“I didn’t think it was going to be me, why? Because I was fit, I was healthy, I thought I was doing everything right. It was just, why would it be me right?”
Those are the words of Dame Valerie Adams, who is one of our most celebrated sportspeople and who is also one of the 26 percent of Kiwis who battle infertility in their lifetime.
Dame Valerie has shared her story in a video for Fertility Week - a reminder that any of us can face challenges in creating our whānau.
“I am one in four,” Adams says in the video. In it, she speaks of her struggle with husband Gabriel of conceiving and why it is so important to normalise the subject of infertility.
“There are more people than you know that are going through this, and it is normal - it is one in four. Remember those statistics,” Adams says.
Fertility Week runs from 6 - 12 September and aims to bring awareness to the one in four New Zealanders who will struggle with infertility in their lifetime.
Fertility New Zealand President and Chair Juanita Copeland says a diagnosis of infertility is shown to be as life-impacting as a cancer diagnosis.
“Often people feel they should deal with infertility privately and this can be so isolating. Speaking to others who understand what’s happening can be really powerful and empowering, and goes a long way to reducing stigma and isolation.
“Any one of us can face challenges building whānau. Infertility affects men and women equally, it can impact any New Zealander, regardless of factors such as ethnicity, education, urban/rural and religion,” Copeland says.
Fertility Week aims to support and educate people who are currently trying to conceive, reduce stigma and also raise awareness amongst people who may be affected in the future.
Fertility New Zealand has set up a registry on The Good Registry for this year’s Fertility Week. If you want to help the charity support people who are going through the battle of infertility you can have a look at their fundraising page and donate here.
- By Rachael Bhadury