Have a Story to Tell? #UnmaskingIVF

Have a Story to Tell? #UnmaskingIVF

One story will forever mark a turning point for me. It ran June 10, 2008 so that date now has special significance. It’s the day I crossed over from a blogger writing under a pseudonym to my reveal on The New York Times homepage (yeah, I know, it still blows my mind, too). In the nine years since I’ve had the good fortune to connect with many amazing women and men who have generously shared their stories. This year, June 10 also marks the debut of a new project —…

Fertility Treatment Cancer Links, Rethinking IVF Funding

Fertility Treatment Cancer Links, Rethinking IVF Funding

Fertility treatment, IVF and third-party reproduction have been in the headlines the past few weeks. Following is a recap. The reporting, I think you’ll agree, was particularly revealing and thought-provoking. As always, welcome your thoughts. Fertility Treatment and Cancer You never want to see the words fertility treatment and breast cancer in the same headline, but there it was this week: Fertility Treatments May Up Breast Cancer Risk That was just one of a few reports following a study released in the journal Breast Cancer Research. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet…

Did the Fertility Industry Underwrite Latest IVF Study?

Did the Fertility Industry Underwrite Latest IVF Study?

A new IVF study caught my attention just before powering down for Christmas. As much as I wanted to coast into the holidays and give my blog a rest, I couldn’t get this headline in The New York Times out of my head: With In Vitro Fertilization, Persistence Pays Off ‘Pays off’ that’s a nice play on words, isn’t it? IVF persistence pays off for whom? Fertility clinic owners and the pharmaceutical reps selling IVF cycles, that’s for darned sure. As I mused on it further it occurred to me…

Not Brought To You By Big Pharma Or Profit-Driven Fertility Clinics

Not Brought To You By Big Pharma Or Profit-Driven Fertility Clinics

In a Telegraph newspaper column, It’s adults, not teens, who need a sex talk, UK journalist Bryony Gordon describes a friend who runs a fertility clinic in central London who is: …slack-jawed with amazement at all the highly educated, highly paid, highly functioning couples who pass through her doors every day with only the most basic notion of reproduction. ‘People honestly think IVF is a cure-all!’ she squealed the other day. ‘I want to shake them! I want to say, ‘Do you know what it involves? Do you know how…

Worlds Collide (In a Good Way)

Worlds Collide (In a Good Way)

  There are pros and cons to having two personas. For my entire career in the auto and tech worlds my business cards and email signatures have read Pamela Mahoney. I’m rather attached to my given name and, let’s face it, it’s a lot less intimidating to spell or pronounce than my married name Pamela Tsigdinos (Sig-din-us). In the days when I was coming to terms with, well, you know the story, it was something of a relief to have two identities. That was then and this is now. I…

When Did Normal Aging Become an Infertility Condition?

When Did Normal Aging Become an Infertility Condition?

Come again? Did I read that wrong? Hasn’t aging always been synonymous with losing fertility? Menopause, anyone? Seems odd to call out normal aging as though it’s a disease (infertility) or a condition that needs to be treated with procedures. In fact, the bigger question is why are women waiting until the age of menopause to try to have children? The belief (hubris even) that humans can outsmart mother nature is fostering a volatile environment with lots of money being exchanged — all for magical thinking. To make a play…

Customers or Patients? What Happens When Doctors See Markets Not People

Customers or Patients? What Happens When Doctors See Markets Not People

This week marks a year since Miriam Zoll and I authored The New York Times op-ed “Selling the Fantasy of Fertility.”  The piece, which has since been nominated for a 2014 EMMA Exceptional Merit in Media Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus, had a wide reach and generated lots of discussion about the unregulated “fertility” industry. Our op-ed also raised questions about whether doctors and scientists, joined by entrepreneurial business partners, were putting profits ahead of the well-being of those purchasing expensive, sometimes experimental medical services. There is a lot of…

Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?

Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?

It’s past 10 am on a Thursday. I’m writing this blog post in bed. Acceptable or unacceptable? On any typical Thursday my answer would be unacceptable.  Not allowed, missy!  However, I awoke this morning with stitches and pain emanating from my lower left calf.  I softly adjusted my position and gave myself permission to take it easy. This shift minimized the pressure on the troublesome limb — the one that was the focus of a three-hour Mohs surgery yesterday. The stitches will be in for two weeks. All that will…

With ‘Fertility’ Businesses Booming, Is Now the Time to Go Long on Kleenex?

With ‘Fertility’ Businesses Booming, Is Now the Time to Go Long on Kleenex?

It’s no secret that I was unable to get pregnant during my prime child-bearing years. What I possess today (and didn’t have when I was 29 and just embarking on what became a prolonged medical mystery tour) is a healthy skepticism mixed with a dose of pragmatism. My inability to succeed with Mother Nature, and my direct experience with the deep heartbreak that accompanied promising but failed reproductive medicine makes me highly sympathetic to the plight of infertile couples and those who want to expand their families. I remember very…

When Unexplained is the Modifier Assigned To Your Infertility

When Unexplained is the Modifier Assigned To Your Infertility

I’m more convinced than ever that women born between 1960 and 1970 came of age at a particularly weird time fertility-wise. Think about it. In 1960 the birth control pill was made commercially available for the first time, and by the time we were wrapping our heads around how babies were made (or not if on the Pill), in 1978 knowledge about what was reproductively possible changed with the delivery of the first “test tube” baby conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Among my cohort, in the…