news item: bucking the trend of bad infertility news

I remember as a child/teenager when it seemed like high-order, multiple births started to become the “norm” in the news media. It seemed every year or so there was another story of quintuplets or sextuplets that had been born due to fertility treatments. And the news media would rally around the story and all of a sudden diapers, formula, clothing, college money, were all donated. As a teenager I loved these stories, not because I wanted quintuplets, but because it was always such a touching story, a family struggling to have kids, the shock of getting pregnant with fertility treatments, the greater shock of learning there were 5, or 6, or 7  babies! And then the community rallying around to support this family.

And then things started to get negative. People began questioning the medical ethics of fertility treatments, and this was in part a good thing. There were doctors who were being irresponsible with fertility treatments, the most glaring example being “octomom.”  But for all the stories of irresponsible reproductive practice, there were hundreds, maybe even thousands of stories that didn’t get reported. Stories of the 5 year struggle with IVF to get one healthy singleton pregnancy. Stories of a canceled IUI because the doctor was worried it would result in a high order multiple pregnancy. No one reported the stories of the quiet, daily struggle of couples trying to conceive just one baby.

But things are changing now. We, this community, are part of the change. We are turning the tide of negative infertility news by sharing our “news”, our stories. And our stories, are amazing. Terri Davidson writes in Are We Finally Bucking the Trend About Bad Infertility News?:

“By writing a blog, by sharing on social media, and by responding to the hurtful comments on the Internet, infertility patients are speaking up and expressing their opinions about this life changing experience. Patients are committing to regaining control over a condition that has left them feeling vulnerable and out of control. By telling personal stories and baring your soul, you are slaying the myths that pervade popular culture about infertility.”

Davidson writes that she sees the tide turning, and that this is important, because negative public relations about infertility means

“…diminishing public support and increased infertility bashing have very real political and financial implications for patients and professionals. They can result in decreased funding for research, lack of support for insurance coverage and the possibility of passage of personhood legislation that could have dire consequences.”

So kudos to all of us! By sharing our stories, we are helping keep infertility in the media, in a positive light, and showing that this issue is important, and that the real story of infertility isn’t about an unethical doctor who transferred eight embryos. It’s about us, in our quiet, day-to-day struggle to create a family. We hope you’ll read Are We Finally Bucking the Trend About Bad Infertility News? and let us know what you think.

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  • Do you see infertility being portrayed in a positive or negative light in the media?
  • Have you seen any media coverage that you thought was particularly thoughtful and well treated? (Such as the author’s example of the television show The View.)
  • Do you feel negative media portrayal has caused people to view your fertility journey negatively? (Have you gotten comments like “well you don’t want to be another ‘octomom.'” And yes, I got that comment.)
  • What about infertility as portrayed in television sitcoms, what are your thoughts on that and have you seen any really bad or really good portrayals?

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing our post with your readers and raising such great follow-up questions!

  2. There is still a lot of ignorant coverage out there it seems, though the tides seem to slowly be shifting. I know that, personally, the people around me are MUCH more educated about the different ART treatments available because of my openness with discussing our history. People just don’t know… and it feels good to educate them.

    Television sitcoms….meh. I wish they did a better (more realistic?) portrayal of it, but at the same time, it’s a sitcom – it’s not trying to focus on heavy issues (be it IF or cancer or alcoholism or divorce or whatever!). I guess I expect more out of the long running dramas (like Grey’s Anatomy)… and lately I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing the blog. Whether you have an audience of 200 or 200,000, you can make a difference by telling your story.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Chandra shared our news item this week looking at the recent negative-media trend on the subject of infertility. See how you, yes all of you, are helping to kick this trend to the curb by reading, “ bucking the trend of bad infertility news.” […]

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