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…

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…

The Story Behind The New York Times Op-Ed: Selling the Fantasy of Fertility

The Story Behind The New York Times Op-Ed: Selling the Fantasy of Fertility

If you’ve read one breathless headline in popular media about the latest and greatest breakthroughs in fertility medicine you’ve read them all. Articles written about reproductive medicine routinely characterize assisted reproductive technologies (I.U.I, I.V.F., donor eggs, egg freezing and surrogacy) as a “sure thing” when, it turns out, close to 80 percent of the cycles performed annually around the world fail. It took some digging (since clinics are reluctant if not downright misleading about success rates), but the facts are spelled out on the European Society for Human Reproduction and…

Why Do We Pretend Away Infertility?

Why Do We Pretend Away Infertility?

Humans don’t do well with emotional discomfort of any kind. This has been proven time and time again, but no more so than with infertility. It can be traumatizing on many levels, but I guess I didn’t realize how difficult an infertility diagnosis can be on other people. They just do not want to see it, hear it or talk about it. They prefer to pretend it away. Are you cured? Boy, I sure hope so because that means I can finally relax. This universal sigh of relief was made…

If You Think You’ve Changed, Just Wait

If You Think You’ve Changed, Just Wait

“At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.” -Daniel T. Gilbert, Harvard Psychologist How good are you at predicting who you will become? If you’re like most people you’ll underestimate how much change awaits you. This conclusion was born out in a research paper published in Science and covered in a recent New York Times piece, titled, “Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be.” Researchers measured the personalities, values, and preferences of more than 19,000 people who ranged in…

You’re Welcome, Gene Pool!

You’re Welcome, Gene Pool!

We homo sapiens have a love affair with our DNA. How else can you explain our fascination with our genes? More than a few industries have formed around exploring, propagating and tracking our DNA. While most humans are focused on ensuring their DNA’s future, those of us who are unable (or elected not) to procreate can only look back. The junior genealogists among us can delve into our past using all sorts of extraordinary new tools. The image here shows the migration route that my father’s DNA took some 60,000 years ago from Africa into Ireland….

The Invisibleness of Infertility: To Pass or Not to Pass?

The Invisibleness of Infertility: To Pass or Not to Pass?

This is a story about the correlation of infertility and allergies. Each Wednesday for a year I dutifully showed up at my local allergy office to get three painful shots. The nurse plunged a syringe containing a cocktail of pollens, trees and grasses into my right arm. In the top left upper arm she injected a shot for mold, dust and dust mites. Below it, a syringe mixed with cat and dog dander punctured my skin and sometimes (damn!) hit muscle. I was a tween when I first started got…

Will It Be Fate or Destiny?

Will It Be Fate or Destiny?

The steady falling autumn rain this past Saturday did not dampen my spirits one iota. One fleece, one windbreaker and a cheap hooded plastic poncho combined to keep me warm and dry. Amid the throngs, the thousands of students and alumni alike making their way into Ann Arbor’s “Big House” for Homecoming, I was transported decades back to when I was a senior on campus. It was a time of promise. A period of unknowns — intoxicating, energizing and more than a little terrifying with endless possibilities. As I walked into the noisy Michigan Stadium with 110,000…

Let’s Play Diagnose that “Mom” Neurosis

Let’s Play Diagnose that “Mom” Neurosis

I’m no psychologist, but even we lay people can’t miss the signs — everywhere it seems –pointing to the need for a little couch time. For whom, you ask? Those who insist on wrapping themselves in all things MOM. When the mom-meter started going into the red zone a few years ago (and revved into overdrive during this past political season), it moved from annoying to downright concerning. Silly me. I’d kinda sorta hoped that by end of the last decade we’d be over the grand love affair, the perpetual state of Mom/Mum, Mommy/Mummy self-adoration. Seriously is there any other…

You’re The Author of Your Own Life

You’re The Author of Your Own Life

The life as a book metaphor isn’t new, but it does provide a novel way to infuse some creative license and fresh thinking into what can sometimes feel like stuff happening around and to you. I encourage those wrestling with what comes next to embrace the idea of becoming the author of your own life. At the same time you’re contemplating your own existence and character development, you can also observe more closely those around you and their life story construction. It’s never been easier to do what with all the online forums, blogs…