The 10 things you need to know about infertility

Tertia shares 10 things everyone should know about infertility. This post first appeared on the parenting blog Rattle and Mum.

1. Infertility is not your fault!: You are not struggling to have a baby because of something you did wrong in your past. Stop blaming yourself!

2. Infertility is medical condition: It is not part of “God’s plan” that you don’t have a child. It is not that you “weren’t meant to be a mother”. Don’t listen to that stuff. You wouldn’t say “oh, maybe it is part of God’s plan that I am a diabetic, I should just accept it and not seek help”.

3. Infertility is painful: They say that infertility patients are second only to cancer patients in what they will endure to find a cure. That shows you how deep the pain can be. Know that what you are feeling is real. Also know that there is hope!

4. Infertility can break up relationships, if you allow it to: Infertility is can sometimes wreak havoc on relationships. Between you and your husband, between you and your best friend. Be open about what you are feeling. Talk. Communicate. It is so important.

5. Infertility is indiscriminate: Infertility doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, tall or short, black or white. One in 10 couples struggle to conceive. Fact.

6. Infertility is age dependant: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but you need to know that your eggs have an expiry date. It doesn’t matter how young you look on the outside, your fertility declines after 35. After 40 your fertility declines rapidly. Don’t leave it too long.

7. Infertility is lonely, but it doesn’t have to be: Being infertile in a fertile world is a lonely place to be, but you don’t need to do this alone. There are so many people who are in the same boat as you and who get how you feel. Join a support group like Fertilicare – you can even join anonymously.

8. Infertility needn’t be a life sentence: There is hope out there. There are amazing doctors and fertility specialists who have access to the latest medical technology to help you conceive. You can have a baby, but just don’t wait too long (see point 6!)

9. Infertility is not the end of the road: If you are struggling to conceive, there are many options open to you. Families are built in all different ways and thank goodness we have things like egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy, adoption and foster care. If you are open to it, there are many ways to have children.

10. Infertility is hard, but getting it ‘right’ is worth everything and more: Doing 10 IVFs and having so many pregnancy losses was harrowing. My journey was a long, tough one but I would do it all again a million times over in order to be a mother. Being my children’s mother is an honour and a privilege and I am reminded every day how incredibly lucky I am that I eventually succeeded. I hope you get your ‘happily ever after’ too.

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Tertia Albertyn is the founder of Nurture - South Africa’s longest-running and most successful Egg Donation Program. An accomplished speaker and an award-winning published author, as well as an ex-infertility patient herself, she is highly regarded in South Africa and internationally for the work she does in infertility. Tertia was instrumental in establishing the first FDA-approved frozen donor egg bank in Africa. Tertia has an MBA from the University of Cape Town and lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her husband and three children.