ASRM Responds to NY Times Op-Ed on Fertility Treatment

NY Times Op Ed Selling the Fantasy of FertilityToday 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:

 

Photo: Adam Kinney, Flickr Creative Commons

 

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

President

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?

 

Perhaps.

 

Or perhaps giving up the dream of a biological child, magical thinking or not, is something that takes time and effort.

 

And courage.

 

As the authors pointed out.

 

Lisa Rosenthal's Google+

 

 

Topics: pregnancy, assisted reproduction, ASRM, Fertility Success, Fertility Treatment

Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.

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