Fertility – especially infertility – is a very personal thing for people. This has the unfortunate side effect of leaving people who suffer from infertility feeling very isolated due to the lack of people who come forward to tell their own stories of fertility issues. While no one should be expected to or forced to tell their story, coming forward as a fertility role model can have a profound effect on people facing similar circumstances.

We witnessed this over the course of the past year after former First Lady Michelle Obama opened up about her difficulties with fertility and her experience with IVF. In her memoir Becoming she discussed her difficulties in getting pregnant and starting a family, the difficulties that caused in her marriage, and her very personal experience in conceiving her daughters with the help of IVF.

In an interview with Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America she said “I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don’t work.”

As reported by Black Enterprise, Michelle Obama’s infertility story has led to more black women seeking IVF treatment. Dr. Desireé McCarthy-Keith, an Atlanta reproductive specialist, told Black Enterprise “I’m so thankful to our former first lady for elevating the conversation of miscarriage, loss, and infertility to the level of importance it deserves. It’s encouraging to see the increasing rate of black women now seeking infertility care.”

It goes to show how important having role models is for people. All it took is one prominent African-American woman to come forward with her IVF story for many who look up to her to consider seeking treatment for their own infertility. Her courage in sharing her story will continue to make an impact long after her memoir is out of print.

As we’ve covered before, you’re absolutely not alone if you are struggling with infertility. Whether people make it known or not, there are millions of women and couples who have walked in your shoes. There’s never been a better time to take on infertility; today’s advanced technologies and increased awareness of egg donation has made it possible for more people than ever before to start or expand their family via IVF and other treatments.

At the CRM, we are making a concerted effort to increase the availability of donated eggs from people of all colors to provide more potential matches for our patients. Learn more about our donor egg program here.