I’ve been involved with the world of infertility for a long time—long enough that I should have become immune to the stupidity and cluelessness that people can throw at those who are struggling to create their family. But every once in a while I am again floored by what comes out of people’s mouths.*
A local news station posted a story about infertility on their Facebook page, and Heather Shuffield, a member of our online support group, commented by sharing that she was expecting her own rainbow miracle through IVF. In addition to many well wishes, she also received this comment.
Wow. Just WOW.
In addition to being intentionally cruel and totally unnecessary, it is also ignorant and likely hypocritical.
If this woman wakes up with strep throat tomorrow, would she accept the pain and move on? Would she say that she was not meant to be able to swallow or was meant to develop scarlet fever? Or would she choose to seek treatment?
God forbid that her child develops cancer, would she accept it and move on? Would she say that her child was not meant to live? Or would she choose to actively seek treatment to save her child’s life?
While I believe her commenting on Heather’s post was an act of intentional cruelty, I also think it reflects an idea that infertility is not a disease. I don’t know this woman, but I suspect that she would seek treatment for strep throat or cancer because they rise to the level of “real diseases”; whereas, in her mind, infertility is an inconvenience—something you need to just suck up and deal with.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Infertility is a disease that can and should be treated. Thank goodness we live in a time where these treatments are available. I wish we lived in a time where everyone, including insurance companies, recognized this.
We may not be able to change this ignorant and mean woman’s mind, but we can join together to get infertility covered by insurance. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ask your employer to include infertility treatment in the health insurance policies they offer. Check out the resources provided by our friends at Resolve: The National Infertility Association on how to do this.
Heather responded with grace and wisdom.
Other Creating a Family Resources You Will Enjoy
- Is Infertility Really a Disease?
- 12 Stupid Things People Actually Say to the Infertile
- 10 Things You Should Never Say to Parents through IVF
*Shared with Heather’s permission.