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Someone Just Published a Great Article De-Mystifying Infertility and the NOvary. You need to read it!

October 15, 2010 | By: | Filed under: Uncategorized

Joanna Weiss of the Boston Globe just wrote a wonderful article validating the experience of being infertile and the shame and awkwardness that women feel, even today in 2010.  Acknowledging that there are many factors involved in infertility (not everyone is fighting that NOvary™ ), she also talks about how Hollywood and actresses over 40 who are not disclosing the assistance they “might” have received, or those (for example, JLo) who have openly slammed infertility despite suspected use of IVF services, aren’t helping matters.

I’d like to thank Ms. Weiss and the Boston Globe for publishing this article.  I have a lot of thoughts – as you know – about the role that movies and actresses who experience infertility play in perpetuating the shame.  I know as an attorney in this industry that many women who conceive using an egg donor may not have the ability to speak openly about it as a result of their egg donation agreement which requires them to maintain silence to preserve anonymity and confidentiality of the parties involved.  There is also a strong argument to be made that this is a private matter involving family, and a child’s conception, both of which are sacred issues to be shared when and how that family deems appropriate.

But the law and common sense don’t necessarily apply the same standards to those who seek the limelight.  I would like those public figures who are considering using egg donation – or those who are experiencing battles with infertility of all kinds, not just your dreaded biological clock and the NOvary™ – to reconsider their position.  You can draft an egg donation agreement that permits you to acknowledge that you received assistance through IVF or even third-party assisted reproduction and you can do it while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of your egg donation arrangement.

But there is more to this than whether someone can disclose we went through an egg donation.  As Ms. Weiss points out the real question remains, why won’t anyone do it?

In 2010 why is it still a stigma to have problems conceiving?  Federal Courts acknowledge that infertility is a disability.  Infertility is a disease!  While we are all in pain and do want to protect ourselves and our hearts from the sadness we are coping with, if we all came out of the closet, wouldn’t it be easier to get through it in the first place?  You wouldn’t have to avoid eye contact with everyone else in your clinic’s waiting room (I hated that!!!), you could make friends (one of my BFF was made during IF treatment and I wouldn’t go back for a second if it would mean I would not have gotten a chance to meet this woman), you could have SUPPORT.

This is not a shameful thing.  We all need to stand together and tell insurance companies to get with it (if a federal judge can figure this out than an insurance company can – I bet there would be a huge spike in enrollment in insurance companies that offered coverage, and I bet it would ultimately lower the cost of care and not cause it to rise as some have posited recently), and tell each other it’s okay.

Ms. Weiss suggests that when our kids are older and in school they will know about IVF and ICSI.  I want her to know that in my little world, my kids’ friends already know about this and the moms do discuss it.  Even those moms who didn’t have trouble conceiving are well educated, informed and supportive (for the most part).  It is coming out of the closet, but it’s coming out after the fact, after the pain is over.  That’s not right.

12 million of us are experience this journey.  If you are experiencing infertility today, you’re in good company.  Just read the latest tabloid journal about whatever 40+ actress just gave birth to twins, or whatever 45+ actress gave birth to a singleton.  Chances are the 40+ actress had some help.  And I am pretty sure that the 45+ actresses did have help.

Why keep it a secret?  Who are we helping?  We certainly are not helping our children who might one day be faced with this too.  I remember my grandmother once telling me that no one discussed miscarriages because it was so shameful to have one, so you just went through it alone, crying in the bathroom and absorbing obnoxious, patriarchal comments from your doctor.  She was envious that women today are so open about miscarriage.  I’m not sure I agree with her that we are open about miscarriage or that we are honest enough about any of this.  But she’s right we are making progress at least with respect to miscarriage and pregnancy loss.  But it’s not enough.  Ms. Weiss has written a wonderful article and I for one am very grateful for her openness.

You can read the article at: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/10/10/the_world_of_fertility/

Thank you Ms. Weiss!



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