After my last miscarriage I realized just how much my silence about my disease was causing stress, feelings of isolation and building walls between me and those I loved. I needed support. I needed people to understand what it was like to lose a child. I needed people to understand what it is like desperately wanting a child for years and your body not cooperating. I needed people to understand why I was withdrawing from the world. Most of all I needed people to understand that infertility is a DISEASE not just an inconvenience!
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex (six months if over 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. It affects 7.3 million people or one in eight couples in the United States alone. (National Survey of Family Growth, CDC 2002) Infertility does not discriminate and affects women and men equally. Approximately 1/3 of infertility is attributed to the female partner, 1/3 to the male partner and 1/3 is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or is unexplained. (www.asrm.org) Diagnosis is not always easy for those suffering from infertility. It can involve invasive testing of both the male and female partners before an actual diagnosis can be made and for some there is no answer, just the dreaded unexplained. Treatment for infertility is a whole other story. It can be a very long road and can end at an agonizing dead end. With very few states having laws requiring insurance coverage for infertility treatment it can also be a very costly road as well.
G and I have been trying to have children for about five years now. We finally decided to seek the help of my GYN after a year of trying on our own with no success. After a lot of testing and exploratory surgery I was diagnosed with stage one uterine cancer. I had an amazing Oncologist who was willing to try and save my fertility. After ten months of hormone therapy and two surgeries I was cancer free. Once I was cleared of the endometrial cancer my diagnosis was a simple one…I am anovulatory. Over the last two and a half years we have gone through the gamut of infertility treatments. We have done oral medications, injectables, IUIs, IVF and FET. None of which resulted in me carrying a pregnancy to term. All of which taking its toll on us physically, emotionally and financially. Our journey to grow our family has not been an easy one and has been made more difficult by lack of awareness and support of others about this disease. After months of heartache and loss we realized (better late than never) that we needed to seek the professional help of a psychologist who specializes in infertility. Dr. M has been a fantastic resource in helping us cope with my disease, mourn our losses and help us make the move towards adoption.
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)