We are outraged and heartbroken yet again. The events of the past week in the United States have shined another spotlight on the systemic racism, injustices and violence directed at the Black community throughout the country’s history.
While fertility may not be top of mind for many, I can’t help be reminded that the systemic racism and injustices in our society also dramatically and disproportionately impact Black women’s reproductive lives.
Research shows Black women, regardless of income and education level, compared to white women are:
2x as likely to experience infertility
Less likely to seek fertility treatment (8% vs 15%)
Have lower pregnancy rates (9% lower)
Are more likely to suffer from a pregnancy loss (24% higher)
Have higher preterm birth rates (49% higher)
3-4x more likely to die from pregnancy and birth complications
Are more likely to cope with infertility and these issues in isolation
There is no part of a Black life that racism does not reach. Even in the womb. Clearly there is work to be done. We recognize that with our privilege and platform comes a responsibility to take a stand.
As a reproductive health company, our brand is essentially of the dream of life itself. Born of research and delivered with compassion, we value science, empathy and action.
Today, instead of a solitary social media post, we are committing to these 4 concrete actions in an attempt to help positively influence the future:
1. Pause and redirect advertising to Black reproductive voices
Today, and for the immediate future, we are pausing our advertising and redirecting the spend to amplify voices in the Black reproductive and fertility community on social media. Follow us on @fertilitynutraceuticals as we feature these voices in our reproductive community and help amplify the important work they are doing. If you are one of these voices, we want to hear from you. Send us a message on Instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share with you on Instagram in 30 days what has been achieved.
2. Find and support research on Black infertility
We are committed to finding, elevating and financially supporting research studying Black infertility, maternal health and pregnancy currently being done by the academic community. If you or someone you know is doing important research in this area, please let us know. We want to support you. We pledge to share how we are supporting this research with you (as soon as we find it!) on our email, blog and social platforms.
3. Co-create our company with diverse voices
For the last few months, we have been in the midst of evolving our company, product line and brand. We pledge to co-create our new brand, company and products with a diverse set of voices on our team, on our scientific advisory board, in our marketing, supply chains and our business partnerships. We will do this with a reflective eye towards our bias, and undergo the necessary training required. In 6 months, we will post on @fertilitynutraceutials our progress in this area as a way to hold ourselves accountable and re-ignite the conversation.
4. Reinforce inclusion of all types of infertility, motherhood and families
This year we conducted research that was eye-opening, raw and real. It exposed our lack of awareness about the specific emotions and challenges Black women and their partners experience when facing infertility. What struck us most was the isolation, deeper pain and anxiety caused by cultural norms, expectations and religious influences that are felt but unacknowledged or widely supported. We noticed unsurprisingly, that infertility and motherhood is often presented as a very idealized white world. We are already in the process of retooling our brand so we no longer reinforce all-white standards of infertility, reproductive health, motherhood and traditional families moving forward. We stand for all types of mothers, families, women and partners. You will start to see these changes reflected in our strategy and the broader market in Q3.
We realize these actions cannot undo generations of pain and trauma. As a reproductive company, we do not shy away from the hard conversations, the uncomfortable or taboo topics – about women, women’s health, fertility or race.
We don’t have all the answers right now, but as an organization we are listening, we are learning, we are taking action and we are open to hearing more about how we can help. We might get it wrong. If we do, please call us out on it.
In the meantime, we stand with you now and every day forward in saying without hesitation, Black Lives Matter, Black Women Matter.
Jodi Neuhauser, CEO and the Fertility Nutraceuticals Team