“Anyone Can Be a Parent” & Other Myths of Infertility
One of our Creating a Family community sent me a link to an article about the woman who won the Mrs. Utah title. Prior to having two children, she suffered from infertility and five miscarriages, and she is using the publicity around her title to bring awareness to infertility. The article provided good basic infertility information and ended with Mrs. Utah saying, “Anyone who wants to be a parent can be, but we can reach out and help the ones who aren’t yet.” Our community member took exception to that line because she thinks it perpetuates the myth that infertility is always curable.
She went on to say that not everyone who want to be a parent will be able. “My husband and I have experienced 7 miscarriages with no explanation after exhausting testing. We are fertile since we can achieve pregnancy on our own and via ART, but unable to carry a baby to term, thus, our diagnosis is ‘recurrent pregnancy loss’. We are in the process of adoption, but know there are many challenges ahead of us and in the end we know we may not be parents.”
Balancing Optimism with Reality
She raises a good point, and one we wrestle with at Creating a Family–call it the optimism/reality balance. It is quiet true that not everyone will be able to give birth, but with enough money, technology, and third party assistance, most people could eventually be successful at becoming a parent through infertility treatment. With enough money and/or ability to parent a wide range of children, the vast majority of people can also adopt. But the hard truth is that not everyone has the money for surrogacy, donor egg, or repeated cycles of IVF. Not everyone is comfortable with increasing levels of technology or third party assistance. Not everyone is able to adopt an older child or a child that carries the emotional scars from abuse or neglect. Not everyone can handle the uncertainties that are inherent with adoption. So, our emailer is right, the hard truth is that not everyone who wants to parent will be able to. Just wanting it is not enough.
Public Misperceptions about Infertility
I still think infertility awareness to those outside of the infertility world is vital because the misperception and lack of sympathy for those suffering from this disease continue to amaze me. Check the comments on just about any article on infertility, and you’ll see a few “Why don’t they just adopt” or “They can have mine” or “Not everyone is meant to parent, get over it” type comments. This lack of compassion literally takes my breath away. So, my question to you is how can we bring awareness and education without bringing false hope or perpetuating the myth that success is just around the corner if you only try hard enough?
Image credit: Evelynized