In light of National Infertility Awareness Week I wanted to highlight the intersection of infertility and COVID-19. Fertility struggles can shatter a couple’s collective dream of growing their family. For many folks this is the natural next step and when issues arise couples can feel at a complete loss. Many couples are re-living that same shattering of dreams due to having to put their fertility on hold during the pandemic. Couples who have experienced multiple pregnancy losses or who are contemplating IUI, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, etc. are being forced to wonder if this is an okay time to try to expand their families. Most IVF and surrogacy plans are being paused due to social distancing measures and until more is known about how pregnant women and babies are impacted by this disease. The uncertainty and grief unleashed by COVID-19 is aligning with the grief these couples are already experiencing in a tragic way.
Each and every month that passes without conceiving is devastating for a couple struggling with fertility. Now these same couples are having to halt their dreams for many months without a certain end in sight. Couples are wondering if the window might close for them altogether.
Some ideas to do your part to help people struggling with infertility now and always:
- Get informed! Read up on common misinformation and how varied people’s experiences can be with infertility.
- Keep in mind that males are ignored and females are bombarded. Infertility is seen as a female problem, most treatments are usually focused on females, and women struggling with fertility get bombarded by “advice” while men are ignored. If you know someone who has struggled with fertility, make sure to support both partners in the partnership.
- Stop asking couples when they will have children or joking about whether or not they are pregnant. We live in a very pro-natalist society where a lot of pressure is put on couples to procreate. Imagine the difficult combination of a great desire to have children, having issues with becoming pregnant, and people pestering you about when you might have children.
- Stop perpetuating the myth that infertility is only due to age. Fertility is linked to age in a toxic way for women. Even women who have the privilege of not struggling with fertility know this all to well. It is important to know that women and men of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, etc. struggle with fertility.
- Reach out to those you know are struggling in an appropriate way. Refrain from advice and questions and instead lead with compassion and curiosity. Many couples experiencing infertility feel very alone.
A great national organization that has a wealth of helpful information is called RESOLVE. Visit them at www.Resolve.org. They have webinars regarding advice for trying to conceive during COVID-19 pandemic as well as resources about how to find support even during times of social distancing. Infertility is an issue near and dear to my heart as it is, but never have I so acutely felt the heaviness of it. To all of you couples out there whose grief of infertility is being further exacerbated by the pandemic, my heart goes out to you and remember we are here to help and support. Let’s all be good family members, friends, neighbors, and fellow humans to all the folks in our lives who might be struggling with this heartache.