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Can I Borrow a Stamp Please?

A new stamp aims to increase awareness about infertility and is a way to let someone know you care.

Every month women across the nation hold their breath in anticipation, hoping that they’ll be lucky. For them, luck comes in the form of two pink lines showing that they are pregnant.

The exact number of women that go through this ritual each month is unknown, but it’s estimated that 1 in 8 women who are trying to conceive will not be able to. In total, that's at least 7.3 million women. Putting that figure into context, that's almost the entire population of Virginia and this number is probably an underestimate. Yes, infertility is on the rise.

Infertility's close relative is Struggle. In fact, you could say it’s synonymous with it. Struggle to make sense of disquieting initialisms such as PCOS, or understanding terms like Endometriosis. Struggle to understand why and what can be done. Struggle to fit in with a world where most people don’t have to give a second thought to baby making.

For those with infertility, the journey to parenthood sometimes ends well, but sometimes doesn’t. Not many people hear about the details, but it’s not uncommon for couples to go through years of fertility treatment- and we’re talking 10 years in some cases.

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine going through 10 years of fertility treatment, finally to become pregnant then lose the baby through miscarriage? Now, let’s add some insult to injury- add that scene to -trying adopt and having the adoption fail –followed by your marriage ending. This type of story is not uncommon. The only uncommon thing is that you don’t get to hear about it.

Infertility can feel like a shameful unmentionable event. And after all, when someone asks you “Do you have kids?” they’re not wanting to hear your sob story about how you just spent your life savings on the last fertility drug- which didn’t work.  So a sort of social taboo forms around this topic.

But no more. The Infertility Awareness stamp, designed by the American Fertility Association (AFA), has been released for general circulation. The stamp is the cornerstone of the AFA’s Love Letter Campaign, a patient-driven movement in support of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week  (April 22nd- 28th,  2012). The theme – “Don’t Ignore Infertility”. 

The wonderful thing about this stamp is that it can travel all over the world. Add a few more than one and this message can reach countries where fertility treatment is banned (restrictions apply in France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Sweden).  

This small, yet highly visible gesture speaks a thousand words to someone struggling with fertility issues. It’s a way to bridge the gap between not knowing what to say to someone going through infertility and letting them know you care.

On a personal note, I really love the look of this stamp and I’m really hoping that someone will send me some mail soon. Hint, hint! We support so many good causes. Let this be one of them.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michael April 24, 2012 at 07:50 PM
messing with mother nature does not usually bring positive results. We have no idea what we are doing to our gene pool as a result of forced fertility when nature says no. Just because humans develop certain technology does not mean we should be using it. Dr. Gupta you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned... "It is about not being able to do what most of us can do naturally, which is to conceive". Well boo hoo hoo sorry if you don't get everything you want in life. There is nothing natural about forced fertilization which is what this article is about. It is not natural at all but rather human's attempt to trick nature. And then we could get into the genetic engineering that is going on to take us further away from nature's intent (I want only a boy or only a girl etc). If couples really have a dream to bring up children it should not matter whether they are born naturally or adopted should it? Those obsessed with only wanting their own children and with using man made fertility methods when nature tells them NO over adoption seem totally self centered to me. And I know nobody who looks at or cares about a stamp anymore especially young people as they do not use the mail.
Eric Tarasoff April 24, 2012 at 08:15 PM
@Michael: While I respect your opinion, I can't say I agree with it. Following the same line of reasoning, should we let the sick die instead of using modern medicine to intervene and prolong a life (and thereby affecting the gene pool by interfering with Mother Nature's process of natural selection)? Ultimately, I'm not likely to change your opinion, or you mine, but I guess that's what makes the world go 'round...
Fenella Das Gupta PhD Neuroscience, MFT April 24, 2012 at 08:18 PM
thank you for your comments Michael and Eric. Clearly Michael, you would choose otherwise for your self.... and i guess in the end it is all about having the choice, which couples with a diagnosis often don't have. But, your point Michael is grist for the mill. thanks!
Ella April 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Aside from being insensitive, Michael clearly has no idea how expensive and difficult the adoption process is. Prospective adoptive parents often spend years and tens of thousands of dollars while they navigate the system, which sometimes ends with a child in their home and sometimes does not. Adoption is not a magic bullet, cure-all for those wanting to raise a child.
Fenella Das Gupta PhD Neuroscience, MFT April 28, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Ella, thanks for filling in this process with more details. Well said.

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