1 in 8 couples or 7.3 million women experience primary or secondary infertility in this country. My husband and I tried for 9 years before successfully expanding our family. As a 29-year old member of a very large extended family and a small, yet “fruitful”, church – infertility was unexpected and hit like a ton of bricks.
I struggled constantly to remain hopeful. The guilt and shame at times was overwhelming. Each month brought another reminder of dreams unfulfilled. Although surrounded by loving friends and family, infertility left me feeling alone and frustrated. Statements like “just relax”, “maybe you should adopt”, or “you’re too busy to have kids” were well intentioned, but extremely hurtful. To avoid the insensitivity, I withdrew further into isolation.
Last month National Infertility Awareness Week, April 19-25, called attention to this silent struggle that 25% of women and couples of childbearing age experience. Organized by RESOLVE, an organization created to promote reproductive health, this week offers events to share information about options and resources available.
African American women are nearly twice as likely to suffer with infertility issues as their Caucasian counterparts (11.5% vs 7%), but much less likely to seek timely medical attention.