Canadian Infertility Week/We're the 1 in 6
Well, I thought I had better write something about infertility since a) we are infertile, b) it's infertility week, and c) b/c since we are infertile, and this is partly what my blog is is about!
So, yes...it's Canadian Infertility Week May 19-28 (it was US's Infert week last month, and I had planned on writing something during that week, but I never got around to it, so, US friends, this is partly for that week as well).
First off....here's a little factoid for ya..
So..back to my post....we are the one in 6. I actually am surprised that the number is so high. I would have thought that the number would have been less.
Here are few infertility facts:
Infertility can be traced to either the man or woman, or a combination of both:
- 3 times out of 10, the cause is in men.
- 4 times out of 10, the cause is in women.
- 2 times out of 10, the cause is a mix of factors from both male and female.
- 1 time out of 10, at first, no specific cause can be found.
- age (fertility decreases after age 35)
- problems producing eggs (which shows up when she has no period/menstrual cycle, or no regular one)
- having a sexually transmitted infection (STI), like Chlamydia (which can cause blockages in the fallopian tubes)
- problems in the uterus (like fibroids or polyps)
- problems with the fallopian tubes (like missing tubes or blockages)
- endometriosis (excess of tissue that gathers around the reproductive organs)
- hormonal imbalances
- early menopause (before age 40)
- 91% of women can get pregnant at age 30
- 77% by age 35
- 53% by age 40
- poor sperm quality (their rate of movement and shape)
- low sperm count, or lack of sperm
- a history of sexually transmitted infection (STI), like Chlamydia
- hormonal imbalances
- past treatments for cancer (like chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery)
- some chronic illnesses (like diabetes), as well as their treatments
- tobacco and alcohol use
- being under weight or over weight.
Infertility has become a dirty little secret. A taboo subject. Something NO ONE talks about. People feel uncomfortable about talking about, about being around people who are infertile. Heck **I** am uncomfortable with it. I think what bugs me most about is that the world thinks that adoption, IVF, and fostering are solutions to the problem. Guess what? They're not. They cost money. They have their own emotional ups and downs. Oh, and maybe the couple don't want to do it. Maybe they just can't. I consider Anker and I "truly infertile", meaning that we will never have kids...no way, no how.
People think that we have given up...that we don't want kids, b/c we are letting the fact that we don't have money stop us from adopting...or at least fostering. Sadly, there are more issues than money. If that were the problem, then we would have started saving (or at least campaigning) long ago. We have health issues..I can't carry a baby (ok, this comes under the IVF, etc route), hubby feels that he is too old to have kids...he doesn't think his patience can handle it....he doesn't think that he can give the child what they need, and he just is plain too tired. Am I upset? Yes. Angry? Yes. And not just on how he feels, either...I am sad and angry that I can't have a baby. But that's our life. If we were to get pregnant tomorrow, we would both be shocked and excited, and be on board with it, but sadly, that will probably never happen. It is what it is.
So, where am I going with all this? Mainly, to make everyone aware that infertility is ALL around us. Sitting next to you at/in church; in line at the grocery store; your co-worker. It's as prevalent as cancer, or ALS, or diabetes. It's not an obscure disease (and yes, I consider it a disease). I wish Canada understood this. I wish our medical system covered IVF (or at least some of it). It covers abortions and sterilizations, so why can't it cover a round or two of IUI, IVF, etc? Canadian government needs to be more aware that this is becoming an issue for MANY of us. There needs to me more research done, and more funding in this area of medicine. There needs to be walks, fundraisers, news reports on this. There needs to be more support groups in more cities. I am hoping to start one up here this summer. I am glad that more there are groups (and celebrities) that are taking a stand and talking more about this , but there needs to be more. I love Resolve and Infertility Awareness of Canada. They are awesome about spreading the news on/about this. They hold conferences, and are very vocal; they have a big internet presence. Some politicians (and big names in the medical community) are speaking about this...trying to make legislation to make funding more accessable.
So...what do I suggest? Yes, it is easy to do nothing (which, sadly, I am guilty of doing), but you can write an email to your premiere, Health Minister of your province, and of course, to our PM. American friends...email your congressmen, senator, and governor, and the president. Other countries, you can do the same. A lot of websites will have a template of a letter that you can send (which I may or may not have just discovered until now). Speak about in your church. If you are able to do a talk in your Bible study or care group, bring this up. Have everyone sign the letter. Ask your pastor to do a sermon (or, better yet, a series) on infertility. Are they doing a series on Family? Ask them to do a sermon on infertility (ok, this is more a spiritual, personal part about it here, but you get the jist).
Are you struggling with infertlity? Do you know someone who is? Here are some tips....
For those of use who are struggling...
Be kind to yourself.
Don't go to Baby showers if you don't want to.
Let yourself grieve.
Don't isolate yourself...
...but allow yourself to stay home if needed.
Don't feel the need to explain your thoughts and feelings.
...There are so many more I can post...but you get the idea...
For those who know someone who is struggling...
Let them grieve.
Don't pressure them to go to baby showers, etc...
..but don't presume they don't want to go, either. Invite them...they will go, or not go.
Don't ignore them (as in don't not invite them out, etc).
Don't automatically ask about adoption or fostering. It's not for everyone.
Don't spend all the time talking about your kids, and "mommy" things.
..again, there are so many more I could write, but those are a few .
So, there you have, folks! Just a few things that are going around in my head about this very sensitive and personal subject.