Are you TTC and having problems? Do you feel ashamed, or guilty, or sad? It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and it’s the right to time to #StartAsking questions and to ask for the support you need. You can ask anything you want. Don’t feel embarrassed! Here are ten questions to help you #StartAsking.
What does “infertile” mean?
People who are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for 12 months without success, or 35 to 40 and trying for six months, or over age 40 and trying for three months are defined as infertile. Another form of infertility is recurrent pregnancy loss, which is defined as having two or more miscarriages before 20 weeks. One in eight U.S. couples are facing infertility.
If I’m infertile, does that mean I can never have a family?
Infertility is a condition that can be treated. Not everyone who suffers from infertility will be able to have a biological child, but thousands of infertile people in the U.S. now have children because of fertility treatment.
Is infertility my fault?
Infertility is not only a woman’s problem. In fact, one third of fertility cases are caused by male factors, one third by female factors, and one third by both partners or can’t be explained. It’s not a punishment for something you did. Don’t blame yourself or your partner.
How long should I wait to start treatment?
A woman’s age is the most important factor that affects her fertility. If you are experiencing infertility, especially if you are 35 or older, don’t let any more time pass before you consider fertility treatment. Time is not your friend when it comes to having a family. Consult a reproductive endocrinologist, who is a specialist in fertility treatment.
Will my health insurance cover fertility treatment?
Contact your health insurance provider to see if you have coverage for infertility treatment and IVF. Fifteen states have laws currently that require health insurance to cover at least some of the costs of diagnosis and treatment. Even if your insurance does not cover IVF treatment, it many cover diagnostic testing and some medications. Also, ask your company about benefits for infertility and ask your partner to investigate as well. Many employer groups have been purchasing additional benefit packages that cover all or part of the cost of IVF treatment. You can ask your company to offer this benefit.
How can I tell my family and friends we have fertility problems?
No doubt you’re tired of people asking when you’re going to start a family, when you’ve been trying for a while without success. It’s hurtful, and you don’t have an easy answer.
You and your partner need to decide how much information you want to share. Maybe you just want your immediate family to know you’re having fertility treatments, or maybe you want to share with close friends.
Let them know how you feel and how they can help you. Maybe you need hugs, a sounding board, or simply not to talk about it unless you bring it up. Whatever makes you and your partner feel better is okay.
Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my chances of getting pregnant?
Living a healthy lifestyle is key to your fertility, for both you and your partner. If either of you smoke, now is the time to quit. Smoking has been proven to reduce fertility in both men and women. Heavy drinking and use of drugs also affects fertility. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can help when you’re TTC naturally or with IVF. Even losing just 10 percent of your body weight can make a positive difference in your health. Moderate exercise can also help you both feel better and deal with stress. This is probably not the right time to run a marathon, because extreme exercise can wreak havoc on your ovulation and your period.
Does anyone else understand how I feel?
When you’re dealing with infertility you may feel alone in the world. There are many infertility support groups you can connect with to share your feelings and experiences with others who are or have been in the same boat. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has some of the most reliable and reputable resources, including:
- RESOLVE Online Support Community, a secure online patient community
- RESOLVE Helpline, to connect with a trained volunteer who has experience with infertility. Call 866-668-2566.
- Local RESOLVE support groups of peers and professionals who meet in your area and will help you feel less isolated and more empowered.
Is infertility hurting our relationship?
Dealing with infertility can be extremely stressful to a relationship. Your emotions are on a roller coaster each month as you TTC.
When you both want to have a family so much, infertility can bring physical, emotional and financial stress to a couple. It’s important to share your feelings with each other, be kind to each other, and realize there is no right or wrong way to feel. Support your partner and remember you’re in this together.
What treatment options are there for same-sex couples and single women?
Fertility treatment can make it possible for same-sex couples to have a biological child. For female partners, options include IUI or IVF with donor sperm for one or both partners, and reciprocal IVF, where one partner has IVF with the other’s eggs and carries the child. Male partners can have a biological child with their sperm and IVF with donor eggs and a gestational surrogate. Single women can have IUI or IVF with donor sperm as options to have a child.
There are many more questions you may want to ask about infertility. Now is the time to #StartAsking and get the support you need!