Brangelina “Not Defective,” Just Impatient is All


in vitro fertilizationEnough! Give me back the gossip magazines of old.

Where’s Bjork? I want Thelma and Louise! I long for days when fashion snafus on the red carpet and stars on their exotic vacations filled the covers. Give me Barbra Streisand as a political commentator.  Where are the gossip mags that offer the pure, unadulterated joy of escaping the more predictable work-a-day world that doesn’t involve parenting tips.

What do we get today? Bump watch. Pregnancy announcements. Baby shower gift guides. Baby name speculation. Blow-by-blow delivery stories. What the ??

And now, breathless commentary on Angelina and Brad’s in vitro fertilization treatments, which by the way, are not just for those who have “defects in the machinery.” Yes that phrase actually was used in The Star Report in the San Jose Mercury News print edition. ‘Cause clearly there weren’t enough degrading and demeaning phrases to describe those fighting infertility and we needed a new one: defective. Lovely. Just lovely.

And God forbid anyone might think Brangelina couldn’t conceive on their own. Apparently their publicity team felt the need to give Us Magazine the real story lest this gold mine of a celebrity couple be painted with the stigma of those other people (whisper, whisper) you know those less genetically perfect people, those freaks of nature who actually need to rely on in vitro fertilization…

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And guess what else? In vitro takes all the stress out of conceiving! A source is quoted as saying as much so it must be true!

“The actress chose the procedure (which can cost around $12,000 a pop) so she wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of trying to get pregnant,” the source tells Us. “She could just knock it out.”

Where to begin?? The damage done from stories like this is immense. More fodder for the misinformation machine around infertility.

1) In vitro fertilization treatments DON’T always succeed. (Um, trust me, I know all too well the failure scenarios…)
2) Despite what this reporting implies, the medical establishment cannot produce babies on demand.
3) In vitro fertilization treatments are ridiculously stressful. (How can shooting up hormones not be a tad anxiety producing?)
4) Your turn now. Fill in the blank.


45 Responses

  1. Denise

    July 25, 2008 3:32 pm

    Annoying on so many levels. I really like (liked?) Angelina but choosing invitro to take the pressure off of TTC? And making it sound so damn cut and dry.

    Wrong wrong wrong.

  2. loribeth

    July 25, 2008 4:25 pm

    I was down at the newsstand this morning & noticed that the cover of every single magazine of the US/People/InTouch etc. ilk had “baby” or “pregnant” either in words or photos on the cover (and I’m not talking 12 point type either).

    I had heard rumours about this earlier in her pregnancy. I’ve known a few loss moms IRL & online who were so desperate to get pg again right away they went to a clinic either for monitored cycles or clomid to help speed up the process. I wouldn’t recommend that either, but I can understand/sympathize with that motivation a little more than “Time for another baby! I don’t want to wait, let’s call the clinic! How’s next month for you?” “Sorry, I’m shooting a movie — how about the month after that? I’ll pencil it in.” ARGGGHHH…

    Not to mention that $12,000 a pop is chicken feed to Brangelina, & they can afford a small army of nurses, nannies, cooks, etc., to help out with the twins & the other four kids.

    I can feel my blood pressure rising, so I think I’d better stop…!

  3. Bean

    July 25, 2008 5:13 pm

    UGH. What a55holes! Brangelina and their idiot PR people AND the idiot “reporters” and magazine folk who are too stupid and lazy to actually THINK about what they are saying/writing.

  4. Ellen K

    July 25, 2008 5:40 pm

    I am pissed about this, as I mentioned on my blog. Honestly, though, the idea that they used IVF because it was less of a hassle than TTC without ART makes more sense than the idea of a couple who hops from adoption to adoption to pregnancy to adoption to necessary IF treatments. It is not my idea of thoughtful family planning.

    Virtually all adoption agencies and most countries, by the way, require a waiting period between completing one adoption or pregnancy and beginning a new adoption process, so it’s clear to me that rules are being bent every which way for this “super mom.”

  5. jodie38

    July 25, 2008 6:53 pm

    Next it’ll be frozen embryo + H20 = baby. It’s a tad more complicated than that, folks, though you’d not know it from the press.

    Such an oblivious misrepresentation; anything for a story. The more I think about it the angrier I get.

  6. Ashley

    July 25, 2008 6:54 pm

    While I’m certain that they simply had trouble conceiving, is it just me or does this statement make it sound like they don’t have sex all that often?

    Why would they want to broadcast that rather than infertility?

  7. Summer

    July 25, 2008 7:40 pm

    Whatever the reason was for their use of IVF, this is one case in which I wish the celebrity didn’t publicize their use of fertility treatments to get pregnant.

    Maybe I’m a cynic, but I think Angelina needed fertility treatments to get pregnant but instead of talking about that, they are using the “IVF is less stress” explanation to cover up the real reason.

  8. Shorty

    July 25, 2008 8:29 pm

    Let me start out by saying that, believe me, I have sympathy for everyone out there, no matter WHAT their situation is. Please don’t take what I have to say as an attack – on anyone. Here goes — One thing that strikes me everytime I read a story like this is that I’m unable to have children — in the end — at least partly because I’m not wealthier. We could only afford to try IVF a couple of times, and when it didn’t work – that was it. The (financial) well was dry. Everyone acts like IVF and/or adoption are such easy options, but neither is easy — or affordable for everyone. I would love to adopt, but we now have to work on building the savings account again to pay for it. So, I’m thrilled for people who are able to afford it — really, I am — but I can’t help but be a bit bitter that I don’t have children because I can’t pay for more treatments. And someone out there (Brangelina) is actually doing IVF (or claiming to) out of convenience?? That’s just poouuuring salt on an open wound. Sorry to be such a downer — I’ll go have a glass of wine now.

  9. Michell

    July 25, 2008 9:19 pm

    Ugg. That’s sucky. I did my venting about her already how much I’m sick of hearing about how easily she can have babies and adopt babies whenever she wants. Now this. I suppose IVF may not be that stressful when you can afford to pay for an unlimited number of cycles. IVF for convenience. What a bunch of hooey.

  10. shonda

    July 25, 2008 9:35 pm

    Well, doing in vitro if unnecessary seems kind of self-indulgent, very Hollywood. I don’t pay lots of attention to celebrities, but Angelina and Brad seem pretty sensitive to the plight of others, i.e. the poor and Katrina victims.
    So, it is my hope that they really had IF and didn’t know how to deal with it, though honesty would’ve been best. Well, unless the convenience story is the truth and then honesty is best buttoned.
    Sorry that you ladies have this ever present cloud over your heads.

  11. VA Blondie

    July 25, 2008 10:38 pm

    I think that this Brangelina thing makes bridging the gap between infertiles and fertiles even larger. It plays on assumptions which are incorrect. IVF has a huge emotional and financial cost. It is not something which comes easily, and is definitely not something which should be taken for granted.

  12. Nichole

    July 25, 2008 10:43 pm

    Oh my oh my! The overwhelming sadness my heart feels after reading this post and the comments. I too am infertile. My husband and I tried 2 costly attempts at IVF with no success. After much pain and prayer we decided to adopt. Our ending is a happy one with blessings beyond thanks to adoption. This does not however, make the pain of being infertile any less. It is shocking how inconsiderate people can be of other’s feelings. I still remember it like yesterday. People would say, “Stop thinking about it and you’ll get pregnant. Just go take a vacation and you’ll come home pregnant. You’ll see!” As if it’s that easy. Constant blood draws, constant shots, constant monitoring what you eat and vitamins etc. I’ve done it all to have a child. What I really wanted to scream back in response to these people but never had the guts was. “If getting pregnant is that easy then why the HELL did I/we spend so much money on IVF YOU FREAKIN IDIOT?” You can’t tell me there aren’t celebs who really have experienced infertility issue who aren’t offended by these same comments.

    However, I try very hard to remember just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s true. Gossip column or not.

    If anyone wants to talk about their experience or has questions about mine feel free to stop by my blog and chat. You aren’t alone and I know I often felt this way. I wish I had known about this blog before today.
    Good luck to all! Hang in there!

  13. Mel

    July 25, 2008 10:51 pm

    My mother read this to me yesterday from a magazine. Once we stopped crying from laughing so hard we tossed the magazine. Truly. What the hell? Because, you know, IVF is just sooooooooooooooo easy.

    I don’t even know where you begin with this.

  14. Lori

    July 25, 2008 11:04 pm

    So let me see if I have this right: going through IVF at a clinic and with injections and a host of onlookers is less stressful than getting pregnant in the privacy and simplicity of one’s own home?

    It’s likely that they’ve got some embies on ice. So we should brace ourselves for another Brangelina Bump Watch very soon.

  15. annacyclopedia

    July 25, 2008 11:19 pm

    Ok – this may or may not be actually true, but let’s just assume it is. It makes the self-righteous indignation a lot more fun when I’m not second guessing myself.

    First – is it not totally fucked to admit to the world that you don’t feel like having sex with the guy who is repeatedly deemed “world’s sexiest man”?

    Second – wanting a big family is one thing. But to me, the rush to add to the family by adopting in very quick succession and then using IVF seems nothing short of pathological. It might seem like having a lot of money gives you a lot of power and puts you in control of your life. And everybody knows that babies are the latest and greatest and most expensive and precious accessories. But guess what? None of us are ever in control of life or death, and pretending otherwise to the world at large smacks of grandiosity and arrogance. Which Brangelina seem to have in spades.

    Third – the press. Where to begin? Absolutely un-fucking-believeable that they print crap like that. I suppose I don’t hold the celebrity magazines to the same standard as real news, but a little basic research and balance doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

    UGH! I just can’t type it loud enough!

  16. phoebe

    July 25, 2008 11:40 pm

    Yeah, I saw the “in vitro” on the cover of US Magazine yesterday and did an internal eye roll. Seriously, I can’t wait for the whole Brangelina twins story to go away. It’s bad enough that they are reproducing, but twins to boot? What is it with the media obsession on twins? I too hate all the baby talk on the covers of the mags at the check out counter. It makes me not want to go grocery shopping anymore. Grrrr!

  17. Star

    July 26, 2008 1:42 am

    I saw this story earlier today — absolutely infuriating. When I heard she was having twins, I figured they had used IVF, but assumed it was because they were having issues. Who knows whether this statement is the truth or not, but either way it is a complete slap in the face to anyone who has had trouble conceiving. I think the old platitude “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” applies here.

  18. Karin

    July 26, 2008 1:58 am


    I can’t help but agree with annacyclopedia. Not as if she wasn’t able to procreate in order to end a marriage. Then she had to rush to …

    Well, I can’t even verbalize it, it shames me to think such evil things. And they annoy me.

  19. tandar

    July 26, 2008 2:18 am

    I can’t believe it!

    What would the public think if Angelina actually did have IF issues? Would it would be considered bad press? Imagine… what is this world coming to.

    I heard that Jennifer Lopez used IF too.

  20. Heather

    July 26, 2008 3:10 am

    I’m so hormonal…this makes me want to cry. Every time I think our community is making headway something huge like this knocks us back. Makes me so sad.

  21. MLO

    July 26, 2008 5:13 am

    Um… Didn’t Brad’s first marriage end partially due to the stresses of miscarriage? I’m not positive, but I think that sometimes this is due to genetic issues carried from the father’s side – I have a friend who I recall was going through this. It is possible to get pregnant naturally this way, but the odds of m/c are very high. Perhaps it is a case of PGD use? The clinics in CA are the ones doing the majority of this right now.

    Methinks the problem may be a case of two carriers that lead to a chromosomal issue.

    I have to wonder if they even know what is being said by their publicists? Remember, they are not the brightest people around necessarily. A publicist was the one going around countering Marcia Cross about her use of donor eggs.

  22. Geohde

    July 26, 2008 9:25 am

    Who knows if they actually used IVF- but I’d bet her very low body weight after her last pregnancy did create some ovulatory dysfunction that at the least involved a ‘lil help from Clomid. 10% incidence of multiples right there….

    I don’t blame the famous people per-se, I blame the media for reporting that IVF is ‘easy’ and ‘takes the stress out’. I mean PLEASE.


  23. Alacrity

    July 26, 2008 11:14 am

    Maybe she wanted the boy/girl twins guaranteed with every IVF cycle!

    Seriously, I have just started going to the grocery store again after a year-long hiatus (my DH is an absolute gem!). I am starting to remember why I stopped going, and to rethink my decision to allow myself to be subjected to our current national pastime, bumpwatching.

    Of course they got the b/g twins. Of course. Who knows why they really decided to do IVF – my guess is that she was too emaciated to conceive on her own. You need a certain percentage of body fat don’t you? Or maybe it was convenience. But then, you know what? Keep it to yourself!

    And as for IVF not being stressful, well imagine doing IVF under the following conditions:

    1. you already have 4 children, and can pretty much adopt any kid from anywhere at any time

    2. you don’t have to go to work

    3. you can afford to have a nurse administer all medications, in the privacy of your own mansion

    4. you can purchase state of the art monitoring equipment and have all of your monitoring done at home – the doctor comes to you

    5. you have a large staff who can do anything and everything else, cook, clean, childcare, pretty much all you have to do is eat and crap on your own

    6. you don’t have to wait in any waiting rooms, and if you want to talk to your RE he will answer the phone immediately

    7. you have the best medical team money can buy, and your procedures are conducted in complete privacy

    8. you have unlimited resources, no pressure to return to work any time soon, and could cycle indefinitely

  24. Amy

    July 26, 2008 11:59 am

    I think this is so disrespectful to anyone who battles infertility. In addition I think that it is just wrong … it seems we no longer need to have a “problem” or need before doctors will treat us! And it is quite clear that money and convenience plays a HUGE factor! It really makes me sad for our society.

  25. Bea

    July 26, 2008 2:19 pm

    You know, if I get angry every time Brangelina does something to piss me off, I’ll just end up spending my whole life angry.

    Shame I can’t shrug it off, then, isn’t it?

    How utterly fucking stupid. Apparently IVF is the new black, as well as adoption, and Brange wanted in. Apparently Brange can’t live with being blessed by good fortune, and needs to jump on the bandwagon of everyone else’s experiences, cheapening the whole thing along the way.


  26. Aurelia

    July 26, 2008 2:38 pm

    I actually think this article is made up crap because US magazine is mad they didn’t win the bidding war for pictures of the babies. People paid twenty million and US has a big fat nothing unless it makes up some lies.

    I know that she admitted to having some ovulation problems earlier and said that she used some drugs to spur her ovaries into working, but that’s a matter of public record. So I’m going to blame the magazine for now and wait for People’s story.

    There have been some oddities about her adoptions, like the one from Cambodia, with Maddox? She apparently bent the rules to get his finished, even though all adoptions had been closed in Cambodia because of concerns about baby-selling. No one has ever figured out how she got him out, or how she gets around the rules on time between adoptions and births.

    Take care Pamela Jeanne, I know things have not been so easy lately, just know that I am thinking about you!

    • Pamela Jeanne

      July 28, 2008 8:13 pm

      Thanks, Aurelia! Very much appreciate the thoughts and the comment.

  27. shinejil

    July 26, 2008 3:03 pm

    Ah so! Now I know! My machinery is defective. Could it be my fan belt? Maybe I should start seeing a mechanic, not an RE.

    After I get my quick-n-easy IVF done, that is.

  28. Me

    July 26, 2008 6:33 pm

    I can’t fill in the blank because the top irritates me so much I refuse to think about it. F***tards!

  29. Samantha

    July 27, 2008 2:34 am

    That just makes me so sad, first that celebs have such power in our society, that we are constantly fawning over their offspring; second that they misuse their power to relegate the rest of us IFer’s as “defective.”


  30. Deathstar

    July 27, 2008 5:12 am

    Excuse me while I go burn something down!!! Don’t even get me started. I am not in the f**** mood. IVF is not fun, convenient, easy, stress-free or desirable in the slightest. Anyone who says differently is on crack or lives in a alternative universe.

  31. A read

    July 27, 2008 8:59 pm

    I am 3rd cousins with Ms. Jolie. And while I never met her….there is fertility issues on that side of the family (from the ones we have met, speak with etc.)

    So…maybe she was impatient about conceiving…but MAYBE she was impatient b/c it was taking longer with the 2nd pregnancy and she rushed into IVF.

    I think the article is horrible…but definitely blame it on the idiots writing for the rag mags. They are the ones who wrote the article with the DUH statements trying to “educate” the rest of the fertile world.

    Don’t automatically assume Angie did IVF for the wrong reasons.

  32. Lisa

    July 28, 2008 1:13 am

    4. Lots of women (me, me!) — many of whom don’t make millions of dollars from mostly crappy movies OR have spouses who have that same gig — would thank God if her clinic charged *just* $12K for an IVF cycle.

    5. Most IVF’ers don’t do it for the PR value.

    6. Few IVF’ers that successfully achieve pregnancy count the days to the baby being born so they can get back to feeding their heroin habit guilt-free, asap. Of course I can only say that by adding the obvious disclaimer that nobody can believe everything they read about ANYTHING.

  33. jc

    July 28, 2008 2:19 am

    It is offensive and annoying and misleading and all of that, but it is also sort of funny. They’re telling the world that they would prefer to conceive through IVF than to go to the trouble to have sex with each other. I’m no Angelina, but I’d like to think that my husband would rather be with me than with a cup and some bad porn and I most certainly would prefer to be with him than with my butt hanging off the exam table staring between my knees at a stranger with a syringe.

  34. chicklet

    July 28, 2008 3:49 am

    I’m hoping it’s not true and they used fertility treatments both times cuz she doesn’t ovulate. I dunno. I wanna believe they’re better (and defective) and just refusing to talk about it cuz it’s private.

  35. midlife mommy

    July 28, 2008 10:10 am

    As if I needed anything more to find that woman despicable. There must be something more to this story, though. I can’t imagine anyone voluntarily going through all of that just to avoid the “inconvenience” of getting pregnant. Hmmmm . . . what does this say about Brad? I choose needles and hot flashes over you? Ugh.

  36. dana

    July 28, 2008 1:33 pm

    Oh my gosh. I think this is terrible. So basically, she doesn’t struggle with infertility, she was too lazy to try to get pregnant by *gasp* having sex?

    I know it’s a personal choice to go in vitro, but where’s the celebrity spokesperson for infertility? Why do the rich and famous have to make everything look so easy? It’s so damn misleading.

  37. Portia P

    July 28, 2008 8:48 pm

    I think the girls have all said it for me.

    I was gobsmacked by the Brangelina news. How many more celebrities will perpetrate total untruths about IVF?

  38. Alicia

    July 29, 2008 9:42 am

    Awesome! It’s about time that Brangelina join us “defects” down in the real world…

    Great article.

  39. Tania

    August 4, 2008 5:01 pm

    I’m in the last days of my first IUI cycle, I’m going to know the result in a few days. Is there anyone that undergoes some kind of medical procedures to get pregnant that think that’s NOT stressful???? Had to give self shoots of medicines, with some annoying side-effects, then make your husband do the job to a cup, then have a guy put the material inside you with a syringe, and then wait 15 days for the result, thats NOT Stressful???
    I want to believe that the story is not true, I think they may done a IVF (I suspected when I know it was twins…), but for medical reasons, maybe a tubal obstruction as a result of the last labor, or something else…

  40. Backeast

    August 5, 2008 12:48 am

    I’m in the minority here and possibly missing the point. I don’t see much wrong with choosing ivf to conceive whatever the reason. Many women actively plan and conceive babies when it’s convenient for them, taking into consideration work and school schedules, summer/spring vs. winter, and hundreds of other inane reasons.

    While there are many who truly need ivf to conceive, the fertility industry lives off of women who are simply too impatient to wait for mother nature to take it’s course. Angie is no different, just high profile. We’ll never know the real story. As to the use of the word “defective”, who cares? It’s a made up PR story. My skin is pretty thick after five years of infertility hell, so color me defective.

  41. Lindsay

    August 12, 2008 2:20 pm

    When I was on vaca a few weeks ago, I was surrounded by the tabloids, including the “IT WAS IN VITRO” one. I get that I wasn’t reading some beacon of truth, but I was rolling my eyes about the “facts” in the story…especially how they implant embryos into the uterus. That was cute.

  42. myrtle

    January 29, 2009 5:23 am

    I found this link about the # of IVFs tries and it drove me mad. I can’t believe that NPR would advertise this load of crap:

    The comment section was closed on that story so I couldn’t go off on it. As someone who has been devastated emotionally and financially by these procedures and who doesn’t know what possible side-effects treatments and medications might have in the long term, I am appalled by the uncritical way in which this was just posted on NPR!!! Also, although the advertised prices say 12-15k the cost of IVF is more than that for many people who have to do diagnostic and exploratory surgeries on their own dime! Agghhh!!!!!!
    It’s driving me nuts that there were octuplets delivered in California just a few days ago and the greedy fertility clinics will just make bank on hopeful, desperate women out there. It really drives me nuts!

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