This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in the USA. I know that we aren’t the States, no matter how much people assume we’re alike, but the fact that their infertility awareness week is now raises some things that I’d like to bring north to Canada to unpack a little.
What is NIAW?
First, what is it? Well, it is a week that has been designated to stand for the diseases of infertility so that the public can be educated a little bit more about it and so that we can aim for more research funding and government spending to help combat and treat it. This is good, a lot of times initiatives that are pioneered in the USA wind up coming north too. More research and government aid south of the border really only bolsters our cause up here.
It’s like a call to be vocal about Canadian law and coverage.
If there’s one thing I am always in awe about for NIAW it’s Resolve’s Advocacy Day. The huge amount of people who write to congress, march on the capital, and attend the day of advocates meeting members of congress blows me away! I mean, holy shit, that’s something!! So since NIAW happens before our own Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW) it gives you a few weeks to draft a letter to send to your MLA. It gives some lead time to investigate what the laws around infertility look like up here, and how they could be improved to aid the 1 in 6 Canadians who will rely on them when they try for a family. Use this week to start your own research so that you can be more active politically if that’s your thing.
I also always see it as a call to action in general for CIAW next month!
The week of NIAW gets everyone thinking about infertility in the online world juuuuust ahead of when it is important for Canadian infertiles to draw attention and support. Let the week of NIAW be a reminder that CIAW is coming. Look into local events that are being put on. Look into ways to raise money for fertility support programs. Join Fertility Matters as a patient supporter. Sign up to attend one of the Fertility Matters events that week. Think about sharing your 1 in 6 story so that you empower the broader Canadian discussion about infertility in May.
Overall, I see NIAW as a reminder that we are in this together.
World-wide! Infertility is not just a Canadian condition. It isn’t something that only happens to people in the States, Great Britain, Australia, or Zimbabwe… It affects couples world-wide! And all of us infertiles need to stick together! As far as I am concerned a win in the states for NIAW is a win in the world for infertiles everywhere. Let the United States’ infertility awareness week show us the kind of momentum that is possible when people that are infertile stand up to be heard.
The message this year for NIAW is “listen up”. And I want YOU to “listen up”, Canada! Listen up to the dialogue that is being started in the states right now. Listen up to the reproductive rights bills that are up for vote in the USA that might impact cross country treatment options for Canadian patients. Listen up to the sheer level of noise that the infertiles in the states are able to raise about this condition so that the broader public hears them. Acknowledges them.
Listen up, all my Canadian infertiles, our time is coming…
CIAW is May 7-13th. Prepare to stand up. Prepare to speak out. Prepare to be “out in the open” (our CIAW theme this year).