ASRM Responds to NY Times Op-Ed on Fertility Treatment
Today is supposed to be medical Monday, but there’s been so much buzzing around in the media these days that it’s hard to know where to even start.
Since it is medical Monday, I think I’ll start a little backwards.
Linda Guidice is the president of ASRM; here’s her response to an op-ed piece in the New York Times:
We believe that "Selling the Fantasy of Fertility" (September 12) paints an incomplete picture of the likely success of infertility treatments.
Despite the dramatic advances in medicine of the last 30 years, it is true not every infertility patient will get pregnant, but patients and the public deserve to have all the facts. Among those facts the authors failed to mention are that ART treatments alone have resulted in the birth of more than 5 million babies around the world, and while it sometimes takes more than one attempt, more than 60% of women who undergo ART treatments eventually end up with a baby.
We, like the authors, recognize the tremendous emotional distress that can result for patients whose treatments are not successful, and hence the need to have transparency and full disclosure of available data for decision making in infertility therapy and coping with the emotional aspects that accompany it.
Linda C. Giudice, MD, PhD
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Truth in the Op-Ed "Selling the Fantasy of Fertility"
Jumping back to the op-ed piece itself ("Selling the Fantasy of Fertility"), the final paragraph was the part that spoke eloquently and rang with truth, with no judgment. Much of the rest of the op-ed was subjective, to say the least. It spoke of the authors' experiences and they should be applauded for bringing to light the issue of when to end treatment and that, in fact, ending treatment is as brave and strong as continuing. I certainly agree.
Being unable to bear children is a painful enough burden to carry, without society’s shaming and condemning those who recognize that their fertility fantasy is over. It is time to rein in the hype and take a more realistic look at the taboos and myths surrounding infertility and science’s ability to “cure” it.
Miriam Zoll is the author of the memoir “Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies.” Pamela Tsigdinos is the author of the memoir “Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found.”
Finding Our Own Journey During Infertility
Still, we all find our own journey and each of us does have to find our own ending.
Having been a patient myself, worked with not-for-profit patient organizations for decades, run peer support groups and more, my experience is that giving up the dreams of a lifetime is a painful struggle that is more internal than external. Yes, society brings pressure to bear in terms of family but not nearly the pressure we put on ourselves. Acknowledging that there is marketing that goes on around infertility and fertility treatment, I understand the author’s point that there’s pressure there as well.
And while the “industry” is here to help create families, I hear more frequently that doctors will gently try to convince patients to give up treatment and that patients are resistant to that rather than the other way around. Maybe that proves the authors' point?
Or perhaps giving up the dream of a biological child, magical thinking or not, is something that takes time and effort.
As the authors pointed out.
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