It’s estimated in the United States that one in eight couples will battle infertility. And every year, more than 1 million women endure fertility treatments. A great number of women suffer in silence because speaking about their condition causes more pain than they can bear.
A survey championed by Schering-Plough uncovered that 61 percent of women undergoing fertility treatments do not share their experience with family and friends. The survey also revealed that for women dealing with infertility, it was easier to tell those inquiring about their “future family building plans,” to say they didn’t want children versus telling the truth.
For many, being candid about fertility struggles and failed treatments is like walking down a path of emotional landmines.
Recently celebrities such as Jamie King and Kim Kardashian West have opened up about their fertility struggles. Their own personal stories transcend to other women who are fighting the fight. Through their words, the shroud of silence is being lifted.
Earlier this year in PEOPLE Magazine, Jamie King, 36, opened up about her fertility challenges.
“I was hiding what I was going through for so long, and I hear about so many women going through what I went through. If I’m open about it, hopefully it won’t be so taboo to talk about it,” she told PEOPLE.
Like many other women, King was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS can cause endometriosis, infertility, ovarian cysts and imbalanced hormones.
In an effort to help other women, King decided to come out about her struggles in hopes that it could engage dialog among women undergoing the same heartbreaking issues and above all, raise awareness about infertility.
The magazine reported, “Finally, after five miscarriages, five rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and 26 rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI), good luck brought the Hart of Dixie star a bit of unexpected news: She had naturally conceived her first child with husband Kyle Newman.”
King told PEOPLE that when she got pregnant, it was the best thing in the whole world.
“I had never felt so grateful, happy and elated,” she said.
Another celebrity who has been frank about her emotional infertility is Kim Kardashian West who struggled to conceive her second child.
She told ET Online, “I didn’t know that I was going to be so open with [my fertility challenges].” Kardashian West continued, “But meeting people at my fertility doctor’s office who are going through the same things I’m going through, I thought, ‘Why not share my story?’ It’s been really emotional. One doctor told me I would need my uterus removed after I had another baby — I could only have one more.”
She was also receiving conflicting information: A surrogate would be needed versus not requiring one. Kardashian West was on an emotional roller coaster that a great deal of women encounter every single day.
She told the online media publication, “There are definitely times when I walked out [of the doctor’s office] hysterically crying and other times when I was like, ‘Okay, everything’s looking good, it’s going to be this month!’”
Staggering results from a study conducted at Harvard Medical School uncovered that women dealing with infertility mirrored a similar depression to those diagnosed with cancer. Yes, while infertility cannot cause death like cancer, the sadness surrounding the disease can be utterly debilitating.
With the help of celebrities “coming out” about their infertility, many activists see the potential of fueling the cause and awareness efforts.
While there are fertility success stories, in other medical cases, there are not. By recognizing the disease of infertility, individuals and couples can get the support they need and discover other family building pathways.