A couple trying to get pregnant in India encounters no shortage of advice, myths, tips, and tricks from relatives, friends, and general well-wishers — everything from “walk around the banyan tree on a full moon night” to “the priest says a 45-minute prayer ceremony will do the trick.”

Failure to produce the desired results quickly turns this advice into heavy judgments, which weigh on couples, given India’s family-centric social fabric. As lifestyles get more stressed, there is an increasing incidence of infertility with nearly 15% of married couples (approximately 27.5 million) facing the issue.

Infertility is widely considered a taboo topic, yet it’s a growing problem leading to unfulfilled dreams for many. The Times of India is committed to creating positive change — and we decided it was time for an intervention.

With so many myths surrounding infertility, The Times of India saw an opportunity to educate and help a growing number of struggling couples.
With so many myths surrounding infertility, The Times of India saw an opportunity to educate and help a growing number of struggling couples.

From larger political issues to sensitive personal progressions to ensuring people are empowered to realise their dreams, we believe no problem is insurmountable in the face of the right support and attitude. What we need for positive change in attitudes about infertility is to make the conversation supportive without judgment, to make the hunt for solutions more fertile, and to leave consumers feeling hope.

Our desire to open and change the conversation led to the birth of the Fertile Conversations campaign.

The campaign took on the unsolicited advice and myths (some incredulous) to drive home the point that couples need to consider solutions that actually work. It brought into the open a much-taboo topic and opened conversations on what infertility is, how it affects us, its prevention, and the options available to those struggling with it. Our campaign shifted the focus from hiding to searching for solutions.

The initiative connected readers to medical experts so they could seek proper guidance. It helped couples evaluate if they are vulnerable to infertility. It even pushed for systemic changes in existing laws for the treatment of infertility.

The plan was to reach out to the public at large and the decision/policy makers in particular. The Times of India reached out to the masses through editorial articles, print ads in newspapers, spots and content on TV, radio spots and RJ mentions, promotion in cinema, and social media and digital promotions.

On-ground activities were organised, including social meet-ups, panel discussion with experts on TV, and a social activation with couples who have conceived after infertility.

Not only that, the campaign took on larger more ingrained issues as well. The burden of infertility is usually borne by women in inherently patriarchal societies like India. This campaign examined that bias and educated people that infertility shows no gender preferences.

Nova IVI, a fertility clinic and thought leader, partnered with us. They shared their expertise and their experts with people who were seeking solutions. The initiative was designed to benefit consumers and businesses. It generated solutions for consumers, 6,000+ of whom took online quizzes to check their vulnerability to infertility. Experts provided 6,500+ people with free check-ups and answered 700+ questions on the campaign Web site. Facebook Live sessions with experts were viewed by more than 330,000 people.

But no campaign is a success unless it impacts business positively as well. This campaign generated goodwill for Nova IVI, positioned them as the thought leader, and connected them with potential parents as the overall benefit to the business. For The Times of India, the campaign helped increase readership by creating relevant content. The campaign also opened the category as an ad revenue source through sponsorship and creating a context to help the ad sales team get better monetisation from fertility-related advertisers.