A piece researched and written by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos over at Silent Sorority went live recently in this month’s online edition of Marie Claire magazine. You can find the piece, The Wild World of IVF, Explained here. You’ll also recognize the lede – I’m committed to lending my voice and story to more truthful and realistic portrayals of infertility and the CNBC experience.
There were plenty of other valuable personal accounts and hard-hitting research on the fertility industry that didn’t make it into the piece, as Pamela attests to in her most recent post. It’s crucial that mainstream media grant readers access to in-depth, accurate reporting on the emotional fallout and mental health ramifications including PTSD that result from multiple failed (and sometimes not failed!) fertility treatments, as well as the current lack of palliative care. Just to name a few. The “How to have a baby” subtitle, one of which landed right next to the brief account of my plight, gave me and will give others a bit of a lurch.
That said, what did make it into this piece results in what I feel to be a very straight-forward, non sugar-coated overview of the IVF process, from which even I, quite the IVF veteran as are many of you, learned a few things. Hats off to Pamela for her persistence and astute reporting.
Overall a strong step in the right direction of not glossing over the IVF experience. All I ever caught wind of via the media in my years leading up to trying to start a family with children were people getting pregnant naturally in their late thirties and early forties, rare live births of high number multiples, or miracle baby “just keep trying” stories resulting from IVF. What do you think?
On another note, it has worked out that I’ve been collaborating with others and putting my work on broader platforms lately. Not sure how it feels from your vantage point, my valued readers, but I rather miss the intimacy of pouring my heart out and writing just for your eyes (plus whoever you care to share it with) and this blog. I’m looking forward to getting back to that soon.
12 thoughts on “In a National Women’s Magazine”
Honestly, it wasn’t all that exciting of an article, as it avoided the glaring fact of stating that the majority of those who go through IVF don’t end up with a baby in the end, and pretty much leaves those of us who did DEIVF invisible (my favorite articles are the ones that try to state that donor eggs will just about guarantee someone a kid because somehow only the young egg will guarantee success even if the uterus was already proven to be an inhospitable mess). Also, the article makes blanket statements about what you can/can’t do during IVF. My doctor never said I couldn’t drink coffee or exercise, and in fact the latter was encouraged – the only time bedrest was ever recommended was by my acupuncturist, as my RE said I should “chill out” on transfer day and then be back to normal the next day. There are ten million unique experiences out there and the one thing that everyone talking to those who might undergo IVF someday is the fact that it usually does not work, and the success stories are louder because few of us who’ve seen nothing but failure and trauma aren’t exactly shouting it from the rooftop. I do appreciate how it calls out the fact that RE’s offices can do whatever they want with reporting numbers, but honestly, the whole piece was so tame in an industry that should be inspiring more outrage about how women are deceived into giving their life savings for odds that are often outright lies. Sick of calm articles – as the saying goes something to the effect of, if you’re not mad as hell, you’re not paying attention.
The mainstream media needs to exhibit a lot more willingness in terms of publishing in depth reporting on IVF and the fertility industry, that’s for certain. Not sure if she’ll do it or not yet, but Pamela hinted in her latest blog post that she may share the untrimmed version of this article. It would be telling to see what made it into the final and what didn’t. I’m thinking it would be good if the editors at Marie Claire were privy to your thoughts on and responses to this piece.
BTW I was about to ask you if you’d heard of the new Netflix movie with Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti called “Private Life” that’s supposed to focus a lot on infertility/IVF/etc. I was thinking about braving it tonight while my husband’s at work as I’ve heard it’s pretty crazy good… (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/private-life-infertility-movie-kathryn-hahn-paul-giamatti_us_5bb39888e4b00fe9f4fb01ab)
I think someone may have mentioned it to me. I’ll have to check it out, thanks for the link.
Ouch. It might help to read my blog post on my experience writing on this topic: https://blog.silentsorority.com/fertility-clinics-scrutiny/. The published piece by MC is a watered-down version of what I submitted. It’s a ghost of the original copy.
You might also find this piece more to your liking: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/selling-the-fantasy-of-fertility.html?_r=0
Bottom line, I was alone 12 years (and 2,000 blog posts ago) when I started writing on this subject. It has taken immense effort to attract attention to this topic. Sarah and others who have appeared online in the last decade can attest it takes a hell of a lot of energy to tackle an industry with unlimited funds for PR teams and marketing budgets. Trying to get more than a ‘tame’ piece is a HELL of a lot harder than it looks. It took nine years (and plenty of grey hairs now dyed) to get to The New York Times editorial team. I challenge anyone here in the blogosphere to pick up the baton and run with it.
Furthermore, I’m OUT and like Sarah use my real name in all my advocacy efforts. I’m frankly getting tired of being told my work is lacking, or hearing from people hiding behind pseudonyms who feel at ease playing the critic without knowing the full story and the years I’ve spent getting the door slammed in my face pitching the reality of IVF not the sugar-coated crap we see all around us.
YES we need more attention, more balanced editorial coverage and better treatment in the mainstream media, but I can’t F#*King do it by myself. Suit up, I say…
Pamela I had no idea this was a watered-down version and it would have been great to have known that when reading the article but that would be impossible for someone like me reading the link to know. I’m not sure what you’re insinuating about hiding behind a synonym but anybody who reads my blog regularly knows that I use my name all the time and there’s even a link to my business page (and my business has a link to my blog so even my clients know what I write about…including my post about infertility on LinkedIn and the lack of coverage for infertility treatment or adoption benefits on company benefit plans).
Read a little bit more of my blog and you’ll see that I’ve been writing about it for years not just on my blog but posting it right on LinkedIn where my recruiting and coaching clients can see it in the tech world.
Glad to see, Aimee, that you’re using your name, your story and your platforms to advocate. We need many more to move the needle. Too often women hide (I’ve seen many who could have made a difference back away or disappoint over the years). The lack of an organized, visible and committed constituency makes an already difficult challenge near impossible. My frustration — clearly spelled out in my previous comment — comes from years of pushing a rock uphill only to have it come rolling back over on top of me. A raw nerve from years of disappointment … Peace
congratulations on this contribution! Although I find like you the title “Guide to having a baby” quite unfortunate, I’m glad to see that your testimony is making it through mainstream magazines. Thanks also for sharing your story on ReproTechTruth!
Thank you for your work and the energy you put into it!
Hi Lea – Your comment means so much to me. I’ve realized in a different way this week that it does take a lot to offer up your name and story, especially when your story happens to be ridiculously shrouded in stigma and taboo. I deeply appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge this – thank you.
I’ve just commented on your story on Pamela’s blog. As I said there, brava to you and Pamela for getting the story out there – and to all of us who try, but find our words or stories truncated to fit the editor’s requirements or their take on the particular story. Some of my favourite lines – as spoken to a journo last year about Christmas – were missed out, because they didn’t fit the “poor pathetic childless women” angle of the story that the editor wanted, despite the reporter loving what I said. (Eg, about “reclaiming Christmas” and finding joy.)
Thanks so much for your acknowledgements, Mali. It’s also good to know someone understands the editor imposed limits we run up against when we are trying our best to get the meaty parts of the truth out there. Limits that likely need a cultural shift in order to be broken through. Also, I must apologize, I recall you “came out” or however you wish to describe it, perhaps it was in the situation you were referring to in your comment at some point one or two years ago. My memory is vague as it was either when I was being sideswiped with my nervous system disorder, which was extraordinarily debilitating at its onset, or it was around the time we were finding out the current US administration was revoking TPS, my husband’s immigration status. Either way, congrats (albeit awkward and utterly untimely!) to you for your work and efforts too. Hopefully life will render me more coherent next time.