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Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Do You Refer to Infertility?

Am I infertile?  I hate to use that term... I think that is a term that comes with an implication of failure or the inability to EVER conceive. 

But how do we refer to each other in conversations about infertility?  I start to say "women experiencing infertility" but I don't like the sound of that.  It is not a single experience.. it is by definition at least a 12 month struggle to reach the clinical definition of infertile.  But from the beginning of your TTC journey until the 12 month point the doctor really won't "do" anything because there is nothing to "do" as there is no problem.  Then at 12 months you are sort of thrown into this whole new category called "infertility".  Your world is turned even more upside down than the prior 12 months of trying to conceive.  Now you know there is a problem but exactly what is the problem?  Many won't know yet because you most likely didn't necessarily "do" anything more because there was technically nothing wrong. 

Infertile is a label, a tag, an identity to me that implies that you must deal with the cards that you are dealt and we all know it is more than that. There are in some cases things we can do to increase our chances of getting pregnant... yes expensive, time consuming and painful but there are options.  I do recognize that some of us will never conceive, that is the reality of "infertility". But the diagnosis of infertility is not necessarily the end of the road.

I see so many people refer to infertility as a journey hence the title "My Hopeful Journey" which, by the way, is more about trying to help others with their journey vs. a play by play of mine!  I think I just answered my own question.  When I refer to women and infertility I think I will say... "going through the journey called infertility".  That seems to make sense to me.


  1. Here from ICLW... I used to get upset about the infertility label, but I have to say it doesn't bother me any more.

    Sometimes groups of people reclaim words that they originally found offensive - I suppose an example would be "queer" being reappropriated by some people in the LGBT community. Maybe people who are affected by infertility or loss could do the same thing with "infertile"? Words and their meanings are powerful, and all that!

  2. Its interesting that it isnt looked at as a disease, when that is exactly what it is. We are lacking something others have, the ability to conceive children, whether it be the man, woman or both of us. Hopefully someday it wont be such a taboo topic, thats what I hope for!

  3. I think the way a person views the word infertile changes as the progress through it. For me, it has been a journey, one of learning to accept myself, flaws and all. It was shock being told I was infertile, but it has made me stronger in so many ways. I've learned that if I can accept infertility into my life, I can accept my other issues as well. I'm still a work in progress, but I try to remind myself that thats ok.

    I agree with Jenn as well. I hope that one day infertility won't be such a taboo topic. I think that each of us being up front about it, and willing to explain infertility to any who ask is a great step in that direction!

    ICLW #117

  4. I believe that we all fight labels. Lovely blog, good luck on your journey! :) ICLW

  5. Thanks for the comments. I agree that IF makes you a stronger person. I like the work in progress comment.. so true. I hope to be able to help others through my experience!

  6. My sweet 90-year old grandmother refers to infertility as "doesn't have kids yet" which I think is kidda cute and I really like the "yet" part. And, to be honest, I am embracing my infertility, so the label/title doesn't bother me at all, but I know everyone has their own perspective.

  7. What we call Infertility, by any other name would stink just as much.