In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September), Progyny hosted a special webinar about infertility in the Latinx and Hispanic Communities. Panelists discussed common myths about infertility in these communities, how individuals can find the support they need, and where to access information and care.
The webinar featured:
- Crystal Cid – Patient Care Advocate, Progyny
- Marilyn Gomez – Founder of Infertile Tees, a line of versatile graphic tees and curated goods to help share your fertility story
- Althea M. O’Shaughnessy, MD, FACOG – Reproductive Endocrinologist, Conceptions Reproductive Associates of Colorado, Progyny network provider
Misconceptions and Barriers to Care
Despite more and more people speaking out about infertility and family building challenges, it can still be a taboo subject in many communities. The topic of infertility is not heavily talked about in the Latinx and Hispanic communities. Discussing reproductive health is often seen as a religious taboo and some may feel underlying guilt about utilizing assisted reproductive technology or fertility treatment. It is further reinforced by the stereotype that Latinx women are naturally fertile or hyper fertile. A stereotype that can often prevent people from seeking treatment that they may need.
Outside of misconceptions around infertility, there are also conditions that are more prevalent in these communities that can impact reproductive health, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), obesity – which can also impact PCOS symptoms – tubal disease, and pelvic infections.
Education and self-advocacy are key in changing the conversation around infertility and finding a doctor that you trust. It’s important to seek regular medical care and talk to your doctor about any changes in your health. You want to find a doctor that will explain things in detail, listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. No matter where you are in your journey it’s important to advocate for yourself by asking questions and having an open dialogue.
Explore the below resources on finding a provider.
- Progyny’s article, “How to Choose a Fertility Clinic”
- This is Infertility podcast Episode 125: Fertility 101: How to Choose a Fertility Clinic
Finding the Resources You Can Trust
Fertility and family building can be extremely complex and many of us don’t have proper education about reproductive health. Findings from a study done by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology show that after an infertility diagnosis, Latinx patients were twice as likely as White patients to report being extremely worried about using science and technology to conceive. Without access to trusted doctors and education, individuals can feel isolated and thus less likely to seek care.
No matter where you might be in your family building journey, it can be hard to find trusted information or even know what to ask. Find resources that you can trust by speaking to your doctor or from reputable sources such as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and RESOLVE. We know how important it is to have support. Social media, blogs, and support groups can be essential to finding community, but make sure any information that is shared is tied to a credible source. No two journeys are the same, so make sure to seek medical advice if you have a question about your specific treatment.
At Progyny, we know that it is common to feel isolated when facing family building challenges, but you are not alone. The mental health aspect of infertility is often overlooked when the truth is a large percentage of people who have an infertility diagnosis also struggle with anxiety or depression. If you are struggling, consider reaching out to a mental health provider who specializes in reproductive health and finding ways to connect with others who have gone through a similar experience. Your doctor and fertility clinic can often share information on local support groups and provide trusted and balanced information. RESOLVE also has local in-person and virtual support groups across the nation.
- Do you have any tips on how to start a conversation around infertility with family or friends?
It is important to control the conversation by setting boundaries and deciding how you want to share your story. Although your family and friends don’t need to know everything about your journey, it is important to communicate what you need from them. Support is vital throughout this journey and setting boundaries with them will help them understand what to expect.
- Marilyn, what is Infertile Tees doing to help with the conversation around infertility?
Webinar panelist Marilyn Gomez founded Infertile Tees in 2020 as a way to heal from her fourth failed IVF transfer. The company offers versatile graphic tees and curated goods to honor the infertility community. The shirt designs allowing women to share their stories on their own terms. In addition, it also creates a sense of community between women going through fertility treatment.
- As a woman in the Latinx community, should I look for a fertility doctor who is also Latinx? How can I find a physician?
When looking for a provider, the number one priority should be your ability to connect with your doctor. It is extremely important to find someone who will listen to you and someone you trust to guide you along the way. To find the right physician you can connect with your OBGYN and get a referral. Progyny members also have access to our provider search tool at progyny.com/find-a-provider that includes detailed information for each Progyny network clinic, including provider profiles with demographics and sub-specialties. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) also has a DEI taskforce that is committed to ensuring diversity among providers and is actively looking to increase the number of Latinx and Hispanic physicians coming into the space.