National Infertility Awareness Week
April 19, 2020
By Lynn Kandie & Daniella Alaso
Why National Infertility Awareness Week
To encourage those suffering from fertility challenges not to feel alone or ashamed, and instead to stand together. NIAW is an avenue that promotes togetherness and support to those who are most affected by this condition. It was started by RESOLVE back in 1989 and is dedicated to infertility
advocacy and support. Every year, NIAW is timed to occur slightly before Mother’s day in May, on the last week of April. In 2020, NIAW is from the 19th to the 25th of April.
What is infertility?
It is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 12 months of regular unprotected sex.
Infertility can be perceived as a topic shrouded in secrecy and shame; most of the time
people who go to the doctor with this issue may not even open up to loved ones, which is
shocking because it is a disease that affects every 1 in 8 couples. The chances are high that
you know someone going through this even if they have not opened up about it.
Psychological effects of infertility
Infertility is a life crisis affecting people from all around the world. Although 1 in 8
couples have infertility issues, it is a topic hardly spoken about. For most people it
becomes a silent struggle. The inability to reproduce naturally can bring about feelings of
shame, anger, frustration, low self-esteem, guilt, feeling of worthlessness and loss of
control. These negative feelings may lead to varying degrees of anxiety, stress and
depression which eventually lead to poor quality of life.
How does infertility affect relationships?
Though each couple’s struggle is unique, there are some common issues that may appear
in any infertility journey.
- A lot of couples feel ashamed about infertility and would not like other people to
know that they are having issues conceiving naturally.
- The emotional toll of infertility may not only burden a relationship but also affect
each partner differently as people deal with stress and anxiety in different ways.
- When you are the one with the ‘problem’ there are the immediate feelings of
failure and inferiority as compared to all the fertile people around you. This may
lead to a partner becoming withdrawn, argumentative and even self-destructive at
- Disagreements on a lot of issues. Regardless of where the fertility problems lie it
is common to find that you have different approaches, different mindsets and
different limits to how far you can actually go to try and solve the problem.
- Trigger to insecurity issues in the relationship and sometimes even breakups and
divorce. “Will my partner leave me because I can’t conceive…, will they rather
be with someone who can give them a child”. Such thoughts become a basis for
mistrust and emotional distance in a relationship.
- Intimacy issues. Sex can easily turn into a ‘chore’ in the journey to try and
conceive and the intimacy, fun and playfulness associated with it may disappear.
Through the journey of infertility, togetherness and support is of utmost importance and
can actually help the relationship emerge stronger. The best support to your partner
would be to treat it as a shared problem. Communication as ‘we’ and ‘our’ can help the
partner with fertility issues to feel less pressurized and less alone.
Debunking myths associated with infertility
There are several absurd myths surrounding infertility, let us look at some of them to get
1. It mainly affects women. Since time immemorial, women have been thought to be the
only ones that are infertile. This could not be more inaccurate, men also face the same
2. It is a ‘career woman’ problem. Infertility is portrayed as a condition that is aged
based. There are so many causes of it and remedies as well. Infertility is not only age-
3. Fast food causes infertility. A report was released showing the relationship between
fast food and infertility. All of a sudden, the media was rife with rumors about how it
causes infertility when it just delays the process by two weeks!
4. Stress causes infertility. Another study was done showing how stress and infertility
relate. It found that it may take only a few more months to get pregnant if this is the
Those are just a few examples of the misinformation out there about infertility. You must take what
you see on the media with a pinch of salt and do your research. During National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), let us join hands with millions of people around the world and be part of change. Remember no matter what race, religion, sexuality or economic status you are, infertility does not discriminate. Because you will never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible.
Together we can change how others view infertility.