Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lack of Understanding is a Worldwide Problem

We all gave presentations in one of our classes this week on different cultures' perceptions of disabilities. Each group presented on a different country, which included Japan, Cambodia, India, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Nigeria, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, The Netherlands, the U.K., and Canada. And guess what every single country had in common? According to the study, people consistently ranked infertility as the "least disabling" condition.

The lack of understanding is a worldwide problem.

But we already knew that, didn't we?

Among my small group of readers alone we cover the United States, Canada, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Germany at least. And we all share common experiences of being constantly misunderstood.

About two-thirds of the way through the presentations, I leaned over to my school friend and said, "It's crazy to me that every country has ranked infertility as the least disabling condition when infertility completely destroyed my life as I knew it." He agreed and said, "That's exactly what I was just thinking."

The study is old, about twenty years old, but I will make the not-so-bold statement that not much has changed in terms of people's perceptions of infertility.

People in all countries & across all cultures just don't get it.


  1. I am confirming that sLOVEnia is covered :)

    I couldn't agree more.... nobody who didn't experience infertility gets it.


  2. That's sad. I often get upset by some of the heartless comments people write under articles about IVF. So I have seen there are a lot of people out there who don't think infertility is a real problem.

  3. Sadly not surprising to me, although I'd hope with all the increasing awareness and openness about infertility that it would change. I feel like unfortunately a lot of people see infertility and the effects on you as something that is somehow your fault, or that is a choice -- How often are people told (or whispered about) that "you waited too long!" or "you could have adopted" when you're going through the horribleness of injections and procedures. Like so many of us just plum forgot to have a baby in our 20s instead of having various reasons why that wasn't a choice. Or the fact that there are quite a few women who experience infertility in their 20s. It's not the same, clearly, but it feels a little like lung cancer, where inevitably the first question someone is asked is "Well, did they smoke?" like somehow you bring cancer upon yourself. (Someone told me this is why there's less funding for lung cancer research, because it's looked at as a sort of divine punishment for bad behavior.) I'm sorry this presentation brought your personal struggles home for you. It sucks when things sneak attack you like that.

  4. Sadly, I don't think anything has changed here. The choice to be childfree is more accepted, maybe. But infertility isn't understood or talked about, even largely amongst my otherwise open and educated friends and family.

  5. Honestly, I'm not surprised. Unlike, say, an amputated limb, infertility doesn't have a visible disability. And too many people default to "but you don't have to have kids, that's a choice that you made". Also, I've found that those who haven't been through the process have no conception of just how much it affects your everyday life - from planning events/vacations around cycles to medications everyday to completely changing your financial outlook.