Is there too much information about infertility available now?
My first instinct would be to say no, absolutely not! There are women and men out there who dont know nearly enough about the road ahead of them as they begin to wonder why they havent conceived yet.
Anyone who has been diagnosed as infertile and doesnt know what to do next, where to get support or the pros and cons of treatment, has a steep learning curve. There’s also the potential of vital time being wasted as overwhelm sets in and incapacitates infertile people who need to research, reflect and agree. On top of these first-hand needs, there’s the need to promote public awareness about the physical, emotional and financial aspects of infertility; to promote sensitivity, encourage medical science, motivate regulatory change and improve access to treatment.
However, we now seem flooded with so many references to infertility that many of the information and resources currently available are being overlooked. Courses, conferences and symposiums are going begging for attendance; whether aimed at professionals or the prospective patient. Infertility and IVF have almost become ubiquitous topics in the health sections of major newspapers and monthly magazines, like weight loss, skin care and cosmetic surgery. Infertility support websites, forums and blogs abound, but even if an infertile person belongs to dozens of them, how many can they actually read and appreciate?
I check out as many as 10 new infertility resources a day, and I can tell you that there is a wide range of depth and quality of the information available. It can be incredibly confusing for the newly diagnosed or freshly motivated infertile person to encounter. How do you know who to follow, what to attend or how much validity to give to a particular expert, whether professional or from personal experience?
Ten tips for fighting infertility information overload
- Browse Whether on the internet, at an event or looking through the back of a magazine, take the time to investigate all of the groups putting out information about infertility.
- Ask for information One fantastic aspect of social media is being able to pose a question to the universe and get an answer. Its like Google info + opinion in one.
- Go by recommendations If you see something you like posted on Twitter or Facebook by people you respect and like, chances are that you will like the sites they like.
- Categorize Balance is everything when your mind is focused on one subject: infertility. So gather and categorize resources. Ex. medical information, emotional support, infertility news, beautiful writing, humour, etc.
- Find the right site for your personality – If you want to share your test results down to the nth degree of detail with others who understand the numbers, find the right site for that. Others may just want to share feelings.
- Look at an events content before registering Some of the biggest events are more about selling you treatment and travel options rather than giving you substantive information. Its great to know about providers and get a chance to talk with them, but you dont just want to go home with loads of brochures for the bin. Are there seminars offered at the event? Is there a Question & Answer period?
- Dont join everything One of the greatest causes of overwhelm can be too many email newsletters flooding your inbox. Instead, try bookmarking or Favourite the blogs and websites you find and go to them occasionally, until you decide how useful they are.
- Leave comments where asked Give feedback after articles, on blogs, on forums and at events telling how useful, enjoyable and accessible you found them, or where they missed the mark.
- Support the infertility resources you do value: When you have found an excellent resource, help keep it afloat by paying the membership price, buying the entry ticket, book or magazine, nominating the blog for an award, Tweeting the link, or donating to the charity.
- De-clutter – If you look back a month and see repeated, unopened emails from infertility groups or blogs, take the pressure off yourself by clicking on Unsubscribe. You can always visit those sites and blogs if and when you find extra time.
Fight the overabundance of information and overwhelm by singling out the good resources by quality and deleting or ignoring the rest. Likewise, if you think a particular health journalist is doing a great job, champion their efforts by replying when appropriate and posting links to their work on Twitter and Facebook. Dont be afraid to make a comment rating the value of whats out there on infertility. It’s worth showing a bit of loyalty to a particular source too: It’s a win-win situation. You can develop a rewarding rapport with a blogger or a group of contributors to a forum. You may also qualify for special deals on publications and events. Your membership, visits and purchases help their stats, which raises their profile and/or brings in revenue.
Readership is everything, so if you arent supporting the less-than-helpful information providers, they will get the point eventually. Remember, its not about how much information you can take in; its about the quality and usefulness of that information.
Lisa Marsh is the owner of Your Great Life, which provides one-to-one and couples’ fertility coaching, educational seminars, support groups and advocacy for matters related to women’s health, infertility and family-building. Contact Lisa by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by following her on Twitter @yourgreatlife.