A journey to parenthood: shedding light on fertility for Canadian Infertility Awareness Week
One in six Canadian couples of childbearing age experience fertility challenges[i], this number has doubled since the 1980s.[ii] April 22 to 27 is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, and EMD Serono, Canada is bringing attention to the far-reaching impact of infertility to encourage couples to educate themselves on reproductive health and family planning.
Infertility can be defined as a failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of attempted conception without contraception. A fertility consultation may be recommended after one year of attempted conception for women under 35 years of age and 6 months for women over 35 years of age.[iii] Age, length of time you have been trying to conceive, hormone levels, medical history and other factors can all contribute to fertility.[iv]
“When my husband and I found out we were going to need help staring our family, we had no idea what to expect,” said Breya Rolt, first-time mom from Burlington, Ontario. “No one really talks about fertility issues until you are thrown into it. When we opened up about our experience, we were surprised to learn just how many people were in the same boat.”
Fertility challenges are often viewed as an issue affecting the female reproductive system, but men are almost just as likely as women to experience fertility challenges.[vi] Fertility specialists can make recommendations to help couples conceive naturally or with assisted reproductive technology. But some couples may delay or decline treatments due to the perceived social stigma associated with fertility challenges.
“Making the decision to start a family is usually a pretty private thing and it can feel like you are losing some of that privacy when you have to reach out for help. But what we lost in privacy, we gained in support. We are grateful for the team of doctors and nurses at our fertility clinic who helped us make our dream of starting a family come true,” said Rolt.
It is important for couples trying to conceive to educate themselves on their reproductive health and fertility options.
“It is never too early to talk to your family doctor or OB/GYN about fertility,” said Dr. Shannon Corbett, Medical Director and Partner, The Reproductive Care Centre. “Learning about your reproductive health is an important part of family planning. Couples trying to conceive are encouraged to have these conversations with their doctor so they can understand their options and make the best decision for themselves and their family at any stage of their fertility journey.”
For information and resources on fertility, visit www.positiveplan.ca.