The week even ends with the annual hopefest that is The Fertility Show at London’s Olympia, an entire exhibition hall filled with stands from fertility clinics and associated industries looking to ‘educate’ (sell to) potential new ‘parents’ (customers).
But what I bet we hear about during the week will be about the many women suffering in silence with a type of infertility so shameful they can hardly bear to talk about it.
Single-motherhood, unless you’re very well set up with a home, an income and solid support from friends and family can be one-way ticket to depression, isolation and poverty.
And without those things in place, you’re also ineligible to adopt or foster, although that doesn’t stop everyone suggesting it, like it’s never occurred to us!
The fact of having never been married or in the kind of long-term partnership in which the opportunity to try for a baby arose, seems to be a their stories because they don’t feel ‘entitled’ to their pain, grief and despair compared to those women who’ve suffered miscarriages, failed to conceive or who have experienced unsuccessful IVF.
There is sometimes a sense of deep unworthiness, of being right at the bottom of some invisible pecking order of childless women and not quite ‘full members’ of the childless club, and so therefore not quite due Whereas just a generation ago, being an unmarried mother was to be the social outcast, now it’s the single, childless woman over 40 who carries the weight of shame.
And whatever piece of brilliant advice it is that you think you’ve got for your single friend, your daughter, your sister or your colleague – just don’t.
Only for this week if that’s all you can manage, but preferably never again.
You’ve even tried some of the stuff you thought you’d never do.
Now, astonishingly people are suggesting you ‘do it on your own’ as if it were an ambitious DIY project that you just need to pluck up the nerve for.
Very soon it will be the UK’s third National Fertility Awareness week which is being organised by Infertility Network UK, the British charity which supports those undergoing infertility treatment.
Cue lots of ‘miracle baby stories’ in the press about couples that despaired of ever having a child but who managed thanks to the help of this amazing science.
But there were no role models in the culture – only stories of women so desperate that they were still trying to have babies in their 50’s and beyond.