statements such as:

"As soon as you adopt, you'll get pregnant!"

"If you just relax, you will get pregnant."

"Infertility isn't a disease."

"If God wanted you to have children, you would have them."

"I don't need to talk to anyone about this. It's private."

"I'm less of a man because I can't get my wife pregnant."

Here are just a few of the wonderful responses generated by the challenge. Read them to learn more about the real experiences of infertility today...

Bust an Infertility Myth: Infertility is not a "four letter word" and Infertility doesn't go away.

Bust An Infertility Myth: Infertility Is A Private Affair

Bust a Myth: "I was infertile because I wrote novels/had a career in my twenties and thirties"

Bust a Myth: Infertility ends at Birth

Bust an Infertility Myth: Miscarriages Are Real Losses

Myth: Reproductive Immunology Treatments Do Not Work

Bust a Myth: You're young, you have plenty of time.

Infertility Myth: You're Alone

Myth: You Cannot Pursue Treatment and Consider Yourself a Believer/Religious.

Bust a Myth - Having a miscarriage means you are fertile

Learn more

More of my articles about infertility and infertility awareness
There's no reason to struggle in silence when dealing with infertility. Learn more about the infertility awareness movement and why it is so important today.
For those affected by infertility, Halloween is another holiday that can be difficult to cope with due to its emphasis on children and trick-or-treating.
If you are struggling with infertility, there are a number of great communities and organizations online where you can find support and acceptance.
What is the common thread that links all of those suffering from infertility? The realization that you are not alone. Learn more about the "Common Thread" project here.
Updated: 09/20/2015, sockii
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
sockii on 09/20/2015

@Mira - well, the laws (and insurance coverage regulations) are a bit tricky on the subject. Basically the issue of disability protection is that, say, an employer shouldn't be able to discriminate against someone undergoing fertility treatment/they should have to accommodate the person's schedule (which can involve lots of doctor's office visits on a very specific schedule.) But whether fertility treatments are or should be covered by insurance is much up to debate, and varies a lot in the U.S. on a state-by-state basis. I know that in some countries, with universal health insurance coverage, that healthy individuals under a certain age are covered for one cycle of IVF and other basic testing, for instance. But beyond that, they are on their own...and I don't necessarily think that's wrong. There are some people who will never accept that they aren't going to get pregnant, not after 3, 4, 5, even 10 failed IVF cycles and will keep going through it until they're broke/too old to try any longer. I don't feel that should be covered by insurance because it's the patient's choice to do that, and when there are other ways to move forward after being diagnosed as infertile (look into adoption, or accept/move forward with a childfree future.)

Mira on 09/20/2015

You've made some great points. I know of a couple who's really struggling with infertility, as they're both older and they wonder when it will happen. They don't talk much about it, but it's quite an issue. I am happy it was recognized as both an illness and a disability, but I don't understand why couples have to spend so much money if it's now treated as a disability.

You might also like

Childless by Marriage: A powerful book on love and sacrifice

Author Sue Fagalde Lick discusses a rarely talked about group of childless in...

The Baby Matrix: Challenging Society's Pro-Natal Prejudices

Is today's society unduly prejudiced against the childless and childfree? Aut...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...