Infertility affects approximately 10% of the population, but it isn’t exactly a common topic of conversation. Many people struggle silently, and the problem can go on for years.
This is something that CNN “New Day” anchor Alisyn Camerota knows a lot about. She and her husband tried for almost three years to get pregnant, and she promised herself that if and when she came out on the other side, that she would talk about it as often as possible.
That’s why, throughout the month of April, CNN has been collecting stories. During National Infertility Awareness Week, April 19-25, Camerota and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spent some time on Facebook chatting about infertility with readers.
Here are three highlights from the chat:
1. Infertility is expensive
“Some companies, such as Apple and Facebook, have started to help cover costs,” Gupta writes, but he adds that treatments could cost more than $10,000. However, he suspects that the cost of egg freezing may come down, since it’s still a relatively new procedure.
Camerota encourages everyone to write to their representatives in Congress to get insurance coverage for infertility.
2. Support groups can help
Fran Meadows, who submitted an iReport about her struggle with infertility, commented on the chat that she thinks “finding a supportive network is key!” That’s not just to have people to lean on. Camerota, who leads her own support group, says the groups have been shown to increase success rates.
A 2000 study from RESOLVE, the National Infertility Foundation, found that attendees of its support groups had higher pregnancy rates than women who didn’t attend a support group. Attending helps with a decreased sense of isolation, the freedom to express negative feelings, learning to develop effective coping skills and enhancing self-esteem.
3. Be your own advocate
“I did research and peppered doctors with questions. Sometimes they only know one route or one protocol. But you know your body best,” says Camerota.
There’s no one reason for infertility – Gupta addressed several of them, including polycystic ovary syndrome and autoimmune disorders – so it’s important to speak up and ask questions.