This morning I instigated a discussion on Twitter about what we can do to make infertility less of a taboo subject. The general consensus, having spoken to people who also live with this problem, is that it's clear that infertility is not spoken about enough. Not only is awareness and understanding very low, but people are embarrassed to talk about it. The fact that it is such a taboo subject concerns me. It's unhealthy. It's nothing to be ashamed about, yet people are. Education in this field needs to be improved. People need to be made aware.
When you go to the doctor you sit down, tell them your symptoms, he/she examines you if necessary, you get given a diagnosis, leave with a prescription or at least advice as to how to treat or deal with the condition. If only it were that simple with infertility.
Finding the cause of infertility is not always straightforward, sometimes an answer is never found. For some, taking medication may in fact work, it may end their misery of trying to conceive. Yet for many, there can be multiple reasons. Problems can arise on the male and/or female side. Frustratingly and despairingly upon numerous tests and investigations a cause may never be found. This is termed 'unexplained infertility'. Some tests conducted are so sensitive and specialist, samples are sent abroad as very few clinics carry out such investigations.
These facts merely scratch the surface of the world of infertility. A world of despair, of misery and heartache. The options available to sufferers are increasing all the time. The drugs, the tests, the procedures. But because it's such a taboo subject I believe it makes it harder for people to discover this.
This morning gave me reassurance. Why? Because there are like-minded people who want to provide help and support to others who feel they have nowhere to turn and nobody to talk to.
More needs to be done to educate people in fertility matters. By this I mean that when trying for a baby it is not as simple as making the decision, doing the deed, and nine months later your baby arrives. What I'm aware of though and what I do not want to do is to frighten people into worrying that they may struggle to have a baby, or even never have a baby. So how do we go about this? How do we teach people that for some, making a baby isn't as straightforward as simply having sex.
One excellent suggestion is by making pamphlets and leaflets available in doctors' surgeries and hospitals on infertility. Infertility is an illness. There are cures, there are many options and routes to go down to recover from it. Sadly, not everybody can and does, but by providing people with information, this in turn offers hope. In turn understanding too, for both sufferers and their family.
Speaking from personal experience, nobody can know what it's truly like to live with infertility unless it happens to them. But by increasing knowledge it goes some way to aiding understanding that infertility is an illness.