BOSTON — Local families struggling with infertility are sharing their stories and raising awareness to an issue that does not discriminate.
Across the country, millions of people battle with the diagnosis of infertility, and many who go through that personal journey tend to suffer silently.
However, now, families are coming out of the shadows and are furthering the conversation, showing others they are not alone.
"I fell apart honestly. I was completely overwhelmed," said Shervonne Coney. "Just thinking about the process of IVF, what it entails, the medicine and procedures."
Shame, stigma, and isolation often go hand in hand with a diagnoses of infertility. Yet, one in eight couples will struggle to conceive.
"As I was sharing my story, people would say, 'I can't believe you're telling people this,' that I was doing something wrong or that I was making other people in my life feel uncomfortable because of it," said Katie Lynch.
"I also felt a bit of shame," said Deana. "I would say definitely isolated, but shame of, 'Why can't I do this on my own?'"
Deana and Max Tuefferd struggled for years to start their family. Today, they have two children, one who they adopted and on they had through IVF.
Katie Lynch and Shervonne Coney are still working through their journeys.
They all agreed to sit down and publicly share their stories with Boston 25 News anchor Kerry Kavanaugh.
"I wanted women, African American women, women who look like me to know that you're not alone and kind of dispel the shame that they may be feeling," said Coney. "It's ok to ask for help."
Coney started a social media group, "Black Women and Infertility," geared toward African American women.
Lynch, a social worker, dedicated her practice to helping people navigate the infertility emotional rollercoaster.
Kate Weldon LeBlanc runs the infertility support network RESOLVE New England. RESOLVE stresses that infertility is a "disease" that does not discriminate.
They actively battle the stigma that it's the result of life choices.
"They wonder if they waited too long, focused too much on their education or their career," said LeBlanc. "You start to question whether you're a real woman or a real man if you can't do this basic human thing that so many other people take for granted."
To learn more about RESOLVE, you can visit their website here.
By normalizing the conversation, it slowly loses its stigma and no longer becomes a taboo topic.
Advocates say the more infertility is openly discussed, the more attention it will receive from researchers and lawmakers.
Our Kerry Kavanaugh has been sharing her own journey with IVF and has opened up about her struggles with infertility, which you can find here.
MORE: Local researchers develop device to help treat male infertility
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