After 2 and 1/2 years of infertility, I am not the same person I once was. Infertility has a way of changing you. It changes the way you think about conception, money matters and even life in general.
For 2 and 1/2 years my life completely revolved around ovulation cycles, fertility treatment, fertility medication and negative pregnancy tests. Through that period of time, I learned things about myself and truths about fertility.
If you’re going through infertility, there’s some truths and lessons you need to know to help you through it. Here are 6 lessons I learned from going through infertility.
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1. Infertility Affects Anyone
You can’t look at someone and assume they’re having infertility issues. You can’t assume certain medical disorders will affect a person’s ability to have children.
Infertility can affect anyone!
Infertility does not care if you’re black, white, a certain age or body type. It can affect anyone equally. But there are risk factors that can increase your likelihood of suffering from infertility.
Those risk factors may increase the risk of infertility in someone people. But other people with the same risk factors don’t have a fertility issue. While some overweight women have troubles getting pregnant, other overweight women get pregnant without trying to conceive.
Although these risk factors can’t tell you whether you will be affected by infertility, it’s important to know the risk factors to decrease your risk!
Risk Factors For Women
- Women who are over the age of 35
- Chronic illnesses like diabetes, lupus, hypertension, asthma, etc.
- Uterine fibroids
- Hormonal imbalance
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol
- STD’s (past or present)
- Abnormal pap smears
- Pelvic surgery
- Being overweight or underweight
Risk Factors For Men
- STD’s (past or present)
- Hernia repair
- Exposing the genitals to high temperatures
- Smoking cigarettes/marijuana and drinking alcohol
- Exposure to toxic substances including radiation, welding, lead, vinyl chloride, ethylene dibromene, etc.
- Genetic abnormalities
- Certain prescription medications
- Undescended testicles
When I look over the risk factors of both men and women, I see a common theme… Anyone can have or be exposed to environmental or job related toxins, genetic abnormalities, prescription medications, ect.
I’ve met many people throughout my life who have more than one risk factor for infertility, yet they can conceive naturally.
While you can be aware of the different risk factors, you can’t control or get rid of all your risk factors. Anyone can have fertility issues regardless of sex, age, medical conditions and more.
Related Articles In Fertility: The Real Cost Of Infertility
2. You Are Not Alone
To help you feel less alone in the world with fertility issues, let’s look at some statistical facts within the United States about infertility.
- Infertility affect 1 in 8 couples
- 7.4 million or 12% of women between the ages of 15-44 have trouble conceiving and staying pregnant
- 7.5 million men have reported seeing a fertility specialist at least once
- 35% of infertility cases are caused by male factor infertility
- 6.1 million or 10% of women have PCOS causing fertility issues
- 38% of male factor infertility is caused varioceles
- 25% of couples have multiple causes of infertility
- 20% of couples have no single identifiable factor contributing to fertility issues
When you look at the statistics, there’s a central theme you can gather from them: Millions of men and women alike have fertility issues!
3. Infertility Remains A Lonely Journey
With all these huge percentages and numbers with infertility, the question remains: Why does it feel so lonely going through fertility issues?
Going through infertility for 2 and 1/2 years was the loneliest time of my life. I felt like I was all alone in the world and no one I knew was having fertility problems.
Everywhere I turned I saw another women getting pregnant naturally. There was no one I could really talk to (except my husband) who knew exactly what I was experiencing and feeling.
Infertility is a lonely journey because there’s still a stigma behind it. It’s like no one wants to discuss it. But discussing the issues behind it and how hard it is to go through is part of raising awareness.
Not everyone is gifted with the ability to get pregnant naturally. Some of us need a little help from medical science.
Although you feel you are all alone suffering through infertility, remember… Millions of men and women have the same trouble conceiving as you do!
Reach out to support groups on social media for infertility issues and see the support for your dream of children roll in!
When going through such a lonely journey, it’s important to get support from those who are going through the same thing. Let’s face it…
If someone’s never gone through fertility issues and treatment, they simply can’t relate.
Since launching Pitter Patter of Baby Feet and forming blogging friendships with other people, I’ve met tones of people who’ve gone through infertility. Talking to others about my own journey has helped me process the situation.
One top of that, it also gives me comfort knowing there’s other out there who went through similar fertility issues.
4. Infertility Is Not A Female Issue
When people think of fertility problems, they immediately assume something’s wrong with the female. However, infertility is not just a female issue.
I think women tend to receive the blame for fertility issues because we’re the ones that carry the baby. We’re also the ones that go through fertility treatment when it comes to inseminations, medications, and IVF.
But, male factor infertility is much more common than you think.
In all infertility cases, 35% is caused by male factors. One of the most common causes of male factor infertility is sperm development inside the reproductive system.
If there’s a problem with sperm development it will result in low semen analysis of sperm count, morphology, motility and sperm aneuploidy (wrong number of chromosomes). Some semen analysis have normal parameters, but sperm is still inefficient to fertilize an embryo.
In my own fertility journey, my husband and I suffer from male factor infertility. After multiple medicated insemination cycles, we decided to switch gears in our treatment and dream to have a baby…
We moved forward with donor sperm. This did the trick for us! We’re now parents of a 2 year old and another baby on the way all thanks to donor sperm.
Related Articles: 15 Books To Help You Through Infertility
5. You Can Only Control So Much
When it come to fertility treatment, you can only control so much. You can do the inseminations, take the medications and eat right and still not get pregnant.
Fertility treatment success comes down to perfect timing, the right medication/insemination and a whole lot of luck!
Throughout my fertility journey I did everything I can to boost my fertility naturally. While I still believe in increasing my fertility health naturally (and always will), there’s only so many factors you can control.
Once you realize you can’t control every aspect of your fertility journey you’ll breath a little easier.
6. It’s Not Your Fault
When going through difficult times, some people tend to blame themselves. I definitely am guilty of doing this!
During my infertility journey I blamed everything on myself! Here was some of my inner monologue:
- I can’t get pregnant because something’s wrong with me.
- It’s my fault I didn’t get pregnant this month.
- Maybe I didn’t actually ovulate this month.
- I didn’t time my ovulation and sex correctly.
- I’m not eating healthy enough that’s why I’m not getting pregnant.
Any of these sound familiar? Notice how everything statement I place the blame on myself? If you’re going through infertility, you’ve probably have at least occasional thinking where you blame yourself.
Let me tell you some truth about your infertility: I don’t know you or know your journey, but infertility is NOT your fault!
Even if you’ve found the cause is because of your PCOS or uterine fibroids. You did not make the choice to have PCOS. Your younger self didn’t place fibroids in your uterus to harm you chances of a successful pregnancy.
Sometimes the best of people who’ll make the best parents just have reproductive issues. I’m sure there’s nothing you did to cause your fertility issues, so…. Stop blaming yourself!
It’s not your fault you have fertility issues, you didn’t purposely cause the issue. Like any other disorder, male and female reproductive disorders causing infertility just happen in life.
But if you know you have a fertility issue, stop blaming yourself. It’s only holding you back from achieving your dream of having a baby. Stop telling yourself infertility is your fault and move forward!
Related Articles: How To Keep A Positive Attitude While Trying To Conceive
There are many things I’ve learned throughout my journey of infertility. Some lessons in life come as harsh realities, while others cause you to pick up the pieces and move forward with your life.
Infertility did that for me. These six lessons taught me along the way that I had to move forward with fertility treatment in order to have children.
It’s not an easy decision. Infertility takes time and money. Sometimes money you really don’t have.
But through it all, infertility gives me a sense of pride and appreciation of the hard work I had to do just to have children.
It’s so hard coming to the decision to undergo fertility treatment in the first place. What was even harder for my husband and I was to hear his sperm count was too low to continue IUI inseminations.
We had two choices from there: IVF or donor sperm.
We choose donor sperm. A combination donor sperm, fertility medication and at-home inseminations gave us the family we prayed and needed.
Out of all these six lessons I feel the two lessons you need to remember through your fertility journey is: You are not alone and don’t blame yourself!