National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is from April 22 through 28 this year. Founded by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, NIAW is a federally recognized health observance week. It’s an important week for the entire infertility community, from patients to clinicians, as we come together to raise awareness for a disease that affects as many 17% of the global population.
Each year, RESOLVE selects a theme for NIAW. This year’s theme is “Don’t Ignore” and speaks to how often infertility can be silenced and ignored. As patients, this can even apply this to how we might ignore the signs and symptoms our own bodies are telling us. After another month of not getting pregnant, we might be ignoring what could be a very real infertility diagnosis.
A Quick Overview of Infertility
- Infertility affects as many as 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age in the United States, or 7.3 million Americans. In Canada, infertility affects as many as 1 in 6 or 7-9% of the Canadian population.
- Infertility is not just a woman’s issue. One third of infertility cases are the result of male factor issues, one third of cases due to female factor issues, and the remaining third are due to a combination of both male and female factor issues.
- The World Health Organization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists each recognize infertility as a disease.
- An infertility diagnosis can cause as much psychological stress as a diagnosis of cancer or other serious medical condition.
It’s important that if we want to people to understand what our infertility experience is really like, we need to raise awareness about not only infertility as a disease, but our patient experiences as well. By sharing our experiences, we also help to tell the other millions of people living with infertility that they’re not alone and that yes, there is a community of support out there for them.
RESOLVE offers a variety of ways you can get involved and help raise awareness for National Infertility Awareness Week at their website.
How will you help raise awareness about infertility this year? What would you like to see ORH do to raise awareness in our communities? Let us know in the comments.
This piece was written by Keiko Zoll from The Infertility Voice.