Every April, the National Infertility Association (RESOLVE) recognizes the many people around the world struggling to build a family. This movement began in 1989, and in 2010, a federally recognized health observance week was named by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is called National Infertility Awareness Week®.
This year, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) takes place from April 19 to April 25, 2020.
National Infertility Awareness Week is designed to spread awareness of infertility, to eliminate misinformation on the topic, and to empower couples across the nation to seek the help that they deserve. As described on Infertilityawareness.org, “This week unites millions of Americans who want to remove the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of building families.”
About 1 in every 8 couples in the U.S. has difficulty conceiving, due to both male and female infertility. Yet as common as infertility may be, it is still a very delicate and emotional topic for those affected. Infertility can bring pain, sadness, and even shame at times. Couples struggling with infertility often feel isolated or out of place. If you are struggling with infertility, know that you are not alone in this. There is help available to you. There is also a community of couples who are walking in similar shoes, who are sharing their own experiences, and who care about your story, too.
If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, now is the time to educate yourself on what infertility means – as well as what it does not. There are many misconceptions surrounding the topic of infertility today, and part of the goal of National Infertility Awareness Week is to dispel those myths. By learning more about infertility, you can better support your loved ones through this process.
Common Myths (and Facts!) About Infertility
- Only women are affected.
Fact: Infertility is not solely a woman’s issue. Both men and women can contribute to infertility. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one-third of infertility cases are caused by fertility problems in women and another one-third are due to fertility problems in men.
- Infertility is psychological.
Some unknowing people may assume that infertility happens when a couple tries “too hard” to conceive, and cannot relax about it. In reality, infertility is a medical condition of the reproductive system. It is not caused by emotions like stress and frustration, but rather, an underlying physical issue. If your loved one is struggling with infertility, it is important to recognize that what he or she is experiencing is real.
- Infertility means you cannot have a child.
Infertility means that a person has been unable to conceive a child without medical intervention, after trying for one year. However, this does not mean that this person can never have biological children. Many couples will try treatments (such as IVF) and go on to have children biologically. Other couples try alternative methods of growing their family, such as surrogacy and adoption. Surrogacy is an arrangement in which another woman carries a couple’s child to term. Adoption is the legal process of becoming a forever “mom” or “dad” to a baby that is not biologically related to you, but that is in need of a permanent home. At Adoptions With Love, we believe that families are formed by love – and that families by adoption are just as “real” as families by birth.
Adoption typically starts with an unplanned pregnancy. Usually, the expectant mother is not in a safe, stable enough situation or in a position in her life to raise a child at that time. She wishes to give her child the best possible life with another family. By choosing adoption, she gives her child loving parents, a secure home, and great opportunities in life. After the birth of a child, the biological parents sign legal papers allowing the adoption. Adopted children have all the emotional, social, legal, and familial benefits that biological children do.
How You Can Recognize National Infertility Awareness Week
This year, National Infertility Awareness Week is all about changing the conversation around infertility. You can do so by learning about infertility, talking openly about it with others, sharing resources and information, and honoring those who may be struggling during this time.
You can also get involved in virtual conversations. With #StayHome and #StaySafe initiatives in full swing, NIAW will be celebrated through an array of online events this year. RESOLVE is offering a calendar of events for families and friends touched by infertility, which include (but are not limited to):
- Guest speakers
- Virtual walks and runs
- Conversations with wellness experts
- Video courses
The National Infertility Awareness Association is also encouraging everyone to #WearOrange on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 in observance of Infertility Week. The color orange was chosen because it promotes a sense of wellness, emotional energy, and warmth. Studies support this, noting that orange can cause a boost in aspiration, contentment, confidence and understanding. By wearing orange this Wednesday, you can share your support and empower couples in their infertility journey.
Finally, to those of you who are going through infertility yourselves, we suggest prioritizing self-care and love during this time. Whether you just received a diagnosis or have worked through this process already, know that you are strong. You are brave. You deserve happiness. And you are not alone.
To the extent that you are comfortable, we also encourage you to share your story. The National Infertility Awareness Association is encouraging individuals from all over to share their experiences and develop a community this week. If you have explored adoption after infertility, you may also consider sharing your story with the Adoptions With Love community. Comment on our blog, or on our social media post, and let us know what adoption has meant to you.
Adoption Resources for Those Facing Infertility
If you are struggling with infertility and are seeking alternative ways to grow your family, you may be considering adoption. Adoption is a very positive option for those facing infertility, and can help fulfill your dreams of becoming parents.
If you would like to learn more about Adoptions With Love, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 617-964-4357. For over 34 years, we have helped many couples fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, domestic, private adoption agency licensed in Massachusetts. We offer a full range of services to prospective adoptive families in MA, including the home study, expert matching services, pre-adoption counseling, post-adoption support, and legal services throughout the process. We are here for you.
Contact us online to learn more about our adoption services and resources.