Looking Out for Our Sisters In a World of False Fertility Claims

While my gray roots benefited from a rich brunette color drenching in a new hair salon recently a younger stylist handed me a glass of champagne. She was not my usual go-to hair expert so there was the usual get-to-know-you chitchat. (Yes, I decided to splurge a bit this time around since it was the eve of my 14th anniversary to Mr. T.)

It wasn’t long before that question turned up. I wasn’t in the frame of mind to go into details, so I responded simply: “unfortunately, my husband and I weren’t able to have children.” Fortunately, this line of discussion was interrupted because it was time for a foot bath, a luxurious indulgence as my new and improved hair color set in.

My brain, however, is buzzing today on the complexity of fertility and society, which is why I’d like to highlight a few links to posts and articles gathered this past week. Much as I wish they were required reading for women who aren’t yet worried about gray hair, I share them here in the hopes that the search engines and those of you who follow this blog will pass them along. Among the key messages contained in these links:

  •  Let’s not forget our emotional well being when we’re swept up in the “you’re not trying hard enough” refrain that surrounds us.
  • Society needs a reset on its misguided conventional wisdom that all infertility is cure-able. Despite marketing claims to the contrary many who pursue fertility treatment don’t succeed.
  • Feminism isn’t the reason women like me (and many others like me) don’t have children.
  • Egg freezing is far from a sure thing; buyer beware!
  • New studies point to health risks among artificially conceived infants.
  • There’s a biological clock for men, too.
READ  Playing Against Type

Now, pour a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and take a spin around the Internet with me.

First up, a blog post I wrote for the Seleni Insitute: Ignoring Your Inner Child During Infertility.

From Tanya Selvaratnam, author of a new book The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock, you’ll find this opinion piece for CNN: Opinion: Women don’t need any more Big Lies

Jody Day featured a guest post on egg freezing penned by Miriam Zoll: The Egg Freezing Scam?

Miriam has been busy lately! More of her journalistic work can also be be found on Reporting on Health: Stillbirths and Infant Health Risks Higher in California’s Artificially Conceived Infants

Also on the topic of reproductive health, NBC News had this report: Older Dads at Risk of Passing Along Mental Disorders, Study Says.

As always, welcome your thoughts and links to other important new truth telling around fertility. Consider it a public service for the young women and men who can benefit from our collective wisdom.

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13 thoughts on “Looking Out for Our Sisters In a World of False Fertility Claims

  1. This is a great collection of writings, Pamela. I find it very frustrating that there is an assumption that infertility is curable (IVF, egg freezing, or … just adopt, etc). And that when it isn’t, it must have been our fault (for wanting careers, husbands, not understanding biological clocks, believing the hype, etc).

    I also particularly liked your piece about being kind to yourself. The thing that helped me was actually visualising a young Mali, distressed and afraid. I’d (mentally) comfort and hug the young Mali, realising that old Mali needed that comfort too. It seems so trivial, but it made a huge difference in our I managed to deal with the emotions of loss, fear, and shame.

    1. Thanks, Mali. You’ve been firing up some really important discussions on your blog. Appreciate all the lessons and wisdom you impart!

  2. dear Pamela,
    first of all: congratulations for your 14th anniversary! Wishing all the best to both of you.

    ***
    I noticed first grey hair last year. Not that I am happy to have them. But it is kind of relief – I am officially in the age when society doesn’t expect having a child any more. So awkward questions – when will you have a child? – aren’t there any more. Good.

    Thank you for the links… I will read them after long Sunday walk through the forest.

    lots of love,

  3. Thanks for the links, Pamela — some I had already seen & some I had not. Re: the biological clock for men, Elizabeth Renzetti had a funny piece in this weekend’s Globe & Mail, in which she imagines the societal implications. Kind of reminded me of Gloria Steinem’s essay about if men had periods. ;) I linked to it in my own blog, but here’s a direct link:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/columnists/maybe-your-biological-clocks-are-doing-the-ticking-men/article17185466/

    1. Thanks for the Gloria Steinem essay reminder (I remember when it first ran!) and the link, Lori. You’re a terrific curator of news and blog pieces.

  4. Pamela,
    Thank you so much for this and for your continued work and inspiration to me. My blog Ever Upward is about my journey but also really just about life (www.everupward.org). I’m also finishing up my first book but I’d be honored for any feedback or direction.
    Thanks again, Justine

    1. Glad you find these posts and discussions useful, Justine. Will check out your blog.

  5. THANKS for this, Pamela! I’ve shared it in FB. CONGRATS on your 14th anniversary! Wishing you many more lovely memories!

  6. My sister and I had a rip-roaring email discussion about that “older dads” study. She (the academic) made a brilliant point: the article summarizing the study reads as if the only conceivable drawback to older fatherhood is genetic (rather than being attributable to the quality of PARENTING), while acknowledging that women’s parenting might be a factor in children’s outcomes. (We have a particularly keen interest in this point because our father went on to have two children in his 50s; he had the first three, including us, in his 30s. And let me put it kindly: he does not have the energy for those kids that he did for us, and he could use it.) I’m no shade of feminist, but the suggested gender disparity is simply laughable. One imagines a nervous author, whose editor just had his first child at 46…

    1. Sounds like quite the email exchange! Knowing you and your passion, I’m guessing you and your sister have a history of spirited discussions.

  7. technology news

    technology news

    Looking Out for Our Sisters In a World of False Fertility Claims | Silent Sorority

  8. danko

    very nice blog, i have enjoyed to write all your articles… hope you will keep it alive as long as it possible…
    cheers from croatia from one infertily couple….

  9. […] as helpers. Well said! As I first mentioned in an op-ed and blog post two years ago — and often since — objective, independent advice from health professionals in the reproductive endocrinology […]

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