The CDC has a female problem. Oh sure, they're out there telling us to prevent breast cancer! Keep heart disease at bay! And don't forget to get your flu shot.
But look up "infertility" on the Centers for Disease Control website, and this is what you'll find:
- Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity (impaired ability to have children): 7.3 million
- Percent of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity: 11.8%
- Number of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile (unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months): 2.1 million
- Percent of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile: 7.4%
- Number of women ages 15-44 who have ever used infertility services: 7.3 million
Notice anything missing?
The word "men" by any chance?
According to the fertility experts, one third of all infertility problems that couples face come from the male and another third from the female. The final one third comes from a combination of issues between the woman and the man.
Which means, ahem, scientifically men are just as much to blame for infertility in the United States.
Hey guys, you're up for taking credit for the gestating without a twinge of sciatica. But people are loathe to heap a little blame on your shoulders until you get there.
It's not that you don't care, we know.
As my friend Mike Adamick related in his own family's struggle with secondary infertility earlier this year, "It’s been so long now, and I never realized I would ache like this, feel this horrible, guilt-soaked longing to have again what is already so great. It can make you crazy. I want to pick up every baby I see and I want to stay away at the same time. Picking them up would feel wonderful. Giving them back would be hell."
Women have taken on the mantle of baby-hungry, cervical-mucus testing, rabidly procreation crazed (not to be confused with sex-crazed) beasts. But men are dealing with this too. They're peering down at the peters in the shower wondering, what's wrong with you, dude?
So why aren't they talked about?
Because of statistics like those at the CDC. Because in the world of infertility blogs, the dads are few and far between (although, to be fair, mom bloggers still outrank the dad bloggers by a huge margin).
Because ask a guy to take the dog to the vet to be neutered, and he still shudders. While we've been spending the past 20 years sticking tampons in our you-know-whats, and submitting to yearly pokes and prods by an old man in a white coat with cold hands that he wants to put on our boobs, he had one undignified "turn your head and cough" during his high school sports physical. Guys are weenies about their wieners.
Until we remind them realize their wiener is just like thousands -- nay millions -- of other guys' out there, infertility will remain a "female problem."
Image via bea y fredi/Flickr