National Infertility Awareness Week, founded in 1989 by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, is the most extensive public awareness campaign that addresses infertility’s public health issue.

This year’s observance is April 18-24th, 2021. In light of the pandemic, it presents a whole new opportunity to share our voices virtually. The theme is, ‘Empowering you and Changing the Conversation.’

As you may know, infertility does not discriminate based on sex, race, religion, age, or even socioeconomic status. I am proud to write this blog with CooperGenomics on ways we can all participate in this essential conversation in how we talk about the disease of infertility and advocate for patients.

When you’re trying to conceive, and it’s not going as you had hoped, so much feels out of control. For me, advocating for access to care, educating myself on all of my treatment and family-building options, and “paying it forward” to those who may need fertility treatment in years to come gave me a sense of some control. Whether it’s educating lawmakers or simply educating a relative at the dinner table, it all matters and can help change minds around the topic of infertility.

How You Can Get Involved

There are many ways to help spread awareness virtually through social media. It’s an opportunity to share how this medical condition has impacted your life, work, relationships, finances, or patients. Below are some suggestions:

  • If you’re a patient, sharing your story can open you up to support you didn’t realize was out there.
  • If you’re a clinic, doctor, or infertility professional, your patients will appreciate any show of support you can give them. National Infertility Awareness Week presents a chance to go the extra mile and show you care.
  • Orange is the new black for NIAW! The color orange is used to raise awareness around infertility, and remind the fertility community that you care. And if you don’t own an orange shirt (I certainly don’t), you can rock orange nail polish, create a picture or drawing in the color orange or take a photo of yourself holding an orange! Really – whatever creative way you want to represent, you can!
  • You can also participate in RESOLVE’s five-day challenge that includes:
    • Day 1 #Let’sGetReelAboutIF: Post an Instagram Reel or a TikTok to share your truth about infertility, living without children, adoption, 3rd party, or other family building options.
    • Day 2 #IRepresentSomeoneWho: Infertility is the common thread that binds us, but we all represent different facets of this community. Share a picture about something you represent.
    • Day 3 #WearOrange: Speaking of orange, this is the official day to sport this color and take a photo!
    • Day 4 #WhatIWantYouToKnow: What do you wish others knew about what it’s like to live with infertility? Share your story and help spread awareness on how infertility has impacted unexpected areas of your life.
    • Day 5 #RESOLVEStrong: Are you involved in support? Advocacy? Awareness. Show that you are #RESOLVEStrong.
  • When you post on social media, use the hashtags #WhatIWantYouToKnow and #NIAW2021.

How CooperGenomics Is Getting Involved

I’ve had the pleasure of working on and off over the years with the CooperGenomics team and I can attest to how strongly they feel about supporting and advocating for those impacted by infertility or genetic disease. Cooper strives to be encouraging, educational, and transparent so people can feel empowered and take an active role in their fertility journey.

This year, CooperGenomics is joining the conversation by using its platform to share stories from Cooper employees across the globe. You’ll meet Lia, who found out she had low ovarian reserve at the age of 27, Kelly, an embryologist who experienced secondary infertility, and Sheila, a genetic counselor’s perspective on trying to conceive again. Their employees have been patients too and these stories tell of hope, perseverance, acceptance and always, strength. Keep an eye out on this space during National Infertility Awareness Week 2021 to hear from them!

Lack of insurance inhibits many people from being able to move forward to treatment to resolve their infertility. Therefore, for almost a decade, several CooperGenomics team members have attended the RESOLVE and ASRM (the American Society for Reproductive Medicine) joint Advocacy Day. Hundreds across the United States come together to talk to Congress members about increasing access to family building options and access to care. Many have been diagnosed with infertility who receive no coverage from their health insurance.

CooperGenomics believes part of the conversation should be around knowing all of your options regarding family building. They aim to empower every patient through transparency and education and do this in various ways. They provide genetic counselors who walk patients through their options. Cooper also offers tests such as PGT-A via the PGTaiSM technology platform that can accurately identify embryos that will have an increased likelihood of leading to a successful pregnancy. In addition, they offer ERPeakSM, an endometrial receptivity test that offers accurate and reliable detection of a woman’s endometrium’s receptivity status. The goal is to help uncover what may be preventing an individual or couple from conceiving or carrying a child to term using a varied mix of resources and support.

Remember – There are many ways to have a family, and your story and your voice matter! I also encourage you to visit both RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s site as well as CooperGenomic’s Blog. We all remain as committed as ever to keeping you informed about your fertility options and helping to change fertility care for generations to come.

Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo

Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo is a freelance writer, public speaker, infertility rights advocate, former stand-up comic, author of the blog, ‘The 2 Week Wait’, and proud IVF Mom. As an Infertility Subject Matter Expert as well as Spokesperson and Blogger, she has been spoken at several conferences (CCW, New England Resolve, etc.), and been interviewed on news outlets such as CNN, NPR and BBC where she has demonstrated her ability to make even reproductive issues fun and educational. Her articles have been featured on the Huffington Post, Time Magazine, ScaryMommy (to name just a few), and volunteers for various organizations including Resolve, the National Infertility Association the GMHC and Gilda’s Club.