Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't Ignore Infertility

National Infertility Awareness Week is April 22-28, 2012. The theme is Don't Ignore Infertility. For those who struggle with infertility have difficulties ignoring it. Everyday it is blaring me in the face. After struggling with infertility for only 2 years with one miscarriage within that time frame, it is difficult for me to ignore. I was diagnosed with Polycyclic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hypothyroidism during my quest. I also found out despite living in Illinois neither one of my private health insurances covered infertility treatment. I was outraged to find my one health insurance covers abortions but not infertility.  So, everyday I am faced with the dilemma how am I going to afford the expensive treatments to build the family my husband and I so desperately want.

Infertility is a disease that effects 1 in 8 couple. For me it has effected every aspect of my life. There is not a day that goes by that I am not on the verge of tears. Infertility has affected my friendships and interpersonal relationships. There were two friends that were pregnant at the same time as I was. I lost my baby when I was nine going on ten weeks pregnant. The friends went on to having health babies. I have a difficult time being around my two friends and their babies that would have been around the same age as mine, had I not miscarried. They would ask when I would get pregnant again and I always explain what is going on and why it is difficult. Infertility has distorted my self esteem and body image. Having PCOS increases your risk of obesity, 50%-60% of women with PCOS are obese. I was told if I lost 10% of my weight, I could increase my chances of getting pregnant. It is also very difficult for women with PCOS to lose weight, due to the hormone imbalance it causes. I have been on a low fat and low carb diet and only lost 33lbs over the past year. I have 25lbs more to lose. If I see my weight go up slightly, I cry and get really mad at myself for gaining weight. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be thin because then maybe, I can get pregnant without fertility treatment. Having Hypothyroidism doesn't help much. Despite having an optimal Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) of .6, which needs to be under 2 to get pregnant with a successful pregnancy. Hypothyroidism is also linked to fertility concerns and miscarriages. Infertility has affected me at my job. A woman at work announced her pregnancy and I ran out crying. Even my overall attention span has decreased because I am so focused on how can have that I want. I am also looking for another job in hopes to find something to supplement my income, so I could afford even one round of Clomid with monitoring which I was quoted $800. Overall mental and emotional well being has been affected. Every time I go into a store and pass the baby aisle, I cry. The stores I know well, I can avoid to spare me the emotional roller coaster.

When people learn that I am having difficulties getting pregnant, they recommend all kinds of things. I am not sure if it is to make me feel better, but it doesn't. People ask me, "Why don't you just adopt?" I am not closed to the idea but I feel like I have not even attempted to exhaust my resources, why are you giving up on me so easily. Also, adoption can be very costly as well. Another thing I get more than any... "Did you hear (insert celebrities name here) got pregnant using IVF and she has the same thing as you". For one, IVF is extremely expensive if you don't have insurance coverage like me. It cost about five figures to go that route and what if it is not successful. All that money gone. The medications alone to start IVF is in the thousands. Secondly, if I was a celebrity I would be able to afford that method without question.

Infertility hands down is a disease despite how insurance views it. It can affect every aspect of a woman's and couples' life. How could you possibly ignore that?



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