National Infertility Awareness Week: The Face of Infertility
Posted on April 10th, 2023
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 5 people in the U.S. cannot get pregnant after a year of trying without success. Although fertility issues are common, there continues to be a stigma surrounding infertility, as if it’s a skeleton to be locked away in one’s closet of secrets. However, in the last decade or so, the perception of infertility has begun to shift, partially because many public figures have shared their experiences, strength, and hope in facing infertility. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, Aspire Fertility would like to share the public face of infertility.
Lance Bass and Michael Turchin
Pop singer Lance Bass and actor Michael Turchin went through a long process regarding their family planning journey. The couple underwent multiple years of surrogacy attempts, nine egg donors, repeated in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, and even had a miscarriage.
“When we went into IVF and surrogacy, we had no idea what it was all about,” Bass said in an interview with People Magazine. “And it's great that we're able to talk about this because a lot of times, I would believe that couples feel very alone in that situation. But to know that other people are going through the same exact thing, it's really comforting.”
In 2021 Bass and Turchin excitedly announced the birth of their twins, Violet Betty and Alexander James, born on October 13, 2021. Given the couple’s reports of overwhelming happiness on becoming parents, the journey appears well worth the struggle in the end.
Model and TV host Tyra Banks has spoken openly about how she put off getting pregnant for many years; when she was finally ready to commit, she found out it wasn’t as easy as she expected.
A couple of "traumatic" IVF attempts were made by Banks, according to People Magazine. "I've had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments," she said. "It's difficult as you get older. It's not something that can just happen," Banks told People Magazine.
Today, Banks is a mom; she had her son, York, through gestational surrogacy, with ex-boyfriend Erik Asia in 2016. "As I gaze into the beautiful eyes of my son, I think about all the people who struggle with fertility or carrying a child and continue to pray for them every day, My hopes and dreams are filled with well wishes that they get to feel what my little treasure, York Banks Asla, feels like in my arms," she said.
In a 2018 Good Morning America interview, former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed that she initially felt ashamed after she miscarried 20 years prior to the interview.
“I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken ... That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen," she explained.
Michelle underwent IVF to have her two daughters, Sasha and Malia, with Barack Obama. In her book Becoming, she discusses her fertility issues. “I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work," Michelle concluded.
You Are Not Alone
For people facing infertility, the family-building experience can be exceptionally challenging, especially when the topic is still considered taboo to discuss openly. However, every time a publicly-prominent person comes forward about their experience with infertility, it helps to break that stigma down a little more. National Infertility Awareness Week is a call to remind ourselves that we are not alone in our experiences and that we gain so much from sharing our stories with one another.
If you are one of the 1 in 5 people struggling with infertility, click here to learn more and take the next step.