Infertility Myths? National Infertility Awareness Week - NIAW
Seeking Truth During National Infertility Awareness Week
I’m doing a lot of reading these days. There is so much really helpful, well written material out there to read, it’s a delight that I am truly enjoying. I read a great blog published on April 16, 2014, about the myths of pregnancy in your 40’s, written by Heidi Hayes. (Full disclosure; Heidi is the CEO of Donor Egg Bank USA.)
One way I am honoring and observing National Infertility Awareness Week is by bringing in other resources for you, my readers. And so I will share what this blog evoked in me, why I found it compelling.
Myths are intriguing things. Here is the Merriam Webster online dictionary definition:
: an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true
: a story that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence
: such stories as a group
One way that myths are perpetuated in our day and age is not only by the media, but also by social media. In other words, us.
Infertility Myths and Truths
Here are some ideas that I hear constantly regarding infertility, fertility and fertility treatment that waver on a fine line between myth and truth. Truth being different than fact in that we are all individuals, with our own specific diagnoses, financial resources, insurance coverage. Where we live can make a big difference as well in what health care options are available or affordable.
The following statements can have some truth to them, depending on your unique circumstances. Realistically, we do run out of resources sometimes before we are able to conceive. Important to remember, these statements are not chiseled in stone, they are merely possibilities. They hold a bit of possible truth, the positive statements, and yes, the negative ones too.
- Fertility treatment is accessible
- Fertility treatment is unaffordable
- If you find the right fertility treatment program you will be successful
- I’m too old to have a baby
- Persistence pays off when trying to conceive
- I need a partner to conceive with
- This should be so much easier
Here are some emotional statements that often do have truth to them. Sounds like a pretty outrageous statement, doesn’t it? We do feel these things though, don’t we? Sometimes?
- It is shameful to be unable to conceive the “natural” way
- It’s unnatural to have a baby using fertility treatment
- I need to accept that I am not meant to be a parent
- We are damaged
- We are less than men and women
- Fertility treatment will never work for me.
- I am the only one in my group to ever experience this
It comes down to this: myths are created for reasons. Sometimes to explain unexplainable things. Sometimes to try to understand things that are impossible to understand. Myths can become urban legends and persist or they can be proven to be untrue.
According to Greek mythology, Helios would drive a chariot across the sky, carrying the sun; allowing the sun to “rise”. We no longer believe that is accurate and still we say the sun “rises”, knowing that in fact the sun is stationary and it is we that are moving.
The myths that are out there about infertility and fertility treatment are very soft. They are disproved on an almost daily basis, even as new ones arise. That’s how fast the technology is changing.
Spreading Truth About Who We Are for NIAW and Beyond
When it comes to the heart though, we can examine our own beliefs and feelings. We can be open and talk about it and learn that we are not alone. There is comfort in realizing that this is a reproductive disease that attacks not only our reproductive organs but also our sense of us. Who we are is not defined by infertility unless we allow that; unless we don’t fight back with every fiber of our being.
We are not infertile. We are human beings, men and women, whole and complete, reproductively challenged or not.
And that is not a myth.
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About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.