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National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW): Putting the A in Awareness!

At Pregnantish Event
Every National Infertility Awareness Week, I typically end up writing two posts. One, at the “start” of the week of my initial thoughts and feelings and then one, near the “end” of the week of anything I learned or have been inspired by during the course of the week. This year, I must say, I learned more than usual.
As it turns out, I learned that “Flip the Script” is historically tied to Adoption. Two of my Twitter friends (@emoglasscase and @apluseffort) pointed this out and I genuinely hadn’t a clue. Here’s one post on Adoption and Flip The Script theme from 2014 from a blog called, “Light of Day Stories”, here’s a blog post from my Twitter friend from 2016 called, “Flip The Script” on adoption, and this is a fascinating video also made in 2014 where adoptees talk about what the adoption experience and narrative as well as what the phrase “flip the script” means to them.

Tote bag by Our Misconception
One of the reasons I’m sharing all of this is “Flip the Script” is being highlighted this week for infertility and adoption is often part of the infertility journey for many AND if “Flip the Script” has traditionally been part of the adoption narrative, it feels only right to combine the two and give a major shout out to it.
In the interest of being fair, many in the adoption community commented that Resolve having NIAW’s theme this year be “flip the script” this year was tone deaf and marginalized the adoption community. Other than being on the Resolve Advocacy Day Committee, I don’t work for Resolve but I have to be honest – I truly in my heart of hearts, don’t think this was intentional. From what I understand, several of the Resolve staff have even themselves have built their family through adoption so I can’t imagine they would ever set out to make anyone feel excluded. Obviously, I can’t speak for them (more on Resolve later in this post), nor would I imagine they would want me to but I can only say that I am personally am grateful to those who pointed this out. I read a Barbara Bush quote last week that put it best, “You get nothing done if you don’t listen to each other.”

#HaveAHeart from

On that note, and unbelievably, during this exact week: Two other noteworthy things happened. A good friend of mine after several IVF plus PGS testing texted me that her embryos were genetically abnormal. Of all weeks, she happened to share with me THIS week that they are going to stop treatment. Two days later, another friend of mine who froze her eggs several years ago after being given a DOR diagnosis emailed that she if officially thawing those eggs to fertilize them to have a child on her own as a single mother. Two totally different outcomes/resolutions… all during National Infertility Awareness Week.

The point is, this is all the ‘A’ in NIAW: Awareness. We can’t raise awareness around infertility if we don’t try to respect and understand that part of that experience is also talking about surrogacy, donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, adoption (domestic, international, and foster), male factor infertility, childless not by choice and more. It’s VITAL to remember infertility doesn’t have one clear path or just one outcome and we need to not only keep the conversation going but we also need to keep listening.

Adding my humor to PCOS Challenge
As mentioned earlier, I want to quickly say a few words about Resolve. Like any group or person that puts themselves out there in the public eye, people will have varying opinions, judgments, or criticism of them. This, of course, is to be expected and is completely fair. Lord knows people have had plenty towards me over the years and whenever it’s occurred, I try and listen first to see if there’s truth in it, if I agree and how to handle (not that I do this perfectly every time but this is the goal).
Resolve is one of the few (and probably one of the largest) not-for-profit groups however, that works 24/7, 365 days a year on infertility and fertility related issues. On their website, they cover every topic mentioned above and again, from what I understand, their staff is made up of almost every outcome there is (childfree, adoption, IVF, etc.) So, what I want to say is though I’m certain they don’t do everything perfectly and while they aren’t above criticism, I do want to thank them for their hard work and continued efforts.
Some other not-for-profit hard-working infertility groups that also deserved to be thanked are INCIIDResolve New England, Alliance for Fertility Preservation, Cade Foundation, Path2Parenthood, and PCOS Challenge. I know there are many other not-for-profit groups too in the fertility space so if there are others YOU’D like to thank for raising awareness, PLEASE mention them in the comments! I’m sure they are underpaid and overworked so my guess is they’d appreciate the gratitude.
As we close out NIAW, I ask (read: beg) you to revisit my post from earlier this week and consider either joining me and others at Advocacy Day or, at the very least, writing your lawmaker, representative, senator or HR department about fertility benefits. One of the MANY things I was reminded of for the umpteenth time this week was not everyone has access to fertility benefits or coverage. Treatment shouldn’t just be for those who work for big companies or who have deep pockets. It should be for everyone who needs it.
I’d like to close out today’s post and NIAW 2018 with some of the posts I wrote for other places as well and thank YOU for reading:

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