“Do you want to have any more children?” Is a question I’ve been asked repeatedly since my now almost three-year-old son had barely turned one, writes journalist Emily Roberts. 

I understand that people are just being inquisitive and showing an interest, so it doesn’t offend me. However, it does send a jolt of unease through my body.

For the answer to that question has always been yes. However, the chance of that happening is not quite as definitive. I suffer with infertility, as a result of endometriosis, and therefore may never be able to conceive naturally. My son was created using IVF, a process which was physically and emotionally gruelling.

This week marks National Fertility Awareness Week, and it seems only right that I use my voice as a journalist to raise awareness of this issue, having been through it myself. However, I do so with caution, because I know that many people aren’t very kind to those of us with infertility.

Despite being recognised by the World Health Organisation as a disease, it doesn’t get treated in the same way as other diseases, and it definitely doesn’t spark the same empathy.

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I’m therefore pleased to hear so many discussions about it this week, with people brave enough to talk about their experiences and share what they are going through.

One in six couples in the UK will face infertility, yet few people talk about it.

I know people close to me who have struggled or are struggling with infertility, who have kept it mostly to themselves.

So, this is for them, and for all those too scared, or ashamed, or embarrassed, to tell others what is happening to them.

I’m not sharing for sympathy; I’m sharing to raise awareness of the heartache and pain caused by infertility.

The hashtag for the national campaign is #YouAreNotAlone.

Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett spoke this week about feeling a “massive failure” at not being able to conceive naturally, and I think that’s something many people with infertility feel to some extent.

Although it’s illogical, because infertility is usually not the fault of the individual, there is a sense that your body is letting you down.

Perhaps this is why so many people choose not to tell others what they are going through.

However, this means they face possibly one of the hardest things they will ever do, with little support and understanding from those around them.

When I had IVF to conceive my son, I did share with those I trusted, and had enormous support from family and close friends, who helped me through the process.

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It involved months of daily injections, endless drugs which caused hot flushes, tiredness and mood swings.

I was sedated while the inside of my womb was scratched, and had countless scans and blood tests.

To top it all, I had a bad reaction to the hormones used to stimulate my ovaries, causing me to become unwell.

But that wasn’t the hardest part. It was the emotional side of it all that I struggled with the most, and not knowing whether my dream of being a mum would ever happen.

I knew from a young age that I wanted children, and so when I was diagnosed with endometriosis and discovered that this might not be possible, I was devastated.

Thankfully, following an abandoned IVF cycle and another failed attempt, on the third go I finally fell pregnant.

I’m incredibly lucky to have my son. However, infertility still affects me, because I don’t know if I will ever be able to give him a sibling.

I’m one of four, and I always imagined having a large family. That dream was shelved a while ago, but I would love someday to be able to give my son a brother or sister.

I gain so much comfort and happiness from knowing that I’m not and never will be alone in this world, that my brothers and sister are there for me unconditionally. My siblings are my security blanket in life, my friends, and the people I know will never judge me. I feel devastated that I may never be able to give Freddie the same feeling of comfort that comes with having siblings.

So, whilst I don’t mind being asked about my plans to expand my family, perhaps this awareness week will encourage people to think before they casually ask someone questions related to this.

For the lucky ones, it might be a case of simply deciding one day to try for a baby and becoming pregnant the following month.

However, many people will be struggling with a silent, painful battle to conceive, and most won’t share this.

Therefore, a question about their plans to start, or expand, their family, might be extremely difficult to answer.