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Infertility: Let's Talk about the Taboo

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Infertility is a condition that affects about 15% of couples globally. However, when it comes to talking about infertility and one’s journey along this arduous and often heart-breaking path, there seems to be a strong taboo at work.



The secrecy around Infertility

The secrecy shrouding infertility is what makes this emotionally, financially, and physically demanding process even tougher. It actually perpetuates an aura of shame around the women going through infertility and its treatment. This shame and secrecy also help to further the misconception that infertility is somehow more of a lifestyle choice than a medical condition just like any other.

Many couples keep their emotions and struggles with infertility under wraps. Everyone has the right to privacy, but it is a fact that this secrecy can leave people to cope alone, in pain, and often uninformed. Most fertility specialists confirm that couples often conceal their fertility problems.

Coming out of this taboo can not only help couples deal with the struggles of infertility, but can also open them up to new information that may actually help them conceive.

The toll of this taboo on relationships

It is a societal expectation that a couple will be able to have a family when they choose. This assumption remains unchallenged until difficulties in conceiving arise. For couples who do not get pregnant naturally, the pain and loss can be immense, and this often has a significant negative impact on their relationship.

Infertility is a multi-layered, complex experience, and there are a number of issues involved for the people living with it, as it spans the physical, emotional, social, financial and psychological aspects of their lives and relationships.

Negative emotions including depression and loss become commonplace for people struggling to get pregnant, especially when friends and family appear to conceive with ease. It can be excruciatingly difficult to appear happy and unaffected when you feel hollow and sad, and to cope with the intensity of grief, loss and desperation while facing up to the harsh reality of infertility.

All this results in an emotional rollercoaster for couples who live in month-to-month cycles of hope and disappointment as they navigate the seemingly endless schedule of appointments, tests and treatments which often place their lives on hold. Prolonged fertility problems invade every aspect of life. Consequently, it becomes vital for the taboo surrounding infertility to abate.

How can we deal with the taboo around infertility?

As a society, it is up to everyone to do their part in reducing the taboo surrounding infertility. Here are some ideas of how we can achieve this.

Listen, don’t judge

Judgement is unfortunately one of the commonest societal reactions to a woman who is unable to have a baby. It is easy to judge and blame in cases where you are unaware of the full implications of the situation. Instead, we need to start really listening to the stories of those who have struggled with infertility. We need to stop judging them or offering advice on how to get pregnant, and instead, offer understanding and support.

Talk about your experiences with infertility

Just as we need society to listen, we also need more and more women experiencing infertility to step out and share their stories. This is the best way for infertility to become less taboo. Of course, this is extremely difficult to do. However, when people are brave enough to talk about their experience of infertility, we need to applaud their courage instead of judging them, criticizing them or telling them what to do with their bodies. Stories are the most powerful tool that we have to battle the misunderstanding about this heart-wrenching topic.

Increase education and awareness from the medical community

It would help greatly if adults were educated not only about how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but also about the possibility of infertility. Being aware that such a possibility exists would perhaps help a couple come to terms with it more smoothly, and also may help them open their minds to the possibility of alternative options.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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