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Listen Up! World Parenthood: It Takes a Village

By Tracey Minella

April 24th, 2017 at 9:06 am

Hope you can all hear me from up on this soapbox*. So LISTEN UP:

Those tree-hugging hippies who imagined we’d have world peace if we all just loved one another…like, right now…were on to something. Not sure it works for the world peace thing, but for World Parenthood—oh, yes. Definitely. If we all just loved one another, we could all become parents. (No, I don’t mean it that way!) But it will literally take a village to bring parenthood to the world.

Here’s the plan:

To the women who never had fertility problems or experienced loss. Be quiet. Really. Your nagging questions are hurtful, your advice is unsolicited, and you don’t understand. You never will understand. Don’t pretend you can. Want to help? Really want to make a difference? Just say you’re sorry and “listen up” if and when we choose to speak about it. You wish you could do something more? Well, you can.

LISTEN UP: You’ve got working parts—use them for others. Donate your eggs. Donate your uterus and be a surrogate or gestational carrier for another couple. Do it for someone you know. Or for a stranger. Whatever works for you. Too much to ask? Then donate money. Give to a couple that can’t afford fertility treatment. If handing over the cash is awkward, then buy them something they need or pay for a service they use so they can put that freed-up money into their fertility fund instead. Stop with the sweaters and give cash or a credit card gift card for holidays. Give to fertility fundraisers, grant programs, and infertility organizations like Resolve. Just help someone. And for the love of all things holy, lighten up on the relentless Facebook baby posts and false pregnancy jokes.

To the women who overcame their fertility problems. You know better. You do understand. And yet you are different now. You are on the other side. Don’t you dare pretend it didn’t ever happen—or that it was just a black hole in your past. Don’t just move on with your miracle. Look back.

LISTEN UP: You have an obligation to those who haven’t left their journeys—and to those who will suffer after you. Do something. Offer something. Anything. Educate others. Become an infertility advocate. Raise awareness by participating in a Walk of Hope or other event. If you are able to do so, donate eggs or lend your uterus to a needy couple. And please, please, please…if you did IVF and your family is complete, consider Embryo Donation of the embryos you won’t be using—it would be the answer to another couple’s prayers. If more couples really considered and felt comfortable with this option, rather than discarding or donating them to research, the impact on world parenthood would be monumental. And always, offer the right words of encouragement as only you can. Or the shoulder you needed to cry on.

To all men and women, heterosexual or homosexual: Unite. Donate what you have to your cause and the cause of others. Be supportive.

LISTEN UP: We all need something from each other to create our families. Gay men need eggs or embryos and a uterus. Women need sperm. If you have something someone else needs—eggs, sperm, embryos, a uterus—consider giving or lending freely. Make a real difference. Help create a life that will be loved beyond measure by a loving person or couple desperate to have a baby. Your contribution may make the process affordable for couples who would otherwise not be able to access or afford these services on top of standard IVF costs. Look into your heart and see if there is something you can do to help someone else become a parent. Someone you love needs help having a baby. Your help. Give that gift.

It takes a village to make world parenthood a reality. Step up. LISTEN UP.

*This post, for National Infertility Awareness Week 2017, is the view point of the author and may or may not reflect the position or feelings of Long Island IVF and its physicians.




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