Did you read that headline? 1 in 8 couples are affected by infertility.

Remember that first spring BBQ your neighbor hosted a few weeks back? Count the couples. Odds are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility on some level, even if they aren’t speaking it out loud.

That’s why RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, spends so much time promotion National Infertility Awareness Week. This year, NIAW runs from April 23 through 29. The theme is Listen UP!, and there are all kinds of ways you can get involved.

Are you worried that you aren’t getting pregnant as quickly as you should? Read, 10 Signs You Should Consider Fertility Testing, to see if it’s time to schedule a fertility appointment with us here at Overlake OB/Gyn.

Listen UP! Are you willing to spread the word?infertility awareness

Since the main point of NAIW is to spread the word about infertility, its causes and treatments, we’ll start there.

1 in 8 works out to just around 15%. That’s a significant number of people who are trying to get pregnant and can’t. And yet, for the most part, we don’t hear very much about infertility – or fertility treatment awareness – in the mainstream media. Infertility is always something that happens to “them,” rather than “us,” right? Well, as plenty of “us”es and “them”s can tell you – it can happen to just about anybody and there are so many varying factors involved.

Sometimes infertility is the cause of endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which affect the egg’s ability release and implant properly. Sometimes it’s the result of anatomical abnormalities, like scarred fallopian tubes or fibroid tumors that yes, you guessed it, block the egg from meeting the sperm or prevent a fertilized egg from implanting as it should (see the theme here?). Advanced maternal age, which affects egg quantity and quality is always a factor, and infertility can even occur as the result of an overly active immune system that treats the egg and/or fertilized egg as an “invader” and diligently kills it off.

Then there are male fertility factors involved, which are equally as common as female infertility factors. These include things like low sperm count, sperm that are abnormally shaped or sperm that don’t swim quite right. Sometimes men have an anatomical deformity and/or blockage that prevents sperm from being able to mix with semen before ejaculation or they may not make any sperm at all.

When it gets right down to it, there are too many things that contribute to infertility, and not enough is being said about it.

You can make a difference by participating in National Infertility Awareness Week

Your voice – and attention – can make a big difference in the movement towards infertility awareness.

For example:

  1. You can read and share stories submitted by participants. Every story you post on your social media network helps to get the word out in an exponential way. Have an infertility story of your own? RESOLVE and the rest of us would love to see yours added to the bunch.
  2. Watch and listen by clicking into the vlog page, where hundreds of courageous men and women have bared their souls to the world. Give yourself time because once you start watching it’s hard to stop, there are so many amazing infertility miracles to celebrate, and so many heartbreaks to connect to.
  3. Make it a point to get involved by taking part in a walk, hosting a walk, sharing what you learn on social media or simply showing a friend or family member that you support their cause and you’re willing to stand up with them (or lend a shoulder to cry on) whenever they need it.

As the NIAW page states, “Every voice, every story and every person struggling to build a family can make a difference, no matter how big or small it may be. Any way you can raise awareness will help increase public understanding about infertility.”

It’s the Overlake community’s sincerest home that someday, an infertility diagnosis will simply mean a slight medical hiccup for individuals and couples, rather than the beginning of a potentially arduous journey. Do your part to get others to Listen UP!