Infertility: It’s something that 7.3 million American of women will experience (that translates to 1 in 8 couples), yet many people still don’t see their doctor at the appropriate time or even feel comfortable talking about the subject.
Oh sure, perhaps we all know someone who jumped the gun and raced to the ob/gyn after two months of trying didn’t produce the all-important BFP (or “big fat positive,” as it’s cheekily known on the web on infertility message boards and sites), but so many, many other couples remain reticent and reluctant to talk about it with a doctor (not to mention with their loved ones).
Well, April 22 marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week and with it launches a campaign and site that aims to get people to see their doctor or seek out a fertility specialist at the proper time.
For women under 35, if you’ve been trying for one year and haven’t gotten pregnant, you should see your doctor. For women over 35, six months of trying is the threshold before most experts advise taking a trip to the doctor…for “a conversation.”
And that’s pretty much the thrust of the campaign—that“It’s Just a Conversation.” That just going to the doctor does not entail directly signing up for something like IVF, nor does it mean failure. After all, a 2009 survey found that 91% of people who had met with a fertility specialist wished they had done it sooner.
Yes, I realize that the site and the campaign is being brought to you by a giant pharmaceutical company. And, sure, are the drug makers hoping that eventually this all leads more people using their products? Perhaps! But at the same time, I think informing women about the choices they have and the facts on fertility and aging is also a valid educational goal.
And really, no one is going to subject themselves to the poking, prodding and potential discomfort fertility treatments unless it’s necessary, and far too many women do wait too long to see a doctor—out of shame, out of fear, or simply out of not knowing when they should and how simple it can be.
For more facts on fertility, for resources on finding a specialist and for help with questions you should ask your doctor check out the site, FertilityGuide.com. Or go to the National Infertility Association’s site, Resolve.org, for tons of great info as well as suggestions for ways to start talking (tweeting, blogging, chatting) about infertility.