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Infertility Awareness Week – April 24-April 30

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Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples and affects both men and women. Infertility is defined as a medical condition which is diagnosed after six months of unprotected sexual intercourse for a woman under 35 years of age and one year for a woman 35 and older.

Couple looking at negative home pregnancy test

Invisible Loss and Silent Grief

When we consider the loss of a family member, friend, or even a pet, there is an awareness by friends and acquaintances of the loss. Our society has rituals for bereavement. As a result, family, friends and acquaintances often express sympathy and support. Rituals and open expressions of support do not often accompany infertility.   A diagnosis of infertility often means broken dreams of parenting and having the family that one has imagined and hoped for. The milestones of pregnancy, baby showers, childbearing, child-rearing, family get togethers, play dates are lost. The loss is significant. For those experiencing infertility, the loss can be a lonely road.

Lack of Insurance Coverage for fertility treatment

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures,

 “Since the 1980s, 17 states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia—have passed laws that require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment. Of those states, 15 have laws that require insurance companies to cover infertility treatment and two states—California and Texas—have laws that require insurance companies to offer coverage for infertility treatment.”

When fertility treatment is not successful

Many couples will undergo fertility treatments without success, often at great expense. Further considerations such as egg donation or sperm donation may be recommended. Of course, coming to terms with the loss of one’s biological connection to the child born through IVF represents yet another loss.

Gestational Surrogacy. The journey to parenthood can often wind its way through a long and expensive process. First, a diagnosis of infertility followed by challenging infertility treatments. Sometimes, egg donation or sperm donation is required. Even then, a successful pregnancy may not occur. Usually, this has been a long and exhausting road which leads to deciding whether to pursue parenting through adoption, deciding to embrace life without parenting or having the family one dreamed of or pursuing gestational surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy represents significant costs. Gestational surrogacy usually involves having a person one hardly knows carry one’s child. The process can seem overwhelming.

With all of this in mind, let’s all take a moment to think about those we know who may be facing the challenges of infertility and for those who have not faced infertility and have children and the family you dr

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