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8 Things to #StartAsking and #KEEPAsking after #NIAW

By Tracey Minella

April 30th, 2016 at 4:43 pm

 

image courtesy of Resolve, the National Infertility Association


Honestly, my first reaction to this year’s NAIW #StartAsking theme wasn’t positive. It just didn’t sit right with me for some nagging reason I couldn’t put my finger on. So, it was hard to sit down and write a post using it. It made me have to really think about some serious and difficult things. Stuff I usually keep locked away. Some days, I just don’t have the strength to think too hard.

Start Asking.

Start Asking why? Start asking how? Start asking for something?

Start asking…what, exactly?

Should I start asking Why me? Truth be told, that was the first thing that came to mind. But there is no point in asking that question. So what is worth asking?

Then it dawned on me. We need to start asking for whatever it is we need in order to get through this journey (or to see that those who follow us can get through it). It’s that simple. And that difficult.

That means asking for help, for understanding, for respect, for answers, for kindness, for prayers, for coverage, and for action.

Start asking yourself what you need. And who can fill that need?

  1. Help: It’s hard to ask for financial help but if it’s the only barrier to treatment, you may have to ask. Loans, gifts, online fundraising sites are some ways to finance fertility treatment. Most IVF practices offer grants as well. Ask for help.
  2. Understanding: No one will truly get it unless they’ve battled infertility themselves. But they need to try to understand why it’s too hard for you to handle things like baby showers, egg hunts, and gender reveal parties for a couple’s 5th baby. Tell them you’re happy for them, but it hurts too much to participate right now. Ask them to understand.
  3. Respect: Everyone has advice on how you should be handling your infertility journey. Regardless of their personal (and usually uneducated) opinions, they need to respect the decisions you’re making…whether that involves IUI,  IVF, egg donation, donor sperm, surrogacy, egg freezing, pre-implantation genetic screening, adoption, or choosing to live child-free. Ask them to respect your right to make your own decisions.
  4. Answers: There is no such thing as a stupid question, at least when it comes to infertility treatment. So much is on the line that you owe it to yourself to understand the often complicated and ever-changing world of assisted reproductive technology. Understand what is happening to your body during any given treatment or procedure, including the medications you’re taking, how to take them, and any possible side-effects.  Knowledge is power. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  5. Kindness: Similar to respect, you deserve to be treated kindly. People can be mean…on purpose or innocently. “Why can’t you give me grandchildren?” “He just looks at me and I get pregnant”. “You can have one of mine.” “I’ll get her pregnant for you”. “Be thankful you have one.” Protect your heart. Ask people to stop saying hurtful things like that.
  6. Prayers: For the religious, infertility (especially a long journey filled with losses) can sometimes be a test of one’s faith. Don’t feel guilty asking why this is happening to you or questioning why your prayers are not being answered. If your faith is a source of comfort and strength to you and also to those you know, ask for their prayers or good thoughts on your behalf.
  7. Coverage: As you no doubt know, the biggest barrier to infertility treatment is often lack of health insurance coverage. Most policies offer little to no coverage for fertility treatments like IVF. The only hope for change lies in advocating for new legislation mandating better infertility coverage. Ask your elected representatives to create or support legislation mandating IVF coverage.
  8. Action: Start asking is a good start. It’s a catchy theme for NIAW. It’s good to raise awareness. One week per year. But that’s not enough. We need infertility action not just infertility awareness. The week is over. Tomorrow we risk being forgotten until next April (or at least until we resurrect Coming Out Infertile Day in November). And those baby shower invites will still flood the mailbox. Those nagging personal questions will not abate. And those uncovered infertility costs will still prevent many from accessing the treatments they need to become parents. Ask yourself and others to take action for real change.

I guess my issue with the theme this year, or maybe every year, is just a frustration over the slow pace of change. And the poor collective memory of the public. Tomorrow will not only start a new week, but a new month. A new “awareness” cause to push. By Friday, will anyone still be aware of infertility? Will they still be ASKING? We don’t need to just #StartAsking. We need to #KEEPAsking.

Let’s show our appreciation for –and join–all the tireless infertility advocates who support the infertile folks of today through activism, advocacy, blogging, and more. To the extent you can, join the fight. Consider participating in Advocacy Day . Don’t just start asking. Keep asking. Then keep acting until real change happens. Until we have babies for all.

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What did you #StartAsking? What will you #KeepAsking?

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

 

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