Global Awareness of Barrenness

For Immediate Release
15 June 2017

Charlottetown, PEI MP, Sean Casey, Presents Ground-breaking Petition in the House of Commons re: Global Awareness of Barrenness


Elizabeth Powers, an Island author and a barren woman for over 20 years, is pleased to announce that her petition, sponsored by MP Sean Casey, was read in the House of Commons on June 13. As an emissary for the over 100 million barren women and men worldwide, Ms. Powers is requesting that the Federal Government leads an international movement of awareness about the profound impacts of barrenness, an important health and social issue that affects people in every part of the world.

“With our Federal Government’s proven commitment to inclusiveness, no other country in the world is better positioned to champion the advancement of the condition of barrenness by launching educative programs – ones that encourage people to speak openly about the challenges of human reproduction,” says Powers. “It’s time to break the silence that surrounds the truths about not being able to create life and has done so for centuries.”

Powers further asserts, “Barrenness is a powerful topic relevant to all of us in some form. Friends, family members, colleagues, and those in our communities struggle to deal with the reality that they will never naturally produce their much-wanted children, something counter-intuitive to their instincts to love and nurture them. We can do a lot better in treating barren women and men with the compassion, dignity, and respect they deserve.”

Several organizations support Powers’ mission to increase knowledge and understanding about what those that are barren experience:

      • The Honourable Paula Biggar, Prince Edward Island’s Minister Responsible for the Status of Women
      • PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
      • Women’s Network PEI
      • Fertility Matters Canada

By putting an accessible face to the condition of barrenness, Ms. Powers trusts that those who are also barren will relate to her experiences and emotions and feel less isolated. For those who are able to conceive, she hopes to inspire them to reach out to barren women and men with kindness and sensitivity.

Ms. Powers has contacted Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott requesting a meeting to discuss how she can work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to initiate an international awareness campaign.

Quick Facts

      • The World Health Organization predicts that infertility and sterility (i.e., barrenness) will be the third-most serious disease worldwide in the 21st century after cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
      • One in six couples in Canada is diagnosed with infertility – a major health issue.
        • o This medical condition affects approximately 16 per cent of Canadians, a number that has doubled since the 1980’s.
          o About 40 per cent of couples that are treated for infertility will be unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive and will need to make the transition into barrenness.
      • Globally, one in six couples experiences problems with conceiving and many will not do so.
      • Barrenness has numerous emotional and psychological consequences, particularly for women who often experience strong feelings of guilt, profound sadness, and decreased value as a woman and as a spouse or partner.
      • The appalling treatment from others in their communities heightens their anguish. Barren women in several countries continue to be written off as “useless”, viewed as “burdens” to their communities, referred to as being cursed by “evil spirits”, and dreadfully abused, psychologically and emotionally.
      • Ms. Powers’ vision is for barrenness to be recognized in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


    • For more information:
      Elizabeth Powers Office: (902) 892-7575
      E-mail address: