Breaking the Silence of Fertility Struggles with DoctorTazz

April 23, 2024
Latazia Stuart at a public reading of her book

Dr. Latazia Stuart shares her personal journey and advice for healthcare providers in this Q&A with Adtalem’s Dr. Sharonda Wallace.

Like so many others, Dr. Latazia Stuart hid her fertility challenges. For years she told no one, not even her mother. She doesn’t want others to suffer in silence and shame. After a successful career as a professor and higher education leader, she founded the nonprofit Fertility Empowerment International. Today she is a coach, consultant, international speaker, and author of the book The Secrets of Faith INfertility: An Untold Journey of Faith, Fertility, and Favor.

DoctorTazz, as she’s known, is bringing her message to students at Chamberlain University as a guest speaker. Here she talks about her fertility journey, approaches to the issue in the US and the Bahamas, and her message for healthcare students with Dr. Sharonda Wallace dean of Chamberlain’s online Master of Public Health program.

You’ve written extensively about your fertility challenges. Tell us about your journey and what you’ve learned.

My fertility journeys were totally unexpected. I come from a fairly large family and had never previously heard conversations related to infertility or pregnancy loss. When my husband and I eventually began trying to have kids and it was not happening, we were caught completely off guard. I eventually learned that I had significant scarring around my ovaries due to a cystectomy I had during the first year of our marriage. Then there were a myriad of other fertility issues that came up, including fibroids, endometritis, and eventually, after supposedly having all of these resolved and using fertility treatment, I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. From my journey, I’ve come to learn that the need for more conversation and sharing of our fertility journeys is necessary to empower others and also create awareness to avoid individuals being blindsided by fertility issues should they arise for both women and men.

As published in an article last year and posted by NIH in the National Library of Medicine, unfortunately, there is limited research on the rate of infertility among Black people in the United States. Additionally, Black women are twice as likely to experience pregnancy loss compared to non-Black women. 

There is an alarming racial disparity when it comes to access to care, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility, resulting in a lack of resources and knowledge among Black people.

So many people struggle privately with fertility issues. Why is it important for them to talk about their experiences?

Let me share a short story that illustrates this point. At a recent fertility empowerment conference I hosted at a popular resort in the Bahamas, a manager approached the registration table with a member of her team. She explained that this young lady, whom she also mentored, had confided in her about her fertility challenges. Touched by her courage, the manager wanted to cover the young lady’s registration for the second day of the conference. During the event, a panel of fertility warriors shared their stories, including the physical and emotional challenges they faced. Inspired by their openness, the young lady timidly approached the microphone during the Q&A session and shared her fertility journey publicly for the first time. She expressed relief at being able to open up and found renewed hope in knowing she was not alone. This instance highlights how speaking up not only provides personal relief but also helps to raise awareness and support for infertility issues in various settings.

You live in Florida and have roots in the Bahamas. What are the cultural differences? How do healthcare approaches differ?

The reality for me was that there were more similarities than differences between the Bahamas and minority communities in Florida on fertility topics. Unfortunately, as this was not a topic discussed in my personal or professional communities in either the Bahamas or Florida, I was held in bondage to the secret shame of my fertility health struggles. In both communities, the expectations of having kids once married was almost a given with frequent comments to “not take too long” or “have your kids before you turn 30.” However, there was a heightened level of embarrassment around the inability to conceive, and culturally, these issues remain a silent one—an issue that I am actively working on breaking the silence through my nonprofit efforts.

a headshot of Dr. Latazia Stuart

Since the release of my book that is online through Amazon and in bookstores in the Bahamas and Florida, many individuals have contacted me expressing their appreciation for a voice, speaking out for them, and bringing awareness to their fertility issues. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding fertility are not frequently discussed, and there are minimal corporate entities that have support programs or fertility benefits. 

In Florida, while the population more than doubles that of The Bahamas, the conversations surrounding fertility issues are still emerging, and more conversation is needed to continue building hope and providing education and resources to support those experiencing fertility challenges, especially in Black communities.

In-vitro fertilization has been in the news a lot lately. What do people need to understand about this fertility treatment that they might not be hearing in the media?

I’ll start by sharing that the advancement of fertility treatment, specifically IVF, aided the process in allowing me to build my family, which today consists of three beautiful miracles that I am forever grateful for. 

It’s unfortunate how politicized something that was designed to help many individuals to build their families has been misconstrued, and in some instances abused. However, what may be missed from the media is the fact that couples who invest time and money to achieve a dream of becoming a parent are real people who do not deserve or desire to be used as pawns for political advantage. We only desire to have a family.

Through your nonprofit, you conduct trainings on workplace sensitivity with fertility issues. What challenges do you see people facing at work, and how can their employers better support them?

My experience of being escorted from a boardroom meeting by paramedics on a stretcher due to pregnancy loss underscores the need for workplace sensitivity. While I share more details of this encounter in my book The Secrets of Faith INfertility, it’s a poignant reminder of the challenges individuals face. In addition to the emotional toll and awkward moments for both the person and their colleagues, individuals with fertility issues often encounter insensitive comments and the stress of balancing medical appointments with work responsibilities. Sensitivity training programs for leaders and employees can foster empathy, creating a supportive environment, which ultimately also contributes to sustaining productivity levels in the workplace. Solutions such as educating on appropriate language and offering flexible work arrangements are just a few among many discussed in my framework of sensitivity training programs with organizations.

Much of your career, you were a professor and leader in higher education. Here at Adtalem Global Education, we have students studying nursing, medicine, public health, counseling, social work, and other health-related fields. What do you want to make sure they understand about working with people facing infertility issues?

As students studying in health-related fields, it’s crucial to understand the complex emotional and physical challenges faced by individuals dealing with infertility. Empathy, sensitivity, and a non-judgmental approach are paramount when providing care and support to these individuals. It’s essential to recognize the profound impact infertility can have on mental health and overall well-being, and to offer compassionate and inclusive care tailored to each individual’s needs. Additionally, I recommend visiting or for ways to get involved or support fertility work.

About Dr. Sharonda Wallace 

a headshot of Dr. Sharonda Wallace

Dr. Sharonda Wallace brings more than 25 years of experience in healthcare practice and education to her role as dean of Chamberlain’s online Master of Public Health program. Outside of Adtalem Global Education, she is 2024 president of the Council on Education for Public Health, an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit public health programs. 

For more information, email the Adtalem Global Communications Team: