I have a question for you, dear friends. Is infertility more common than it used to be, are we more open to discussing it, am I just at the age where this is something many of my “tribe” are dealing with, or all of the above?
When I had problems getting pregnant I was the first person I had ever met who had been to a reproductive endocrinologist. A friend put me in touch with someone she knew who had recently done IVF and so I used her doctor. And when I was going through procedure after procedure and failure after failure I was the only one. I was alone. (Except for the vast internet – thank you again, internet). I was scared and ashamed. I felt isolated and alone.
Now every time I turn around I find someone who is struggling to get pregnant. And they’re not always just talking to me about it because they know of my situation. And especially now that I have the twins, no one outside of my circle has reason to suspect I had issues with fertility. Seriously, I’m going to list out some of the people in my life that are dealing with infertility, because the number of people I know IRL that are dealing with these issues is shocking to me. And this isn’t an exhaustive list!
- My best friend from grad school was diagnosed with PCOS 2 years ago. Successfully got pregnant after a regulated medicated cycle. (Age 33)
- My sister was diagnosed with DOR but just had her second “miracle” baby. (Age 34)
- My office mate from grad school’s wife had a recurrent hormone producing cyst on her ovary. Did 2 rounds of IVF and is currently pregnant with twins. (Age 36)
- Another friend from grad school was diagnosed with PCOS. Had 2 losses, and now has a 1 year old son as the result of Clomid. (Age 38)
- Found out yesterday that my college roommate has unexplained infertility. She successfully got pregnant after 2 rounds of Clomid. She wants another but her husband doesn’t want to go through the process again. (Age 39)
- My cross fit trainers wife has DOR. They did 3 rounds of IVF and were unsuccessful. They are now the parents of 2 little girls that they adopted. (Age 26)
- The lady that sat next to me on the plane last week had 5 rounds of IVF, 3 miscarriages, 1 living child.
- My boss and his wife were never able to conceive despite fertility treatments (see my post about that)
- Coworkers sister has been through multiple unspecified unsuccessful infertility treatments (more here)
- Two different acquaintances are currently undergoing infertility screening as they have each been trying for more than a year to get pregnant without success. (Age 32 and 33)
- My mom’s best friends middle daughter called me a few weeks ago because she’s starting her 3rd round of IVF and is (of course) terrified that it won’t work and they are considering donor eggs as a possible next step. (Age 28)
- A friend from high school has 2 kids, both conceived using IVF. She has unexplained infertility. (Age 34 at time of first IVF treatment)
It seems like every time I turn around there is someone else who is dealing with infertility. Is it just me? Am I more in tuned with it now? Or is it my age? We all know fertility decreases when you get older but age 35 isn’t a cliff you fall off of into infertility. Or maybe, just maybe, is the stigma associated with infertility lifting a little?
What do you think?
I think it is partly due to the fact that many of us attempt getting pregnant later in life. Also, I think people are becoming more open about discussing infertility. And then maybe because we have gone through it, we are more in tune with it.
So a little bit of “all of the above”? 🙂 Are you having the same feeling? That there are so many people struggling with infertility?
Sure does feel that way! They have come out of the woodwork! ☺️
I think all of the above. I also have to wonder a little bit about exposure to environmental/agricultural toxins, GMOs, allergens/inflammation—I wonder if there are any studies…
I think one of the gifts of social media is destigmatization. Hooray! I saw so many photos of lit candles on FB on Saturday.
Me too. ❤
This definitely has something to do with it. I know young people suffering from infertility, not just those starting a family in the mid 30’s onwards. I’m lucky to have a son now, after IVF, but when I was battling I remember I used to think “how come those who live in poor countries with poor hygiene, not enough food and no access to health care often breed a lot, don’t seem to struggle with infertility?” I’m sure there are cases of infertility everywhere, but I used to find it ironic that countries hit with famine can have huge families.
A Few Good Eggs said:
My thought is that people are talking about it more and that people are waiting longer to have children. The internet allows us to connect with others going through something similar, which perhaps makes us more brave and willing and to share our experience with people we know personally? I have found that I am much more willing to talk about infertility now than when I was first diagnosed almost four (wow) years ago.
Good point! That rings true to me. As the conversation medium has changed it has allowed us to connect with others and work through our initial fears and “talking points” which makes us more willing to connect IRL. I hadn’t thought of that!
The EcoFeminist said:
I don’t know anyone who’s had IVF beyond bloggers here. It’s 1 in 8 who are affected so I think you’ve just got a lot coincidentally in your network.