The last couple of months I’ve been taking part in an infertility support group. It’s been so amazing to find that sense of camaraderie, even if we all wish there was no one else there. Each month we close the group hoping that next month everyone will have a reason to stay home.
But each month. There we are. Blessed to be in a space with like-minded women where we can cry, laugh, and complain without judgement.
We’re all at different places in our journey and our experiences thus far have been quite varied. But something I’ve noticed in all our discussions are a few misconceptions that we’ve all experienced. And I feel like it’s my job to share with you guys why they aren’t quite true.
Especially if you aren’t dealing with infertility personally I can promise you that you do know someone who is. And clearing up these misconceptions will go a long way in helping you as a friend or family member be more understanding.
Infertility is a Women’s Issue or Fault
The most common misconception is the idea that infertility is solely a woman’s issue or fault. Often even doctor’s will work under this assumption, without even bothering to test the male partner until multiple rounds of treatment have failed.
In reality, infertility is roughly 1/3 related to the woman, 1/3 related to the man, and 1/3 a combination of both or unknown completely. Whether it’s low sperm count, poor quality, or low testosterone there are a variety of factors that can contribute to infertility.
Beyond contributions to infertility, men also deal with the same stress, heartache, and struggle of infertility as their female partners. Too often though they’re completely left out of the conversation and you hear almost nothing about how they’re dealing. Which is why it was so important to me that I got Dustin to share his story.
Young Couples Don’t Deal With Infertility
At my support group, we’re all in our mid-twenties. And some of us (ok me) have been dealing with infertility since our early twenties. Yes, age definitely plays a factor into infertility and as people are marrying later and putting off children until later they’re finding much higher instances of infertility.
But infertility affects young couples too. And often that is overlooked, both by doctors and the public. Which makes these young couples feel even more alone and ashamed. Infertility is defined as a year of actively trying to get pregnant without success. But when doctors see that you’re in your early twenties they’ll sometimes wait to search for answers with infertility.
“You’ve got lots of time”
“Enjoy being young and married”
“You’re too young to be worried about this”
Are things that are definitely not helpful for young couples dealing with infertility. And I hope you’ll reconsider saying those things to anyone who tells you they’re struggling with getting pregnant.
You Don’t Know Anyone Dealing With Infertility
I add this one because statistically speaking, you do know someone dealing with infertility. For many people dealing with infertility, they are scared to share their struggles because of a fear of the shame. I’ve always been really open about my own struggle and never been shy about educating people about infertility.
Infertility is incredibly painful and incredibly personal. So don’t be surprised if someone even very close to you hasn’t opened up about their struggle. But just because they haven’t said anything doesn’t mean your actions/words don’t cut them. It can be hard to know how to act or react when someone does open up, luckily I’ve got a whole post for you on that topic!
Those are most definitely two of the worst words to say to someone who opens up to you about infertility. Not only is it insensitive and diminishes the couple’s hardship, but it also minimizes the struggles of adoption. Choosing to adopt is wonderful and something I’d personally love to do.
But it isn’t something that is right for every family. And it doesn’t take away the heartache of being infertile. An adoption is a wonderful option for growing your family. Whether you choose it because of infertility or because you feel called to it. But assuming that adoption is a one size fits all option for infertile couples is one huge misconception I’d like to see end.
If you’re dealing with infertility what misconceptions do you hear most often?