Collective Statement of Solidarity: Black Lives Matter
In response to police violence against Black and Brown people nationwide and the recent murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Joel Acevedo, Ahmaud Arbery, and a painfully long list of others, we write in strong solidarity and support for our Black infertility and recurrent reproductive loss community.
Infertility does not discriminate, but it does impact Black and Brown bodies disproportionality. For example, a 2014 New York Times article reported that fifteen percent of white women (ages 25 to 44) in the U.S. relied upon medical assistance to become pregnant, while 7.6 percent of Hispanic women and 8 percent of black women used medical assistance. These low percentages are amplified when situated in context with a 2010 National Survey of Family Growth which found married black women had almost twice the odds of infertility. Further, there remains a cultural stigma that continues to particularly place pressure on and silence persons of color and their ability to self-disclose. Rosario Ceballo, Erin Graham and Jamie Hart (2015) reported that racial stereotypes of African American women, for instance, portray them “as having unusual stamina, independence, and perseverance” that uniquely suits them to motherhood. As a result, many feel culturally isolated by an infertility diagnosis and “remain silent about reproductive problems because they believe they should be able to handle these difficulties alone, as strong self-reliant women” (Ceballo et al 504-505).While those in the infertility community often find comfort amongst each other — we are a “silent sorority” — the reality is that our struggles are not all equal.
At the ART of Infertility, we are committed to representing ALL experiences of infertility and recurrent reproductive loss. As artists, storytellers, advocates, and curators, it is our duty to amplify the diverse experiences and perspectives of those who struggle to build a family. We know infertility is a reproductive justice issue — controlled by economic, social, and political powers — that govern how infertile persons are able to make decisions about their reproductive health. We commit to the critical work of further fostering inclusive learning and working spaces that support the very contributions and voices of Black, Indigenous and racialized people. We call for other fertility organizations, committed to infertility advocacy, to take up this work and lay out a series of actionable items to hold themselves accountable to the Black infertility and recurrent reproductive loss community trying to build their family.
We also acknowledge the need to make space for ongoing learning and discussions of these vital issues. Sisters in Loss has compiled a list of black-owned organizations fighting for Black Infant and Maternal Health outcomes including Pregnancy and Infant Loss & Infertility. We encourage you to follow, listen, and learn from other black infertility and reproductive loss organizations such as: Broken Brown Egg, The Cade Foundation, Elijah’s Hope Foundation, Fertility for Colored Girls, Oshun Fertility. We know this list is incomplete and encourage you to contact us with additions.
Finally, the ART of Infertility acknowledges that our work is not done. A statement of solidarity is not enough. Throughout this year and beyond, we will announce new projects and initiatives that support and make space for the Black infertility experience. This is just one small commitment we plan on making to support Black Lives Matter.