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The Silent Struggle

A poll at IVF.ca asked members "who did you tell about infertility?". Of the mostly female respondents, 67% told a select few or none at all. 33% openly shared their situation with many people.

A sampling of issues/comments from the more private group (67%):

- Infertility/Family planning is a private matter.

- To stay away from unsolicited advice and opinions from people who have never experience infertility.

- Not wanting to be burdened with public expectations or questions throughout their treatments.

- To comply with the wishes of their partner.

- Concerned people will treat them with pity.

- Felt public failure would add undue pressure and stress.

- Expect some family members would react in a negative fashion or feel hurt by the news.

- Fear of workplace discrimination, concerned that an employer will overlook a hiring or promotional opportunity if their family planning goal is known.

- Not needing the support of others.

Unlike most other medical conditions, infertility is usually a shared condition with the patients surrounded by a diverse and sometimes complex set of relationships.

"My Mother-in-law made comments like she doesn't believe in ART procedures and only desperate people do that. I felt like strangling her at the time. She always assumes that her son is perfect and in perfect she means that he has no fertility problem. I know DH (husband) isn't comfortable about this to share with is family so all they know is that we have problems but don't know why. Even though he is diagnosed with Male Factor, we are together so this affects me just as much."

Despite a ratio of approximately 1 in 6 couples who experience difficulty trying to conceive, infertility remains a relatively silent medical condition.

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