What is National Infertility Awareness Week?
Each year, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) takes place during the last week of April (right before Mother’s Day). This year NIAW runs from April 21-27.
The aim of NIAW is to educate and inform the public about infertility. Since infertility is not often spoken about freely and many keep their personal stories to themselves, the more that people who have suffered infertility can openly share their struggles, the more they can provide their unique insight to the battle while also disseminating the stigma that can falsely be associated with it.
In addition, the movement hopes to help make the goal of getting insurance companies to fully cover infertility treatments a reality, which will help more people become parents and start families.
Infertility affects millions
About one in 7 couples (15%) have difficulty getting pregnant. Infertility affects at least 50 million worldwide, and approximately 7 million men and women in the United States. Infertility is usually diagnosed when a couple has been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for at least 1 year, or after 6 months if the woman is 35 years or older.
Infertility is caused by female factors alone in about 1/3 of all infertility cases, by male factors alone in another 1/3, and male and female factors combined in 1/3 of all cases. However, in about 10-15% of cases, no specific cause can be found and this referred to as unexplained infertility.
There is so much misinformation surrounding infertility and having a week dedicated to bringing awareness and education to the subject is vital in helping more people learn the basics, and distinguishing fact from myth.
babyMed is dedicated to providing the true facts about infertility in order to dispel the many myths floating around and also to help eliminate the stigmas attached to infertility:
10 Common Female Fertility Myths
20 Fertility Myths That May Keep You From Getting Pregnant
5 Common Myths About Male Fertility
"Just keep trying"
Before diagnosis, it can be frustrating to be told to “just keep trying” and it’s especially frustrating to feel as though you have to wait until there’s an actual “problem” to address. But during that 6-12 months of trying there are many things you can do to be proactive and help improve your chances:
Fertility Diet and Lifestyle Guide
What Preconception Tests Should You Get?
Once diagnosed, you will likely be faced with a long list of choices for often invasive tests. We’ve compiled a definitive list of all the testing options and provide science-based advice that will help you save time and money in your quest to get pregnant:
Fertility Testing For Women and Men
Male Fertility Testing: Sperm Analysis and Count
How to Collect a Semen Sample
Good Eggs and Bad Eggs: Ovarian Reserve Testing
IVF and insurance
The cost of fertility treatments, such as In-vitro fertilization (IVF), is incredibly expensive. Most health insurance companies won't pay for it. Insurance coverage is not available in 35 states in the United States. With prices averaging $16,000 per round, being able to afford IVF is a feat all of its own. One of the goals of National Infertility Awareness Week is to push insurance companies to recognize how vital is it to include IVF treatments in the list of covered medical issues. Because so many people are not covered for IVF treatment under their medical insurance plan, when they select how many eggs to try to produce during each IVF cycle, they often select the most available, thinking this will increase their chances and lower the cost of another future IVF cycle. However, this can result in multiple births, premature babies, and health concerns.
Addressing the emotional toll
Battling infertility can be isolating. You may feel like everywhere you turn, you see pregnant women and newborn babies. Of course, you want to be happy for family and friends who are pregnant but the heartache from the struggle of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant can feel overwhelming.
Often, the only people who really understand are other people who have or are going through the same thing. Joining a support group can be a lifesaver. Connecting with someone who understands and has been where you are is invaluable.
To learn more about infertility diagnosis, testing, and treatments, check out infertility guide.