With one-in-six Canadian couples experiencing infertility, advocates try to get attention of politicians
Roughly one-in-six Canadian couples experience infertility; it's a number that has doubled since the 1980s.
Now, those who have experienced it first-hand are bringing attention to the issue, and hope politicians are listening.
As Brittenay Bell gets her son Nathan ready for his afternoon nap, she reflects on the past seven years.
Her 15-month-old son loves to laugh, play with his toys and is starting to walk – moments, Brittenay and her husband Aaron are grateful for.
A few years ago, the couple didn't know if they'd ever be able to experience parenthood.
"We've been through some of our darkest times," she explains. "Both individually and as a couple. Going through it, being told that you have the inability to conceive is nothing that you're prepared for in life."
After trying to conceive naturally for some time, and going through a miscarriage, the pair realized they were faced with fertility challenges.
Treatments began, and eventually Brittenay and Aaron decided to go with in vitro fertilization.
But it wasn't easy.
Brittenay experienced two more miscarriages before Nathan was born, and the cost kept climbing, to $35,000 out of pocket.
"We felt, you know, losing pregnancy, after pregnancy, after pregnancy, was incomparable to anything else that I've ever felt," she explains. "I personally took stress leave from work because the idea of getting up every morning was something that I couldn't even fathom."
Fertility Matters Canada is asking the party that wins the Nova Scotia Provincial Election to consider funding fertility care so that residents can build their families with government support.
"It's not just a woman's health issue, it's not just a heteronormative couples' issue," explains the organization's executive director, Carolynn Dubé. "It also affects the family-building of people of the LGBTQ community and single people who would like to move on to build a family."
Dubé says Nova Scotia is the only Maritime province without some sort of plan in place.
"What that means is people are taking out second mortgages, they're selling their homes, they are not spending money in restaurants, in retail, on travel at home, especially because they're putting all their extra dollars aside to try and have this baby."
Meanwhile, Brittenay says cherished moments with her son make every part of the process worth it.
"At the end of the day," she says. "Everything that we went through to have him, there's no amount of money in the world that I think we wouldn't have been willing to put in, after getting to spend the last year with this little boy."