Sunday, April 19, 2015

Infertility :: You Are Not Alone

Today marks the beginning of National Infertility Awareness Week. There's a part of me that wishes I was not intimately aware of infertility, but I am. I have walked {am walking} the hard and heartbreaking road, and I can now say, "sweet sister, I know, and I understand, and I'm sorry this has been your journey too. You are not alone." I know what it's like to try month after month with no baby. I know what it's like to feel like you're going crazy because you're doing everything "right." I know what it's like to sit in the doctor's office and hear the words, "you will not be able to have children of your own." 

I feel like my participation in raising awareness is different for infertility than it is for Crohn's Disease. When I write about my Crohn's Disease in December for that awareness week, it really is more of a scientific/research awareness in hopes of finding a cure. It also helps other people understand my disease, and some of what I experience in living with it.

But for infertility, I'm not necessarily trying to raise awareness for a cure. It's not that I don't want a cure for infertility {because I definitely do!}, but it's such a larger issue than that. Instead, I'm trying to raise awareness for the grief and the heartache that 1 in 8 couples are experiencing. Because most likely someone you know is experiencing {or has/will experience} this difficult journey. It can be such a lonely journey, and they need understanding and love and grace during this incredibly hard season of life.

Today I will be sharing just some quick facts and basic awareness statistics. The rest of this week, I will share some more details about our personal experience of infertility.

  • Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive {or after 6 months if you are over 35}.
  • The World Health Organization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognize infertility as a disease.
  • 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
  • 1/3 of infertility is considered female-factor, 1/3 is considered male-factor, and 1/3 is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or is unexplained.
  • Couples ages 29-33 {without infertility issues} have only a 20-25% chance of conceiving in any given month, and 60% of couples will conceive without medical assistance after 6 months of trying.
  • Of the 44% of women with infertility issues who have sought medical assistance, 65% will give birth.
  • 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive technologies like IVF.
  • Only fifteen states have passed laws requiring that insurance policies cover some level of infertility treatment. The ACA does not require coverage for infertility treatments.
  • Researchers have found that in states that cover fertility treatment, the number of high-order multiples is lower.

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