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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Infertility Doesn't Care About Your Ethnicity

I started reading this book last year in efforts to educate myself further on the topic of infertility issues that plague the Black community. It is written by Yemi Adegbile certified nurse,fertiliy coach, seasoned speaker & family health advocate and Sheila Lamb, author and fertility coach. I work with about 50+ clients a year for my day job, I work as a Perinatal Health Navigator for a large global non-profit. Our focus for this grant cycle is to reduce and eliminate birth disparities in particularly to save Black mothers and infants who have much higher mortality and morbidity rates. If you don't know much about the Black Maternal Health Crisis, I urge and encourage you to go read up on it.

Recently, I've had a rush of Black women hiring me to guide them through their pregnancy or trying to conceive with cysts, fibroids, cervix issues, and more. I'm not a doctor or a fertility specialist, so the role I play in this is a fertility doula. Secretly living and suffering with things like fibroids, endometriosis and long term effects of “emergency” often unnecessary hysterectomies due to medical racism and control of our bodily autonom—hence why many Black women, including myself are ready to ditch birth control and try natural family planning instead. It has always troubled me that the Black community has not been as forth with our fertility issues and have had to live in pain. Many Black women go to fertility clinics and specialists, but even more do not know they can or worse don't have access. I find myself collecting these stories and putting the puzzle together to see the picture more clearly. This shit dates back, way back, but I won't get into it here.

As I spoke with 3 of my clients this week who some are pregnant and some are postpartum, many of them told me about this documentary film on OWN by Chiquita Lockley called "Eggs Over Easy: Black Women & Fertility", and I knew I had to see it. First of all, I'm a sucker for a good documentary and two, this is my work! Also, I used to be a casting director so the film industry is like a comfort zone and I really get into film because of it. Anywho, this Essence article on it kind of sums it up nicely if you want the cliff notes version. Back to my first line, 3 of my clients told me about this! You know what that is y'all? Progress! Now, while generations before me were not even touching this taboo topic, my sistahs now are shouting it from the top of the mountain and most importantly, taking a stance and getting the help they deserve.

For me, fertility is a wellness topic that we should all discuss more routinely in our childbearing years and even prior to them. It is my hope that through these conversations both behind closed doors and in the spotlight, begin to change the narrative around Black fertility and reproductive issues. Now go get that book and watch that film!

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