This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. This week unites millions of Americans who want to remove the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of building families. That description comes from the infertility awareness website but it also perfectly describes how I feel about the whole infertility situation. There is no reason that there should be any stigma attached to infertility, yet in 2018 it is still a taboo subject for many.
When Jarrett and I revealed our struggles to conceive we were met with an outpouring of love and support from family and friends. That didn't mean we didn't receive our share of opinions and suggestions on the subject. Let's go through the list the greatest hits shall we.
"Why don't you just adopt?"
"Not everyone is meant to be parents."
"Oh you just think you have to have a baby that looks like you."
"Why should I pay for your choice to have IVF?"
Some of those comments were from strangers, some from those closer to us. Now the responses I wanted to give were not the nicest of thoughts. I kept them to myself because comments like the ones I listed most often came from well meaning, but uninformed individuals.
If you have never dealt with infertility you can't fully understand the struggle. There are a lot of misconceptions about those who face infertility. Here are just a few.
We chose IVF because we think adoption is beneath us.
- Completely not true. Adoption was an option that we looked at, and still consider. The cost of adoption is just as expensive (in most cases it cost more) as IVF and it to does not guarantee a child. Adoption is not as easy as people would like to believe. Too often our favorite TV shows makes it look as simple as calling an agency and then 2 weeks later you have a perfect infant in your arms. Before you tell someone to "just adopt" please know the process of adoption.
When IVF is covered by insurance it will cause rates to increase.
- Not true. A lot of employers found when they added infertility coverage to insurance plans that cost decreased.
Destroying leftover embryos from IVF is the same as an abortion.
- That is false . Just because an embryo is created does not mean it would even implant once transferred. An embryo are simply cells.
IVF patients just want to play God.
- This remark has been made too often. IVF patients are simply doing what anyone else with a disease does. We seek treatment for our issues. Yes, I had the chance to choose which gender of embryo I transferred. Yes, I had the opportunity thanks to genetic testing to know my child had the correct number of chromosomes. That wasn't playing "God." That was making the best choice for my future child. I call that being a parent.
The good news in all of this is that overwhelmingly the number of people out there understand IVF is simply a means to have a baby. This is sadly because the number of people with infertility issues is growing. Most people know someone who have underwent IVF or have gone through the process themselves. Slowly the stigma surrounding IVF is beginning to lessen. This is a key element that is needed in order to keep rights for infertility patients.
If you are reading this and wanting to know how to help those with infertility it is easy to do. Have a heart. #Haveaheart is the official campaign of RESOLVE, which advocates for infertility patients. It means several different things but to me this is the thing it means most: show you care. There are many sites out there with great advice on how to help those though the infertility struggle.
For Jarrett and I the best support we received were the simple things. A phone call to just check in and let someone know you care goes a long way.
Getting the Bundle of Joy grant was a completely different type of support. We know we among the very few who received financial assistance. There are not many charities out there that give out grants. If you are looking for a great charity to support I can't say enough about Bundle of Joy. This charity assist couples in North Carolina through the REACH clinic. Our baby will be the 14th baby born thanks to the charity.
I promised in the title of this blog post that we would reveal the gender of our baby. When the time came to reveal the gender to family and friends we want to do something that would show our journey. We also wanted it to give hope to anyone going through infertility when they watched it. Jarrett is TV producer so he put his production skills to work. Thanks to his hard work and some assistance from two very special people, we had our one of a kind gender reveal. You won't see this on any Pinterest search but you can see it here....
Baby Glass Gender Reveal