This year’s NIAW theme is “Listen Up,” and it’s important to those who are coping with infertility. We can all probably do a better job of listening to others – everyone is busy, and it’s easy to focus on whatever problem might be right in front of you. Many individuals and couples trying unsuccessfully to conceive often suffer in silence – and they shouldn’t have to. When someone listens, it’s support. You don’t have to understand all the clinical issues that might be causing the problem, but understanding the emotional and financial toll can make a difference.
For RESOLVE, the National Infertility Organization, a major goal of the campaign is working to “transform how others view infertility to help educate and provide resolution to the millions of Americans impacted.” RESOLVE and NIAW partner organizations want others to “join the movement to remove barriers that stand in the way of building families.”
If you are one of the millions of people dealing with infertility, you already understand the barriers to getting treatment that could address your medical condition including limited insurance coverage and the cost of services that may not be within reach. The many organizations and individuals participating in NIAW hope increasing public awareness and educating policymakers about the need for improved access to available treatment will advance the cause. And, the range of those involved with getting the message out is amazingly broad – from ESPN to the Nerdist. It’s a reflection of how many people – along with the organizations they work for or support – care about the issue.
There are many things you can do this week – and every week – to be an advocate for yourself and others. If you’re dealing with the disease, do your research to become familiar with infertility and IVF treatment – sites like SART and Reproductive Facts and RESOLVE offer consumer-friendly information to help be well-informed.
To get ideas and become involved this week and beyond, here are several resources and events that are part of the biggest national campaign designed to help build families through education and advocacy:
· The NIAW website www.infertilityawareness.org includes resources, a toolkit, a way to post your NIAW events, and more.
· RESOLVE will be very active on all social media channels: Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Connect on social using: @resolveorg; #NIAW and #ListenUp
· A Twitter chat co-hosted by RESOLVE, CDC, NIH, Office of Women’s Health, and other groups in the space is on Wednesday at 1pm EST. The hashtag for this is #infertilitychat
· NY State Advocacy Day is Tuesday, 25 April in Albany. The focus will be to help increase access to IVE and surrogacy. (Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. is May 18th)
· RESOLVE Walks of Hope are scheduled – Sunday, 30 April in San Diego (also scheduled this spring are Walks in NYC on 5/20, Chicago on 6/10, and Denver on 6/24)
If you and your partner are having problems starting your family, make sure you reach out and get the support you need and deserve. For others who know someone on their fertility journey, there are many ways to show your support. Listening is a great first step!