Shining an Empathetic Light on a Global Obstacle: In Vitro & National Infertility Awareness Week

Apr 20, 2020 In Vitro


Rarely discussed publicly yet strikingly prevalent, infertility is a condition for couples attempting to become pregnant over a year to no resolve (or six months if the woman is 35 years or older). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it afflicts 12% of all couples, with 6.1 million women in the United States ages 15-55 reporting difficulties getting pregnant. Impersonal statistics aside, infertility can be an emotionally wrenching, stigma-inducing ordeal for men and women eager to expand their family. 

Running from 4/19- 4/26, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) expands the conversation around this taxing situation, allowing those encountering infertility to better understand its causes and ways to address its impact—both emotionally and physically. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association sponsors the week and provides a host of informational resources and activities, from an Advocacy Day and an online hub of personal stories

At Humanoids, we also believe in the power of stories to heal and connect. William Roy's autobiographic journey through infertility—In Vitro—charts the hope, despair, humor, and sheer weirdness of trying to get pregnant in this era. The graphic novel features proxy characters Guillaume and Emma, who have recently married and have attempted to have a baby over two years. Guillaume ponders the existential ramifications of unintentionally ending his family name. A natural with infants, Emma yearns for a baby. Guillaume hates the reality that he can't give her one. 

The pair spends the next year exploring the emergent medical developments and endless online articles that could potentially remedy their problem. In Vitro is an exercise in vulnerability, unafraid to punctuate its feverish anxiety with the absurd hilarity of sperm deposits and "spermograms." The crux of the graphic novel revolves around the titular impregnation method—in vitro fertilization, a procedure that involves manually extracting an egg, fertilizing with sperm in a laboratory dish, and reinserting the egg.  

Roy offers a roller coaster that veers from the deeply philosophical to disarmingly human. And if you're one of the many, many people navigating this topic, we hope that it provides you 156 pages of laughs and empathy. Check out the preview below.