It’s Performance Review Time, Fertility Industry!

It’s Performance Review Time, Fertility Industry!

Performance review time, already, for the fertility industry? Yes, it’s mid-October so let’s check in on the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) confab. This year it’s billed as a Scientific Congress and EXPO. Per usual, there are a few eyebrow raisers. I followed #ASRM2016 on Twitter over coffee this morning. (A decision made easier as it was raining buckets here in California). Before long I engaged, respectfully, in a few discussions. Below are some of the highlights and observations. You can find more on Healthcare in America, which published…

Biological Clock and the Capitalizing of Fertility Fears

Biological Clock and the Capitalizing of Fertility Fears

Moira Weigel’s essay in The Guardian, The foul reign of the biological clock, casts new light on a little explored but powerful cultural phenomenon. It also revealed the fertility industry’s long history of capitalizing on fertility fears, with women paying the price. Let’s start with the facts. The term ‘biological clock,’ Weigel explains, was originally coined by scientists to describe circadian rhythms, the processes that tell our bodies when we should rise, eat, and sleep. In the late 1970s, however, the term quickly became a fixture in popular lexicon —…

Conflict of Interest?

Conflict of Interest?

Most of us take non-profits and their causes at face value and assume the people leading the charge are straight arrows. This is not always the case.  The most recent example of things not quite being what they seem came from the recent CBS News investigation into the Wounded Warrior Project. Non-profits formed around diseases are also ending up in the hot seat. A few years back Susan G. Komen (formerly known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and originally as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) got…

HealthCARE vs. Health Business: True Fertility Medicine ‘Helpers’ Don’t Hide Statistics and Agendas

HealthCARE vs. Health Business: True Fertility Medicine ‘Helpers’ Don’t Hide Statistics and Agendas

It’s rare that male readers weigh in on the topic of fertility health and society’s response to the marketing of ‘fertility’ treatments. Such an occurrence introduced an added jolt to my morning coffee. More refreshing still were the “ah-has” that accompanied the insight-laden comment (a blog post unto itself really). Let’s annotate his comment further. Brian begins: Your blog reminds me of the importance of not letting hope replace reality. Immediately the famous quote from Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, popped to mind: “In the factory, we make cosmetics, in…

Fertility Industry’s Troubling History of Omission, Growth Over Health, Safety

Fertility Industry’s Troubling History of Omission, Growth Over Health, Safety

In a powerful new essay, Questioning the Cult of Repro Tech, health advocate and author Miriam Zoll reveals little publicized details behind today’s now seemingly ubiquitous fertility procedure: in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Her research and writing make for a compelling read.  Zoll raises important questions about bioethics and the way fertility medicine is marketed and dispensed. This is yet another strong case for greater scrutiny around the practices of the fast-growing fertility industry. Among the takeaways: from its earliest days the scientists and developers of fertility medicine have systematically downplayed…

Why Do We Look the Other Way On IVF Addiction?

Why Do We Look the Other Way On IVF Addiction?

  My reaction to the picture distributed by the fertility clinic was shock. Plain and simple. In fact, my stomach turned queasy while my mind tried to process just what exactly I was looking at. The first word that popped to mind: Addiction The breathless articles, though, on what led to the now ‘viral’ photograph — on the TODAY Parents website and on other news and feature sites — never mentioned addiction and that’s troubling in and of itself. Instead the TODAY article noted: The photo features a baby girl…

Fertility Industry Conning Patients?

Fertility Industry Conning Patients?

Doctor, con and IVF are not words you want to see in the same sentence. Yet that’s what you’ll find in this strongly worded piece written by Professor Robert Winston, author of a new guide on fertility.  Winston’s scathing analysis of his brethren and the fertility industry that has grown up around treatments is all the more noteworthy since he was a pioneer of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Profiteering and exploitation are not what we usually associate with those who take the Hippocratic oath. Rather we’ve been socialized to view…

Oh, Betty! I So Get You

Oh, Betty! I So Get You

“I don’t want you to think I’m a quitter. I’ve fought for plenty in my life. That’s how I know when it’s over. To know when to move on…” The dialogue from Mad Men this week struck like a thunder clap. I nodded instinctively. While cancer is the elephant in the room for Betty, I couldn’t help but see parallels for infertility. Her rationale is what I came to understand a decade ago: harsh reality is better than false hope. Betty’s cool Zen-like acceptance felt familiar. It is clearly not…

The Infertility Stories No One Advertises

The Infertility Stories No One Advertises

Editor’s Note: Updates (10/26) included below from BBC Health. It’s been more than a month since the op-ed prompted by failed infertility treatments, “Selling the Fertility Fantasy,” ran in The New York Times. Infertility stories that don’t end in a baby don’t grab headlines. But this one did. It reverberated across the infertility blogosphere to the bioethics and media communities, as well as the cancer community. For many who had never stepped foot in a reproductive endocrinology practice the 70% failure rate per ART cycle from the latest CDC report and…