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Infertility awareness facts and learnings

To honor National Infertility Awareness Week Option B hosted an Instagram Live with grief advocate and author Marisa Renee Lee and RESOLVE Board Member Dr. Elizabeth Grill about experiencing infertility loss and how to support family or friends. In this clip from our Live, we discuss just how distressing living with infertility can be.

[0:00-0:12] Dr. Grill: The levels of distress for people who are going through infertility are comparable to people who are being diagnosed with cancer or terminal illnesses.

Marisa: Oh my God, I didn’t know that.

[0:13–1:03] Dr. Grill: I like to throw that out there right away because it’s so validating for the pain and suffering of a person going through it. And on a life event scale, people going through the struggle of infertility rate the infertility experience and the distress levels they are experiencing higher than divorce, death of a loved one, or illness and disease. And in recent studies about Covid, it was ranked even higher than fear of getting Covid.

Marisa: Wow!

Dr. Grill: So it’s at the very top of the top in terms of levels of distress and it’s really important for people to listen to that instinct, let it sink in, so they don’t feel like they’re going crazy and for partners, family, friends, and roommates to validate that this is very real—the levels of distress and pain and loss that people are experiencing as they go through this.

[1:04–2:17] Marisa: Wow, I needed you back in 2019! I honestly feel thoroughly validated. I’ll just share one anecdote: after our loss, when my husband was like “Yeah, we’re not doing this again. I don’t think it’s good for you and I don’t want to sit back and watch you suffer in this way,” I was still struggling to get to a place of saying “You’re right. We’re going to go down a different path for growing our family.” I reached out to a friend who I knew had experienced multiple losses and years of infertility and I said to her, “How are you still doing this? You are years ahead of me and have had more losses than I’ve had—how are you doing this?” and she said: “Prozac.” And I was like, “Oh!” I needed someone to say that.

Becca: Relatable. That’s relatable content.

Marisa: You’re like, “Oh, it happens to so many people, maybe I’m getting too caught up in it—I’m too attached to what’s fundamentally a bundle of cells. I need to just let it go,” but when she said that I was like “Oh, okay, so this actually is very hard. Okay, got it”.

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