Opening Up About Infertility
By Dr. Roshini Raj
One in eight couples has difficulty getting pregnant. And while more than 7 million Americans face infertility, many don’t know where to turn.
Infertility can be an incredibly stressful experience, but there are places you can go for information and people you can turn to for support. Above all, it’s important to open up with those you can trust. You don’t need to face this journey alone.
Here are my suggestions for some good sources for support and information:
Family and Friends
Infertility can be a scary topic, and something that many couples don’t discuss, even with those they are closest to. A Merck survey found that 61% of couples hid their infertility problems from their friends and families, and four in ten couples said the struggle to conceive has made it harder to be open and honest with others. But remember, your family and friends want to help you. They’re ready to be in your corner, but you have to open up and tell them what you need from them.
Some couples look at a fertility specialist as a last resort, but really when you’re trying to conceive a specialist can actually be your biggest ally. A specialist can provide both information and support throughout your journey to start a family. If you’re not sure whether or not to take this step, there’s good news – the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has clear guidelines to help you. If you are over 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for over 6 months, or under age 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for over a year, it’s time for you to have an evaluation. Remember, talking to a fertility specialist may be one of the most important steps you take as you’re looking to start a family.
This new website is a great resource for patients and offers a quick questionnaire if you’re looking for initial information about infertility and a clinician finder if you’re ready to take the next step to see the specialist. And because scheduling the initial visit to the specialist can be a difficult first step to take, this site offers a helpful doctor discussion guide. This guide is great to download, print out, and bring along on your first visit.
Remember, this can be an emotional time, but your family, friends and a fertility specialist are all there to support you. Most importantly, keep in mind that seeing a fertility specialist is just a conversation, not a commitment.
Dr. Roshini Raj is a nationally recognized internist and best-selling author of the book, What the Yuck?!: The Freaky & Fabulous Truth About Your Body