Fertility Awareness: Am I Infertile?

Graphic courtesy of RESOLVE niaw page

April hosts National Infertility Awareness Week. What exactly are we talking about here? As a general rule, the medical community considers a couple to be infertile if they have not been able to conceive after one year of regularly trying without contraception. If a woman is 35 or older, six months without a conception under these circumstances gets her this charming label.

I disagree with this classification. Infertile means you can’t conceive. While there may be challenges and obstacles in the way to achieving conception, simply the result of no conception without further investigation does not lead to the condemning classification of infertility, in my humble opinion.

New science is finding that the widely held belief that at birth we get all the eggs we’ll ever have as a female is being dismantled. We are also learning that there are in fact actions we can take pre-menopause to still influence the quality of our eggs.

In the meantime, the CDC and other sources indicate that approximately 12% or 1 in 8 face the challenges of infertility. Well, to be accurate, these sources actually declare these women and couples to actually be infertile. Just because you haven’t conceived for a year or more of trying, doesn’t mean you ultimately can’t. And beyond that, none of this means you can’t one day still become a parent.

If you are concerned that you might be infertile, start asking a lot of questions. Start with other women who are moms. I bet you’ll find more women than you thought had a challenge or two to overcome before they joined the Mommy Club. Get some testing done. If you’re primary care doctor won’t help you out, find a specialist in your area. If you are hearing answers you don’t like and you still have questions, go for another opinion. There are a lot of things that can get in the way — physical and emotional — when it comes to conception. And, thankfully, there are many ways to remove these obstacles and a variety of options that support your desire to become a parent.

Do you have fertility concerns? If so, are you taking action around these concerns? What do you think about the medical definition of infertility? Please comment below. I always love to hear from you.

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