For something that can have such an impact on our lives, fertility is shrouded in mystery for many women. You don’t think much about it while you’re trying to avoid pregnancy. Then, when you’re ready to start a family, it may be just about all you can think about.
Still, many women keep thoughts and concerns about fertility to themselves: According to a new survey of 1,000 women aged 25 to 33, two-thirds of millennial women worry about their abilities to conceive.
Yet 39% didn’t talk to their partners about fertility and approximately 60% didn’t talk with their friends or mothers about fertility. And only 36% talked with their health care professionals about trying to get pregnant.
The consequences of silence around fertility are heavy. As the Harvard Medical School reports, women struggling with infertility “felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension or recovering from a heart attack.”
What if there’s a better way to think about fertility—one that can save so many from anxiety? That’s the goal of Celmatix’s new #SaytheFWord campaign, which challenges women to talk more openly about fertility with the people they’re closest to.
As Angie Lee, CPO of Celmatix, a personalized medicine company focused on women’s health, tells Motherly:
“We’re challenging the status quo with the #SaytheFword campaign because we believe strongly in the power of open dialogue to create a sense of empowerment and community that will break the stigma that’s kept women silent for too long.”
For every woman who pledges to #SaytheFWord, $1 will be donated to a nonprofit of choice—such as Planned Parenthood, the Endometriosis Foundation of America or the National Infertility Association.
Although one goal of the #SaytheFWord campaign is to empower women through conversations, millennial mamas have the ability to do even more than talk: Thanks to advancements in personalized medicine, there is an increasing amount of technology that can help us each understand our fertility.
Through health care practitioners’ offices, Celmatix offers the Fertilome test, which looks for gene variants associated with reproductive health conditions. Other emerging companies—including EverlyWell and LetsGetChecked—even offer options for in-home fertility testing.
With these options and (hopefully!) more dialogue about fertility, women have more power to make the decisions that are right for them.
“This is a real example of ‘knowledge is power,’ period. The decision to build your own family—or not to—is a very personal decision, and how you get there can be a very difficult road, especially if you have limited information,” Lee says of taking steps to understand your fertility. “The more you know about your body, and the sooner you know it, the more options you’ll keep on the table when it comes to building the future you want.”