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Why is Infertility Taboo?


Why is Infertility Taboo?

Unless you have personally dealt with infertility, you may not have heard about all of the stress, treatments, and procedures that so many people have to experience. But it’s not like infertility is rare — 15-20% of people in the United States struggle with infertility issues or need access to a fertility clinic, making infertility fairly common.1 So why aren’t more people talking about it?

Shame and Grief

Couples and individuals may often feel a great loss upon discovering their struggle with infertility.2 Humans are biologically hardwired for reproduction, so a peron’s inability to conceive may drive them towards experiencing anxiety, stress, depression, or isolation.3 

Therefore, infertility can be considered “abnormal”, even though it is a treatable and common medical diagnosis. Unfortunately, this can make you incorrectly feel like there’s something wrong with you, or you’re “less than”, or you’re simply not trying hard enough. This shame of being unable to conceive and grief over the loss of a future child are all common emotions people feel and hide to avoid facing judgement.1 

But you’re not alone — these feelings are common among people struggling with infertility, and it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no right or wrong way to get pregnant, and pregnancy isn’t always easy for everyone. It’s important to dissolve these misconceptions and increase the dialogue surrounding infertility that is currently so quieted out of shame and fear of judgement. 

By sharing more stories of infertility, we as a society can erase the fear, judgement, and taboo that surrounds the subject and make the community a more welcoming space for people who are struggling to conceive, and help these individuals feel less alone and ashamed.

Societal Norms

Infertility is not something society has often talked about — despite the reality that one in six couples in the U.S. have trouble getting pregnant, the pervasive cultural expectation remains that you should have children by a “certain age.”1 Social media and the internet can also be flooded with celebrations of other people’s pregnancy announcements or childhood milestones.4

Discussing infertility can also be uncomfortable — talking about infertility inherently involves bringing up sex, money, religious beliefs, and medical decisions, all of which are taboo topics on their own.4 Despite how common infertility is, people struggling with it often keep to themselves out of compliance with these obsolete societal norms that continue to perpetuate silence around the subject of infertility. 

All of this discomfort and silence surrounding the subject can make people feel even more alone, and make it harder for individuals and couples to connect with others who are experiencing their same pain and emotions due to infertility.5

Lack of Information

For many, the first shock of infertility can be that pregnancy may not come as easily as society or sex ed courses can lead you to believe.4 Many couples may think they’re not trying hard enough and continue to try to conceive on their own for years on end before consulting with a fertility specialist.5 

This can be due to a lack of education and information that’s readily available and easily accessible to people trying to conceive. Because many do not know how common infertility is and the wide range of treatment options available, people may continue trying to conceive for years, suffer in silence and can grow defeated, resulting in strain on a relationship and individual stress.3,5

But once again, you’re not alone — people have taken to Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit to share their stories of infertility. People are finally starting to talk about the importance of seeking medical treatment to lessen the social stigma surrounding infertility. This has helped others feel comfortable sharing their feelings and experiences.4 

Infertility can be a grueling, emotional, and stressful experience, but support groups or mental health counseling can help you through your stress and emotions.4 And infertility does not mean you can’t have a baby — whatever infertility issues you may have, there is a high chance that medical treatment or assisted reproductive technologies can help you on your path towards pregnancy. If you are struggling or you know someone who is speak with a fertility expert at one of our clinics to understand which path is right for you. Or give us a call at 855-508-6283. 

Laina Race
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