SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. — Saturday marks the end of National Infertility Awareness Week, a time recognizing the struggle millions of couples face every year on their journey to parenthood.
1 in 8 couples will experience infertility and nearly 12 percent of women will seek some form of infertility care in her lifetime.
As the end of National Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close one non-profit organization is hoping to keep the conversation going, by lacing up their shoes.
Infertility is sometimes explained and sometimes unexplained, in reasons why you can’t conceive a child naturally.
Conceive Nebraska is a place to find support and resources for couples facing infertility.
"There is a community behind you and that is a huge part of what Conceive Nebraska does," said Kassandra Mayo with Conceive Nebraska.
Their annual Infertility Awareness Walk was moved online this year because of COVID-19.
"There were so many people posting pictures of them walking in their neighborhoods with their dogs and their families and it was just a really great way to get the word out about infertility and that you are not struggling alone," Mayo said.
The virtual walk kicked off a week of information, statistics, and camaraderie all in an effort to educate the nation on the struggles of infertility.
“I feel it’s very empowering to speak about our journey and inform others about it because it is such a silenced community of people.”
Remember Stephen and Leah Russell? We met them earlier this year shortly after their third round of IVF. They've since gone through more testing.
"About a month ago, we go our results after our failed IVF, they did a lot more testing to follow up on some less common errors," said Leah.
They are preparing for a 4th round later this year.
“They can’t explain why we’ve been running into the issues we have, but it’s always great news when they can’t find anything wrong or concerning," she continued.
But the COVID-19 pandemic and its uncertainty left them and many other couples with more questions than before.
“We don’t know the effects of COVID-19 and how it will continue so obviously the hope, like so many American’s out there, is that we won’t get infected there really is just no way to know the long-term effects of the pandemic on the infertility community.”
But even so, The Russell’s took the time to walk this week for Infertility Awareness because they too are one in eight.
“From this week, you want people to want to get involved. You want people to advocate and join me and fight to change how treatment is accessible," Leah said. "I’m hoping that people will be more aware and be more open so if they have friends out there going through this, there is someone they can rely on, and speak with and be supported.”
While COVID-19 has put a halt on fertility treatments, for now, The Russell’s and the team at Conceive Nebraska are still working to educate the public on infertility. One step at a time.
For more on Conceive Nebraska, check out their website and Facebook page.