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'It can be incredibly isolating' | Walk of Hope brings awareness to the 1 in 6 couples experiencing infertility

Globally, 1 in 6 couples, experience infertility including 19% of American couples. Infertility Awareness Week aims to bring hope to couples hoping for a family.

MINT HILL, N.C. — Starting a family is one of the biggest moments of someone’s life.

For many couples, conceiving is easy, for others it can be a struggle.

1 in 6 couples, worldwide, are facing infertility, that is up from 1 in 10.

About 19% of couples in the Unites States experience infertility.  

Being told it would be difficult or impossible to have a baby can be a tough pill to swallow for hopeful parents.

Treatments are available but for most, the cost is out of reach.

Sunday’s Walk of Hope in Mint Hill is hoping to draw awareness and let couples know, they're not alone.

"Infertility has been a part of my life for 10 years. It took us 10 years to complete our family," said Sarah Ekis, a volunteer for RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association.

Twice a month, Ekis leads a support group to share stories of struggles and success.

"Infertility can be incredibly isolating; you feel like you’re lonely. You feel like you’re the only person going through it," said Ekis. "When you’re friend announces that she's pregnant or when you have a baby shower to go to you can call someone in the support group and say 'oh my gosh this happened' without having to explain the feelings, they know the feelings."

On Sunday, members of the group came from all corners of the state for the Walk of Hope.

Parent’s like Brianne Hostutler say community is everything as many walk the journey alone.

"To be here with these women, with these men who are going through similar situations just again, gives you just so much hope," said Hostutler.

There are treatment options for infertility.

In Vitro Fertilization, better known as IVF, has grown in popularity but is not cheap.

One round of IVF can cost more then $20,000 and most insurance plans don’t offer infertility coverage.

"Infertility acts and effects all walks of life," said Dr. Tamer Yalcinkaya with Carolinas Fertility Institute in Winston-Salem.

Dr. Yalcinkaya says having the support from others that have walked in those shoes helps couples realize they’re not alone.

"It helps us experience the camaraderie of the families with their babies and those that are still trying and it creates an awareness in the whole society," said Dr. Yalcinkaya,

"I think it’s really important to put that personal touch on it where they’ve got someone they can connect with where they can say ‘oh my gosh they did it’ maybe I can go a little further and keep doing this journey also," said Ekis. 

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association is encouraging people to wear orange on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, to show support for infertility awareness week.

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