You Are Not Alone – An Infertility Awareness Quiz, Research and Awesome Bloggers

Welcome to the 26th National Infertility Awareness Week! After you’re done breaking out the confetti, hopefully you can benefit from my following humble offerings.

FIRST, you have an infertility awareness quiz to give to others, courtesy of yours truly, Infertility Honesty. If you’re too exhausted to explain infertility, or if you generally fear your own spontaneous combustion in trying to do so, I did some of the work for you. Feel free to hand over this quiz to anyone, and if you want to even blame some of your own snarky-ness on me, I offer myself up. As we are saying this week, you are not alone!

SECOND, we do have a collection, though all too underground, of research that validates many aspects of the infertile experience, as well as some basic statistics available. I used and referenced both in my quiz as often as possible. What a luxury to have this slowly growing body of research to fall back on. For me, it’s especially useful to reference in conversations where people have trouble wrapping their heads and hearts around the truth that going through one surgery and ten fertility treatments to the end of no child is – like – HARD. I now have PROOF it’s not just me, and I feel much less alone as a result.

And, THIRD: Although there is much work to do to make infertility a part of the human conversation and basic social protocol, there are many wonderful bloggers out there paving the way for such a thing, post by post. Many of the ones I have chosen to highlight center around my child free not by choice klan, however, whether it’s that or the experiences of recurrent pregnancy loss, pursuing treatment or adoption, we as a community are writing and speaking. Make no mistake about it. Hopefully one day we can freely turn to the outside world for support and compassion. Until then, we have a warm and passionate (albeit at times turbulent) community to turn to for support and information to remind us that we are not alone.

INFERTILITY AWARENESS QUIZ

(Includes General Knowledge Section, Infertility Etiquette Section, and Answer Key)

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE SECTION

#1 Infertility is:

A) An attitude problem
B) A spiritual problem
C) An emotional problem
D) A disease/medical issue

#2 Infertility affects:

A) One in 20 people of child bearing age
B) More than one in 8 people of child bearing age
C) I’m never around anyone affected by infertility

#3 Which of the following is a legitimate treatment for infertility:

A) Relaxing and taking a vacation
B) Forgetting about it
C) Believing a pregnancy “will happen when the time is right”
D) None of the above

#4 The causes of infertility can entail issues with:

A) Genetics
B) The reproductive system
C) The immune system
D) All of the above
E) A and B

#5 Approximately this percentage of infertility cases are male factor:

A) 20%
B) 10%
C) Males can’t be infertile
D) 33%

#6 The level of PTSD in the general population is approximately 8%. One study done on the infertile population indicated the level of PTSD in the infertile population could be approximately:

A) 25%
B) 50%
C) People living with infertility don’t suffer from PTSD

#7 Infertility is (circle all that apply):

A) A life crisis
B) Something people should just get over
C) A life altering trauma
D) Not that big of a problem

#8 People who live with infertility who also have dealt with other life crisis (such as cancer, the untimely death of loved ones, and childhood abuses) often describe infertility as:

A) The worst thing that has ever happened to them
B) Every bit as difficult as their other problems
C) Unfortunate, but not that difficult
D) Their “real” problems put infertility into perspective
E) A and B
F) C and D

#9 Studies show that the incidences of depression in those living with an infertility diagnosis are equal to the incidences of depression in those with:

A) HIV
B) Cancer
C) Heart disease
D) All of the above
E) None of the above

#10 As those of us who emerge from infertility without a biological child begin to heal from the loss of our children, those around us can expect:

A) Us to go through a process, that entails grieving, among other things, from which it takes 3-4 years to emerge
B) Our goal to be to “get back to normal”
C) We couldn’t have kids, oh well – that’s not SUCH a big deal…..

#11 When living without children after infertility, you can expect the following from people (circle the one that does NOT apply):

A) The assumption you “chose” your situation
B) Because you did not go onto parent, the stigma of selfishness
C) Compassion and respect for your losses
D) Disenfranchised grief

#12 In the year 2012, approximately 1.5 million fertility treatments were performed worldwide. Approximately how many failed?

A) 100,000
B) 1.15 million
C) 555,000

#13 What is the percentage of women over age 45 who do not have children in the USA and UK?

A) 5%
B) 10%
C) 20%

#14 Adoption is a cure for infertility, True or False

#15 Asking people if they have children, when are they going to have them and why they don’t have them while expecting people to NOT talk about infertility is hypocritical, True or False

*Sources for some answers can be found in the answer key below

INFERTILITY ETIQUETTE SECTION

The following material contains a detectable level of sarcasm. Viewer discretion for those who take themselves way too seriously is advised.

Writer’s note: ”Special” thanks to my fellow humans for the material below. It all comes from my five years of experience as an infertile walking around in this world. I had to make up nothing.

#1 The following is an appropriate response upon finding out someone is dealing with infertility:

A) “Have you tried Acupuncture?”
B) “I’m sorry to hear that. How can I support you?”
C) Dismiss their concerns by assuring them “their time will come”, although the truth is you have NO IDEA whether it ever will or not.
D) Make sure they are “doing it” right. (Even though anyone forced to try to conceive for an extended period of time is likely having WAY MORE sex than you).

#2 The following is an appropriate response upon finding out someone is dealing with infertility:

A) Please, DO TELL about the kind of alcohol you drank when you conceived your third, it’s TOTALLY pertinent.
B) Launch into a list of everyone you know who is expecting or just delivered a baby – and don’t forget to mention your friend Marie who just had triplets.
C) “I’ve heard that can be exhausting/frustrating, how are you holding up?”
D) Give advice on how to solve the problem, SURELY you’ll be able to come up with something in a minute that the infertile patient, countless holistic modalities, several doctors, and years of delving failed to locate. It’s only logical.

#3 The following is an appropriate response upon finding out someone is dealing with infertility:

A) Tell them to just relax and take a vacation, that’s what you always tell people coping with a disease.
B) I’m so sorry you are going/you had to go through that.
C) Assure them you know how they feel as it took you a whopping 6 months to conceive your second.
D) “Inform” them that they “can ALWAYS foster” or “just adopt”. After all, you never had to do it or look into it yourself, so yeah, you would know.

#4 The following is an appropriate response upon finding out someone is dealing with a failed round of IVF and/or a miscarriage:

A) “I’m so sorry for your loss/losses. I imagine it takes great strength to endure such a thing.”
B) Provide unsolicited pontifications on how god and the universe work. Telling someone that the heartbreaking losses and daily torture they are enduring are actually the intent of some larger spiritual force will of course make them feel totally super
C) Lament about the difficulties of parenting – nothing pacifies someone who works harder than everyone else to conceive but still doesn’t get to more than an ungratuitous fertile
D) Preach about how natures knows best, since in actuality, it often doesn’t. Plus it must feel warm and fuzzy to hear that some higher power earmarked your genetics for instant death
E) Reiterate every miracle IVF success story known to man

#5 When conversing with someone you don’t know, the following is appropriate:

A) Ask them if they have kids. Immediately. Right away. Get to know NOTHING ELSE about them. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
B) Ignore any blank stares and continue to talk incessantly about yours. Even amid hangings and bodies decomposing down to their skeletons a la the movie Airplane (oh how I date myself).
C) If in a group, pointedly go around to everyone in the group and ask them if they have kids. Follow up by conversing only with those who have them while totally ignoring those who don’t.
D) Know that if people do have children they will likely mention them.

#6 Ok, you couldn’t resist. You just HAD to ask someone if they have kids. They answered “No” (which apparently is a long and baffling word for some people to have to hear). You:

A) Bluntly ask them why. Risking stomping on someone’s wounds and tearing at their scars in order to satisfy your own pointless curiosity is completely on par with your standard of human kindness.
B) Tell them how easy they have it. The argument that receiving the greatest gift of your life without having to work at it and then getting to raise it is a hell like no other is so convincing. Really.
C) Immediately ask them why they don’t like kids, since that’s typically the LAST reason why someone doesn’t have them. Yeah, that’s it…..go with those odds.
D) Move on and talk about something else

#7 You are speaking to someone who has one child. You:

A) Ask them when they are having their second, in as rude and insensitive of a way as possible, such as “You’re not DONE, are you?”
B) Tell them they are a failure as a parent if they do not provide their child with a sibling
C) If their child is on the older side, ask them why they didn’t have more. Since it’s TOTALLY your business and all.
D) Leave them the hell alone

We all remember that annoying eye doctor’s test, which is better, A or B? You know the one, where there’s practically no discernable difference between A and B even after you try your desperate damndest to differentiate between the two. After you told yourself you weren’t going to overthink it this time. The one where you first second guess yourself by backtracking and saying actually A was better when you initially said B, and in the middle of the test you ask the doctor “Duuuuh could you please repeat that one I’m not sure” like a big loser as your confidence wanes and you start to wonder if the fact you can’t see much of a difference means you’re destined for premature blindness. The one where by the end of the test, after any ability to be decisive has been torn to shreds, you’re just picking whatever letter (and thank goodness there are only two from which to choose) to get it over with already. No wonder my prescription feels a bit off……but I digress.

And as it turns out, I’ve solved that issue. Well, sort of. With a test in which there are really NO shades of gray, no undermining of your decision making abilities.

Let’s take a trip to the infertility eye doctor, shall we?

You’ve just found out the person you are conversing with lost their children to infertility. Which is better, A or B?

 

A) Tell them how great it is they can travel now

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

 

A) Stare blankly and say nothing – THAT’S always comforting

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

 

A) Bring up adoption before they do and better yet in a most nonchalant tone, such as “why don’t you just adopt?” Surely it must be easy, and, after years of trying to conceive, it has never crossed their minds

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

 

A) To those who imply they may not adopt, demand an explanation. After all, doesn’t EVERYONE who can’t continue to make the pursuit of parenthood a priority owe the world an explanation?

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

 

A) Provide speculation as to what they do with all of their “free” time

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

 

A) Tell them how great their life will be (without the children they just likely spent years trying to bring into existence)

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

 

A) Inform them that they MUST become a mother/father SOMEHOW. Follow up by informing them that they will NEVER know REAL love unless they do

B) I’m so sorry for your loss

ANSWER KEY

#1 Infertility is: D) A disease/medical issue

#2 Infertility affects: B) More than one in 8 people of child bearing age

#3 Which of the following is a cure for infertility: D) None of the above

#4 The causes of infertility can entail issues with: D) All of the above

#5 Approximately this percentage of infertility cases are male factor: D) 33%

#6 The level of PTSD in the general population is approximately 8%. The first study done on the infertile population indicated the level of PTSD in the infertile population could be approximately: B) 50%

#7 Infertility is (circle all that apply): A) a life crisis and C) a life altering trauma

#8 People who live with infertility who also have dealt with other life crisis (such as cancer, the untimely death of loved ones, and childhood abuses) often describe infertility as: A) The worst thing that has ever happened to them and B) Every bit as difficult as their other problems

#9 Studies show that the incidences of depression in those living with an infertility diagnosis are equal to the incidences of depression in those with: D) All of the above

#10 As those of who emerge from infertility without a biological child begin to heal from the loss of our children, those around us can expect: A) Us to go through a process that entails grieving, among other things, from which it takes 3-4 years to emerge

#11 When living without children after infertility, you can expect the following from people (circle the one that does NOT apply): C) Compassion and respect for your losses

#12 In the year 2012, approximately 1.5 million fertility treatments were performed worldwide. Approximately how many failed? B) 1.15 million

#13 What is the percentage of women over age 45 who do not have children in the USA and UK? C) 20%

#14 Adoption is a cure for infertility, False

#15 Asking people if they have children, when are they going to have them and why they don’t have them while expecting people to NOT talk about infertility is hypocritical, True

ETIQUETTE SECTION I do really hope the answers are obvious, but just in case…..B), C), B), A), D), D), D), infertility eye doctor, all B)!!

As far as scoring, my suggestion is for people to rate themselves. For those not dealing directly with the disease of infertility, do you have the level of awareness you’d want others to have if you were coping with it? For those with children, do you have the level of awareness you’d want others to have if your child had live with infertility? How would you want for them to be treated?

 

GREAT POSTS FROM OTHER BLOGGERS IN OUR COMMUNITY

Would You Tell Someone You Were Infertile? A perfectly articulated (as usual!) piece for Human Parts by blogger and Silent Sorority author Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos on the issues and dilemmas faced by those emerging from treatments with no child (plus, the woman she quotes who went through 5 failed rounds of IVF is me)

Honouring Your Childlessness on Mother’s Day Jody Day of Gateway Women offers an excellent cultural perspective on a holiday that has become all too limited to women with children

I Chose MeBent Not Broken iterates so well her process of deciding between two crappy choices, a seemingly prevalent theme in our community

Please Just Stop Trying to Make It Better, Part 1 Justine Brooks Froelker blogger and author of Ever Upward gives us a bold and eye opening look at the endless harsh comments and misconceptions people dealing with all types of infertility have to endure

The F Word Mali from No Kidding in NZ shines a much needed light on the element of chance that contributes to “achievement” and highlights the non relationship between hard work and conceiving

Dear Moms I Know Screw You Stork’s message to moms that every mother with living children should read to broaden her perspective. I couldn’t have said this one better myself

A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy A frank blog from the male perspective, includes other resources for males as well

Spouse (Blank) My childhood friend is not an official IFer but lost her children to the untimely death of her husband. This post is a most awesome charge of the assertion of a healthy grieving process and look at tragic loss, in spite of the judgmental forces that often surround us

And ok, me – My no holds barred laments on what if feels like to lose your children to infertility, They Are Not Here, and My March

7 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone – An Infertility Awareness Quiz, Research and Awesome Bloggers

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! I absolutely love your quizzes and feel like they should be present in every OB/GYN waiting room. That seems like an appropriate place to me anyway…..

    One of my “favorite” recent conversations went like this:
    Other person: Do you have kids?
    Me: No
    Other person: You better get on that! You’re not getting any younger!
    Me: Age doesn’t have anything to do with it in my case. Oh, and by the way, fuck you! (ok the last part was just said in my head)
    Other person: (uncomfortable silence)

    Maybe someday the question won’t hurt quite so bad and I’ll be able to come back with a sarcastic and mildly inappropriate response.

    • And apparently this person of whom you speak isn’t getting any nicer, either.

      Darn it. I forgot that “you’d better get started” one. And how could I? In my late 30s I got it ALL. THE. TIME.

      Uncomfortable silence means you hit the mark. I used to feel guilty over uncomfortable silence, now I take pride in any I create. Although “Oh, any by the way, fuck you” would be my favorite part, even though it took place in your mind’s eye.

      I hear you on the pain. I’ve been less reactive to these things lately for some reason but sometimes the pain caused by these comments is just blinding. I’m looking forward to the day to when it’s not such an obstacle and my communication just flows…..what a nice open valve THAT will be!

  2. Thanks for making me laugh in the middle of all this darkness!

    I’ve gotten to a point where I realize prison actually work as a deterrent. If I wasn’t sure ART would be even more complicated from behind bars, I’m sure I would have smacked someone by now. Your humor will keep me on the right side of “don’t smack people”-laws for another while.

    I get lots of “took us a whopping 6 months and I even Googled adoption at one point so I totally get how you feel and know everything about alternative family making which by the way is almost as valuable as the ‘real’ family I created after learning to relax”. Next time, I’ll hand over your quiz! 🙂

    • So glad I made you laugh:-) I’ve thought of handing over my own quiz too but haven’t done it yet. I’m sure I will sometime though, as people seem to provide ample opportunities for such a thing….can’t wait to see what THAT response is like.

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