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This year, the IAAC asked couples who have struggled to conceive to share their infertility experiences using the #1in6 hashtag. While 47 percent of Canadians have either experienced infertility or know someone who has, many people don’t feel comfortable talking opening about it, according to a statement from the IAAC.
They’ve collected a range of experiences from people who have successfully completed their families and who are undergoing treatment. They're posted online.
Many of the profiles serve as a reminder of how psychologically debilitating infertility can be. As a woman currently undergoing fertility treatment, Dajana, writes:
"If you have a friend going through fertility issues, acknowledge how much it sucks, then love, hug and support them. They need you more than you know."
Science backs her up. In a recent University of Iowa study, women coping with infertility report that they may not be getting enough support from people close to them. And they may also be getting the wrong kind of support to help them combat stress and depression.
Some tips they gleaned from their research:
- Keep advice to a minimum. "People are overwhelmed by unsolicited advice from family and friends," says co-author Keli Steuber.
- Focus on other ways to help. A meal or connecting a friend with someone going through similar issues can be welcome.
- If your partner is undergoing treatments, attend appointments with them and help them research and explore options.
- If you’re a nurse or doctor, you’re more than a source of information. Offer some emotional support, too, via facetime and phrasing questions in an empathetic way.
Something for all of us to remember beyond Infertility Awareness Week.
Read on about fertility myths and what you need to know about egg freezing in Canada.