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?