Got my hands full these days … won’t bore you with the details.
I did, though, want to share a few links. Can’t help but marvel at the coincidence of the timing here on few provocative pieces — all associated with family creation. Ah, to be free to conceive and start a family without nary a thought as to the complicated circumstances these women found themselves in…
- Forbes: Searching for My Donor Dad – Sperm, Identity and Me … a poignant story that I’m sure is far from isolated.
- New York Times: Her Body, My Baby … I know I’m late to the party here but this one set off some serious alarm bells when I first opened up the Sunday paper. What bummed me out most was that it gave those predisposed to think infertile couples are wacko more reason to cement that idea into place. I know the media industry is hard up to sell newspapers these days and drive traffic to their websites, but was inciting rancor among those who already have a hard time seeing eye to eye on this topic really necessary? As Kymberli and her readers pointed out, this is hardly the prototypical surrogacy story. And those photos? Yeah, they set the infertility world back a few centuries. For another take on the surrogacy path you can read thoughts from Jaymee.
- More Magazine … Christina wrote to tell me that the January issue contains a story about an infertile woman who after having two egg donor babies started a multi-million dollar egg bank. Haven’t had a chance to read the issue and there doesn’t seem to be an online link to the piece.
These should keep you busy pondering until I have more time to write and catch up on your blogs. Anyone want to offer up their two cents?
December 4, 2008 7:21 am
Is the first a tirade or thoughtful? I am really tired of reading tirades. (I know well-adjusted and mal-adjusted people from every possible family-building method!)
As to the NYT piece? Let’s see how much we can vilify anyone! Most people using surrogates are scrimping and saving to do it. The editors chose this piece and set up the page in such a way to maximize the controversy. The comments are some of the most hate-filled I’ve read in a long time. And people wonder why I find the NYT one of the worst rags ever. (I prefer the SF Chronicle and Washington Post – but for real, on the ground news, Wall Street Journal has, until now, been the most reliable.)
The third article in More magazine? I don’t follow that magazine so I don’t know much about how they choose things.
December 4, 2008 3:23 pm
It’s thoughtful and well written. There’s natural curiosity about finding out where we fit and what parts of us are genetically wired vs. acquired elsewhere. I’m fairly certain I’d want to know more if I were walking in her shoes.
December 4, 2008 7:00 pm
I read the NY Times article in the magazine on Sunday. Even my usually not interested husband read the whole article and had opinions on it. Mainly he didn’t like how surrogates were portrayed. It takes a lot to get my husband to comment on an article.
December 5, 2008 1:58 pm
I agree that the donor sperm article was thoughtful and well written. I can’t imagine what it must be like to yearn for the most basic of information about a parent.
The second article bothered me mostly because I couldn’t understand why the author felt that the constant references to her own wealth – the winters in Idaho, the Manhattan apt, the house in the Hamptons, the twice daily yoga sessions, etc. would not create a backlash against the main points of the story. And the photographs were like pouring kerosene over the entire thing. She basically ensured that only the tiniest percentage of readers could relate to her, and, in this time of financial hardship, ensured the complete alienation of the the vast majority of readers. As you say, she probably set societal empathy for those suffering with IF back quite a bit.
December 5, 2008 3:20 pm
You hit the nail on the head. I’m always conscious of increasing the divide. I work really hard to make sure that I’m relate-able not the outlier wherever possible.
December 5, 2008 4:08 pm
I just wanted to comment to let you know that I read your blog regularly through my Google Reader and have been diagnosed with pcos and am getting ready to undergo fertility treatments. I want to give back to the community that has encouraged me so much, so I started a blog of my own. I would love it if you would post my link on your site!
December 5, 2008 4:57 pm
Welcome, Kylene. I’m glad you’re sharing your story.
December 5, 2008 5:02 pm
I just read the NYT column and found it disturbing, especially the photographs with their jarring images of class and race. The writer didn’t initially create much sympathy even within this infertile reader. Yet as I clicked to the next page, and then the next, I felt that her writing took on a more gentle and considerate tone. Perhaps this speaks to a universal truth about IF: bitterness, anger, sometimes even petulance striving to become peace and resolution.
December 8, 2008 5:44 pm
Infertility definitely causes us to work the emotion spectrum…
December 5, 2008 6:14 pm
I thought the text of the article was pretty so-so. Mildly classist and patronizing. The author reminds me of my SIL – wanting sympathy because her over-privilege isn’t completely unilateral. People can’t relate to that. As for he photos: very, very bad.
December 5, 2008 8:59 pm
Re: the title — you & me both, PJ!! I have the NYT mag at home & only glanced at the first page, so I can’t offer up too many opinions yet. I’m torn, because I think these issues need coverage so badly… and anything written about ARTs is bound to be controversial in some way… but if you portray your story in an unsympathetic way…?
December 6, 2008 3:46 am
The More piece won’t be linked until the issue is out of date. The thing that bothered me was how the egg donor bank-founder dismissed her marriage, which seems to have been sacrificed in the great baby quest: “Thomas (subject of the article) attributes the split, in large part, to their protracted experience with infertility. “Having children became both a mutual goal and a consuming focus in our lives,” she says of the 10 year stretch. “Once we completed our family, we realized that without a joint goal to focus on, we had little in common.” Best (her husband) declined to comment for this story.
I wish we could hear what her husband had to say about all this. So many marriages where there was an egg-donor pregnancy seem to end in divorce. I think the infertility experience — even though it ended up in a family of two — made my marriage much closer — kind of like it’s us against the world. It’s odd how this woman’s experience turned out.
December 10, 2008 3:46 am
The national fertility month is coming up in April next year. I spent today looking at the stories of people who succeeded in their quest for a baby after numerous attempts. A couple gave birth after finding a phenomenal doctor who gave them IVF success on the fourth try. Another couple finally conceived naturally at 41 (British woman who tried IVF 16 times!). My family is likely to hear about these miracles and mention them to me with hope. I already explained to them that there will be no miracles. I also found the article on the 70 year old woman in India who gave birth to a baby. Geez, now everyone is going to think that infertility is self-inflicted- if your eggs are poor quality/abnormal/gone you can always just get yourself a “new one” and have your baby. Or you can adopt. Get on with it! Stop being a crybaby. On the upside, I’ll have till I am 70 to get comfortable with the idea of using an egg donor! I can already hear my damn doctor telling me – well now that the wonderful PGD test let you know that your eggs are bad, you can move on to the next step – egg donation without feeling like you left a stone unturned! Aghhhhhh!!!!!! Just when I think I am feeling better these “new IVF technologies” proffer unlimited promise. Tick-tock, tick-tock. If I had contemplated my future 10 years ago, perhaps my story would not feel so sad and hopeless to me. Or perhaps it would have the same outcome and a longer agony. …after reading the story about the goddess of destruction, I went to the beach and walked and listened to the water for two hours. I sculpted 5 mounds to symbolize my little embryos (listed on my PGD report from 1-5) and then with my hand I smoothed the area. When the doctor told me there was nothing to transfer, she simply read them as having extra, single and deleted. People say things happen for a reason, but I find those words to be cruel. The facts are cruel enough – I don’t want to hear that things were meant to be this way.