As someone who has lived with infertility for nine years, I was very excited to learn about the Walk of Hope, held at different times of the year around the U.S. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, a non-profit organization established in 1974, provides resources for local support groups and advocates for the infertility community, started the Walk of Hope five years ago. Its purpose is to give a voice to the 7.3 million Americans that live with infertility and raise awareness in the community.
For years, many couples have suffered in silence not realizing there are so many that live with infertility. It is time to start talking about it, and The Walk of Hope, to be held in Sacramento on Sept. 21, allows us to do just that. RESOLVE is the only established nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health. RESOLVE also provides equal access to all family-building options for men and women experiencing infertility
As the Sponsorship Committee Chair for the Northern California Walk of Hope, along with the help of volunteers and others, we really want to focus on getting the community involved. We want the local infertility community to feel the support of their neighborhood businesses, and we want to educate those local businesses that 800,000 Californians suffer from this terrible disease. While promoting The Walk, I have met so many people that either suffer themselves or know someone who suffer with infertility. No one should walk alone through this journey, and I am proud to be a part of such a great event.
Our journey began nine years ago. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 17 and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in my mid 20's-- two of the leading causes of infertility in women. I knew we were going to have a hard time getting pregnant. So as soon as we were married, we started trying. We have charted, taken countless fertility medications, done four intrauterine inseminations (IUI) and are now ready to try IVF.
For the first several years I suffered in silence. I felt hopeless, scared, and alone. I had no one to talk to about my struggles, and it really started to affect my emotional state and our marriage. A friend of mine, who also lives with infertility, convinced me to join a RESOLVE-sponsored support group three years ago, and it has changed my life. I have decided that if I have to live with this terrible diagnosis, I am going to help others who also struggle and raise awareness about this disease that affects one in eight couples.
I started a blog, I have become the co-leader of that support group that has helped me so much, and I volunteered to Chair the Sponsorship Committee for the Northern California Walk of Hope. I vowed that if I have to go through this I am going to use my experience to help as many people as I can. Taking the focus off of what I am going through and helping others has helped me get through all the disappointment that infertility brings.
I hope to have a happy ending. But no matter what happens, infertility will always be a part of my life, and I will continue to advocate, raise awareness. and educate others on this life-changing disease.