Sherri Shepherd Talks About Black Infertility

Sherri shephardOne in eight women in the United States will struggle with infertility, according to Redbook magazine, which is on a mission to help banish the stigma associated with it and get women to open up about their struggles.

With the help of celebrities like Sherri Shepherd, the magazine launched their “Truth About Trying,” series, a no-shame video campaign featuring celebrities and everyday women discussing the trials they faced getting pregnant and where they found support in the process.

“I think it’s really important to start a dialogue because I think if more people are aware of what women go through and the stress that we go through, it will just mushroom out,” actress Sherri Shepherd says in her video testimony, where she also shares the story of how her son was conceived through in vitro fertilization. “I think it affects women at their jobs when they don’t have the support of people when they’re going through the fertility process. Maybe employers will realize ‘if I just support her, or maybe if I just pay for some fertility treatments, that means she’ll come in everyday and she won’t be late, and I’ll get a really effective worker,'” Shepherd says.

Top Chef” co-host Padma Lakshmi also shares her story, alongside dozens of women, including Anika, an African-American women from Orlando, Florida who says she’d wish she’d known how emotionally devastating it would be to be told that she could not have children without medical assistance.

The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the National Centers for Disease Control, notes no difference in fertility rates for white or Black women, aged 25-44. However, according to RESOLVE, a national clearinghouse and support group, infertility is actually 1.5 times higher among African-Americans than Caucasians. Infertility–defined as the inability to conceive after one year or more of intercourse without contraception–usually can be treated and reversed. In fact, of the 5.3 million infertile couples in the U.S. who seek treatment two-thirds are able to have children.

RESOLVE, The National Infertility Organization and partner in Redbook’s campaign says that hesitance to visit the doctor and increased incidence of fibroids are significant factors in these higher rates of infertility, RESOLVE says.

“Truth About Trying” also encourages women to upload their own videos and offers advice on the latest fertility treatments as well as helpful tips for friends and family of women who’ve been trying.