There are 7.3 million couples affected by infertility in the United States alone

Just let that statistic sink in for a minute–7.3 million just in the United States; one in six couples will struggle with fertility

By contrast, there are about 200,000 new incidents of breast cancer each year.  Surely 200,000 is 200,000 too many! Breast cancer is a devasting disease and deserving of all the attention paid to it.

Yet, why is it that we hear so much about, and so much funding goes into understanding and researching, breast cancer while infertility remains in the shadows, a stigma women (and men) are ashamed to carry?

There are 7.3 million of us out there in the U.S., and millions more around the world.

You are not alone.

Yesterday while chatting with the man seated next to me on the plane (I was on my way to Orlando to spend a few days with my Mom) I got asked the usual question, “do you have kids?” “No, do you want to have them?”

I have been asked the question so often that it no longer throws me for a loop, and I hold no grudge against those who ask it, they are only trying to connect and find common ground. I avoided the question with a vague round-about answer.

Then, on my way to the hotel later, I realized that I had missed the opportunity to be real, to shun the shame, and to own this piece of who I am. I hope that the next time I do it differently.

Facing fertility challenges is not something to be ashamed of, nor is it something to hide or beat ourselves up over. Infertility is a diagnosis of a dis-ease in our bodies, nothing more, or less, than that.

My hope is that there will come a time when all of us struggling with reproductive challenges will come together and jointly use our voices to urge others to hold their heads high and rip off this scarlett letter.

Only when we come out from the shadows and join the 7.3 million other couples who share this burden, will we realize just how not alone we are–and just how courageous and powerful we all are. We are in the good company of some incredible and brave couples, 7.3 million of them!

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