National Infertility Awareness Week: Pregnantish Presents, "This Is What Infertility Looks Like”

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With Support From First Response™ Pregnancy, Amplifying 6 Powerful Stories That Reinforce the Need for Inclusion in Infertility Conversations

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Join the conversation with hashtag #InfertilityLooksLike

The individuals who bravely decided to participate in this campaign are some of the most fit, strong, accomplished people we’ve met in the community. It’s time to change the conversation and perception around what infertility looks like

During National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW, April 18-24), pregnantish is proud to announce its new campaign, “This is What Infertility Looks Like", highlighting the lack of representation in infertility conversations. The campaign was also developed to address misconceptions people have about the medical issue of infertility, including who it affects. With support from America’s #1 pregnancy test brand, First Response, “This is What Infertility Looks Like” captures the experiences of 6 individuals whose courageous storytelling reinforces the fact that infertility doesn’t discriminate when it comes to race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, lifestyle, or other factors.

“When you think of infertility, who generally comes to mind? Chances are it's the busy white career woman who is privileged enough to access fertility treatments like IVF and waited a little too long to start her family. At least 1 in 8 struggle to conceive and we know that infertility is a medical, not a lifestyle issue,” says pregnantish's Founder, Relationship Expert and Author, Andrea Syrtash, who struggled to conceive for almost a decade and was able to have her daughter through gestational surrogacy. "The individuals who bravely decided to participate in this campaign are some of the most fit, strong, accomplished people we’ve met in the community. It’s time to change the conversation and perception around what infertility looks like.”

Since its inception in 2017, pregnantish has supported RESOLVE’s National Infertility Awareness Week, with programs and content about modern-family building and the disease of infertility.

“Pregnantish relies on third-party sponsors to continue to serve an audience navigating infertility and necessary treatments. For this reason, we are thankful that First Response, who has supported the infertility community for decades, continues to bolster our mission to help increase awareness of this program and help inspire our community,” adds Syrtash.

“First Response is proud to help amplify the unheard voices within the infertility community and address the very real misconceptions that exist for those struggling to conceive. It’s critical to continue to shift the narrative to make sure all people experiencing infertility feel supported and understood,” says Eileen Hsu, Director of Marketing for First Response. “We want to thank pregnantish and these incredible cast members for sharing their stories and empowering others that may be going through the same experience.”

“This is What Infertility Looks Like” captures who in the infertility community are often left out of the conversation, including:

  • People of Color Are Underrepresented.

Certain groups, like Black and South Asian women, have higher rates of certain medical conditions than white women, which may affect their ability to conceive. According to campaign cast member and patient advocate Brittney Cain, “Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with lifelong conditions such as PCOS, fibroid tumors and endometriosis, but historically the fertility treatment conversations are centered around upper-class white women. It’s important to normalize discussing infertility especially in marginalized groups.” Dr. Roohi Jeelani, a fertility doctor currently undergoing IVF to expand her family adds, “There’s a cultural stigma in the (South Asian) community. We are bred to think we can have a baby when we’re ready. It’s important to show how many this disease affects.”

  • Infertility Isn't a Woman's Issue.

Men account for 30-50% of infertility cases and even if their sperm isn't the issue causing infertility, couples trying to conceive are in it together -- it's not just a woman's issue. Air Force Sergeant Christian Borrero-Colon, who was born with non-obstructive azoospermia, a genetic abnormality caused by a lack of sperm, feels left out of the conversation too often, and is using this campaign as a platform to share his experience and remind other men that they aren’t alone. “Infertility isn’t something people associate with men. It made me question my masculinity and made me insecure, even though I was born with this issue,” said Christian.

  • Age is the Biggest Misconception.

"I think age is wildly misunderstood when it comes to fertility. We either assume women can get pregnant at any age, especially when we see celebrities sporting baby bumps in their late 40s and 50s, or that all people who struggle with fertility are of advanced maternal age. Both perspectives don't consider the reality." says Syrtash. Cast member and 70x marathon runner Kelly McLay went through menopause at just 24 years old and started running in order to feel strong and youthful in her body. “If people were to look at me today, you would not see any of the years of struggle and the feeling of being 80 when I was 20. Infertility in a woman is not always about age.”

  • Access to Treatment is a Barrier for Millions.

The average cost for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is over $15,000 in the US and often over $25,000 when considering the necessary drugs and services a fertility treatment patient must access. This makes fertility treatment out of reach for the estimated 12-15% of people who report having trouble getting pregnant, according to the CDC. It's certainly a positive step that more companies are funding fertility treatments. For this reason, Christian Borrero-Colon took a second job at Starbucks just to be able to afford the necessary treatment for his medical issue. Even those that can afford costly fertility treatments, like ESPN anchor Nicole Briscoe and her husband, racecar driver Ryan Briscoe, being able to pay for treatment doesn’t guarantee fertility treatment success. She joins the pregnantish campaign to show how many struggle behind the scenes.

  • LGBTQ Are Building Families in Record Numbers.

The narrative of who needs to access fertility treatments must include the LGBTQ community. Pregnantish was one of the first platforms to tell the story of Seth, a trans man who navigated IVF with his wife. Fitness instructor and advocate Tracy Palmer, who is part of the NIAW program, wishes more literature covered the stories of same sex couples and queer individuals accessing fertility treatments. She says, “You mostly find success rates and other information for IUI & IVF for women in heterosexual relationships experiencing infertility. Research leads to knowledge and with knowledge comes advocacy and with advocacy can come changes and possible laws and legislation that can help queer folks with the cost and burden that creating a family can bear.”

Follow @pregnantish to hear the stories and tag #infertilitylookslike to share your story. Check out pregnantish.com/infertilitylookslike during National Infertility Awareness Week, April 18-24, to meet our extraordinary patient advocates who are using their voices to debunk all the misconceptions of the disease and share their incredible stories of modern family-building.

About Pregnantish Inc.
Pregnantish™, a patient advocacy and healthcare media company, launched in early 2017 to elevate the conversation about the process of getting pregnant with the help of reproductive science and technology. Today, a diverse cross-section of readers come to pregnantish first to find the content, support and events they need to travel their own fertility journey.

Pregnantish is now home to the Pregnantish Verified Network, featuring infertility advocates and healthcare providers, and to Pregnantish Productions, which captures extraordinary modern-family building stories.

About First Response™
For over 30 years, First Response™, the #1 Most Trusted¹ and #1 Pharmacist Recommended² pregnancy test brand, has been dedicated to being a source of truth and guidance by offering an array of products that deliver fast, accurate results when you need them most; including: First Response™ Early Result Pregnancy Test that detects all forms of the pregnancy hormone commonly found in urine and can tell you six days sooner than your missed period³; Pre-Seed™ Fertility Lubricant, designed to be isotonic and pH balanced similar to that of the vaginal environment to aid in supporting sperm survival. For more information, visit http://www.FirstResponse.com.

¹ 2020 Brands park Most Trusted Awards http://www.brandsparkmosttrusted.com/usa/#homegoods2020
² Top Recommended Health Products, U.S. News & Pharmacy Times https://health.usnews.com/health-products/top-rec-pregnancy-testing-108
³ In laboratory testing, Early Result Pregnancy Test detected pregnancy hormone levels in 76% of pregnancy women 5 days before their expected period. See package for details about testing early.

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Andrea Syrtash
Pregnantish
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