A British study has introduced the term “emotional infertility” to describe women who are childless because they haven’t found that perfect guy, or their partner doesn’t want children. More than half of the 3,000 women age 28-45 surveyed by Red magazine said their situation is as painful as being medically infertile. Red‘s health director, Brigid Moss said,
“We have identified what we call emotional infertility, that is being childless not by choice, due to not having a partner or a partner not wanting to have children. We all know someone in this position. A doctor can’t help with emotional infertility,”
The Daily Mail‘s headline announcing the 2012 Modern Motherhood Report for Red reported that almost half of the young women surveyed are delaying pregnancy to hold on to their freedom. Broadly defined, they cited careers, money, and free time for themselves and their partners as current priorities. That data, of course, reflects 2010 findings of Pew Research Center in the U.S. and a January 2012 study in Canada.
I wanted to know more about the newer concept: emotional infertility. I wanted to know exactly why these women equate their pain with women who are medically infertile. Perhaps it’s that without a partner, these women can’t even try for a baby, and the clock is ticking louder. Worse, many worry that they’re actually medically infertile as well, a topic they’ve never broached in the doctor-patient conversation. But, that’s just my guess.
Ms. Moss provides another thought:
“It’s become more acceptable to talk about medical infertility with your friends and family, so women can now be more open about that. But it must be very hard to confess that you’re desperate for a baby, but haven’t met anyone,” she said.
The Red report does share that one in five survey respondents said they might consider trying to conceive using donor sperm. Another fifth admitted to seriously thinking about freezing their eggs for later. Thirty-six per cent of the women – just over a third – weren’t sure if they want a child. Ever.