Misconceptions About Infertility
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after twelve months of trying, or for women over the age of 35, after six months. Around 10% of US women between 15-44 years of age have difficulty becoming or staying pregnant. Yet many women who are struggling to conceive feel alone and that the individual problem is isolated. There are many issues which can cause women’s fertility problems, many of which do not get diagnosed until a couple fails to conceive.
Infertility is a medical condition
Another misconception is that infertility is just a woman’s problem. This is not the case. In around 35% of cases, infertility is male factor. However, new methods of diagnosing and treating fertility issues have greatly increased the chance of infertile couples having a baby.
Eradicating the stigma of infertility
The first step to erasing the infertility stigma is to understand the source of the stigma. Many sociologists agree that infertility dates back to the 1950s when infertility was believed to be caused because an infertile woman was suppressing true femininity. Several decades passed before medical advances were able to throw light on the real causes of infertility and highlight that fertility is not only a female problem.
Another major aspect of the infertility stigma is connected to the way that Western society values fertility. In many cultures, fertility was considered one of the most important reasons for a man to take a wife. In ancient times, a man was permitted to swap his wife if the woman could not bear him children. And today, there is still often a high expectancy that couples will have children.
Escaping the stigma of infertility
Men and women who are dealing with infertility need not feel embarrassed, guilty, or angry. Neither should either partner feel that the other partner is to blame. Reaching out for support can help couples overcome the feeling of isolation. Seeking advice from a fertility specialist can help couples understand the available treatment options and begin the journey to creating a family.