Black Women and Infertility: It's Not Just a White Woman Issue
1 year ago
Black women discuss why it's not spoken about in our community
As a teenager, Hammond was diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that makes it hard to get pregnant. After marrying her husband, the couple tried for five years to conceive a child, undergoing six rounds of in vitro fertilization with no success. Left with two options: find a surrogate or adoption, Hammond’s then 55-year-old post-menopausal mother stepped in as a surrogate and carried the couple’s embryos. She gave birth to her three grandchildren in 2004, making her the oldest woman to deliver triplets at that point.
Hammond’s story made national headlines, and overnight she became the unofficial advocate for African American women struggling with infertility. Now, willing to share her story to help others, Hammond tells media she and her husband “suffered in silence” during the ordeal because they didn’t know of anyone going through infertility at the time.
“The reason I didn’t feel comfortable with sharing was because no one that I knew of in my immediate circle or family was suffering from infertility,” says Hammond. “After our children were born and our story was seen on "Good Morning America" and CNN, many people we knew came to us saying they were seeking help and going through the same thing. I felt ashamed that I had not been more honest and transparent. We were struggling at the same time right next to each other and were not brave enough to share. We could have shared things with each other.”
There seems to be a slow-growing community of black women on the blogosphere discussing infertility and their journey to parenthood these days.
Regina Townsend, 29, is Founder and Executive Director of The Broken Brown Egg Inc. Initially started as a blog in 2009, it transitioned into an organization that "puts a brown face" on the issue of infertility for women.
“I started the Broken Brown Egg as a personal blog at first to start the dialog I wasn't seeing on other blog sites,” says Townsend whose infertility is due to her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism, and her husband’s Type 2 diabetes.
“I am a member of the online community at ChocolateBrides.com, and there were a few discussions about infertility, but no real in depth talk, I suppose because many of us saw those rare instances as flukes. But as I started researching, I found that infertility was extremely common.”