Why is it hard to talk about infertility?
Is a woman considered less fit for motherhood because she seeks help with fertility treatment? Should she hide it? And is a man’s masculinity diminished because he has fertility problems? We spoke to Dr John Peay about why talking about infertility is so hard and the taboos that exist in our society around this matter.
Coping with infertility
To cope with infertility, it is crucial to open up to honest conversations, either with family, friends or in support groups, where sharing experiences and feeling understood can ease the emotional burden.
Why is it so hard for us to talk about infertility?
Saying that in the 21st century it is still difficult to talk about assisted reproduction is a reality. The reasons are deeply rooted in religion or in the belief that parenthood is a natural process. When someone faces difficulties in conceiving, they may experience feelings of failure and diminished self-esteem.
The need to turn to assisted reproduction may make people question their gender identity, feeling less capable. In families or cultures where religious beliefs are prevalent, some people may face ethical and moral dilemmas regarding these methods.
In addition to this feeling of shame, the fear of being judged leads many people to keep their assisted reproduction process secret, intensifying the taboo surrounding infertility.
At Vida Fertility we offer emotional support during your fertility treatment for those seeking guidance and understanding on their path to parenthood.
Social stigma around assisted reproduction is rooted in entrenched cultural perceptions and taboos that associate fertility with personal identity and worth. This stigma can lead to silence and shame among those seeking reproductive treatments, making it difficult to talk openly about their experiences. Prejudice and lack of public understanding of infertility and assisted reproduction contribute to negative perceptions, which heighten fear of judgement and social rejection, reinforcing the idea that these issues should be kept private.
Misguided associations between virility, motherhood and reproductive capacity arise from outdated cultural beliefs that directly link fertility to gender identity and role in society.
The pressure to adhere to these traditional roles can increase stress and anxiety, hindering open dialogue about options such as assisted reproduction.
Social pressure and expectations around reproduction often pose emotional challenges for individuals and couples facing fertility issues.
“Every day during consultations, we see how these cultural norms can profoundly influence our patients’ perceptions and emotional well-being,” adds Dr Peay.
The taboo of infertility
As any other conditions such as diabetes or asthma, infertility should not be a cause for shame or guilt, nor should it need to be widely publicised. However, erroneous associations persist between fertility, virility in men and the social value of childbearing in women, contributing to stigmatisation.
“Despite advances in the acceptance of reproductive medicine, there is still much to be done to talk openly about infertility and assisted reproduction, underlining the importance of education and support on these issues,” says Dr John Peay of Vida Fertility Madrid.
When in need of gamete donors, communicating this gently and honestly helps to normalise the process.
At Vida Fertility we are aware of the frustration that anyone who has gone / is going through a fertility treatment can feel, but that feeling does not define your value.
Whenever you are ready to see a fertility specialist, we will be at your entire disposal to provide you with the support you need.