Why We Should Call it Social Infertility

By Claire Campbell

It is increasingly evident that the words we choose to use matter, especially when speaking of something as sensitive as infertility. The language we use reflects our intentions and fosters inclusion 一 or exclusion. There are few places where words matter more, though, than in written legislature. That is why when the World Health Organization (WHO) defines infertility as, “the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse,” it matters 一 and has far reaching impacts.

This definition does not include LGBTQ+ couples trying to build a family. There are many paths to parenthood that don’t include intercourse, so defining infertility without considering other methods of conception is exclusive and dangerous. Members of the LGBTQ+ community trying to conceive are not represented and are left without many of the resources heterosexual couples receive when diagnosed with infertility.

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