There have been plenty of jokes made about the "spread your legs" slip of the tongue made by Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, often with a punch line relating to an expected baby boom in nine months time, but for many, pregnancy is no laughing matter.
This week is Fertility Week, an awareness week promoted by Fertility New Zealand, a New Zealand charity supporting people facing fertility challenges. Raising awareness around fertility issues is important, says Inglewood woman Kara Brown, as it brings the subject out into the open.
"I wish someone had talked about the hidden secret that is infertility or fertility issues to me. I had no idea it could be so hard."
Kara says before she and her husband Andrew started planning their family, she had presumed getting pregnant would be easy.
"You spend much of your life trying to avoid getting pregnant, so it is kind of implied it is easy. No one I knew really mentioned any difficulties, so I just thought it would be straightforward."
Kara soon learned it was going to be anything but straightforward, as month after month she and Andrew were confronted with negative pregnancy tests.
When they started trying for a baby, they were also planning their wedding and Kara says it felt like they were facing a secret battle behind closed doors, while smiling and laughing their way through their wedding planning.
"People would make comments about how having a baby would be next, I would smile or laugh, but inside it hurt because it wasn't as easy as everyone seemed to imply."
Their GP had referred them to a fertility specialist by then, leading to Kara being diagnosed with polycystic ovaries as well as endometriosis in her uterus. She was prescribed medication to make her body ovulate and had to have frequent blood tests and scans.
"It takes the romance away a bit. The specialist was basically telling us when we should go home and try for a baby so to speak."
Even the day after their wedding Kara had to go out for a blood test.
"If felt like we were hiding this secret grief in a way. We hadn't lost anything tangible as such, but we were grieving the loss of potentially our dreams, our plans for our future."
It was a rollercoaster emotionally, she says.
"At times I would think, 'Is this it? Is my marriage going to end over this?' Here I am, I have found the person I love and want to spend the rest of my life with, but what if I can't give him a family, am I enough?"
Happily for Andrew and Kara, their rollercoaster came with a happy ending.
"Five days after our wedding, there they were, the two pink lines on a test."
Kara's pregnancy was, she says "horrendous", something she struggled with given how long she had battled to get to this stage. Two years later after their son Bentley was born however, the couple decided to try for a second child. Earlier this year, after many more scans, blood tests and several cycles of the medication, Kara and Andrew welcomed their second son Lincoln to their family.
Kara says it was only during their fertility struggle that she learned that about one in four New Zealanders face fertility struggles.
"So many people, yet we don't talk about it. We need to change that, because it can be such a lonely journey, and it is important to be prepared, to know having babies isn't always as easy as we are led to think."
This fertility awareness week, Kara says she wants people to remember that while Hipkins' slip of the tongue is funny, infertility is anything but.
"So yes, let's laugh about spread our legs - but also, let's talk about the fact that sometimes that isn't enough, so let's spread the word about the hidden secret of infertility as well."