Bioethicists in U.S. and Australia Call for Fertility Industry Regulation, More Transparency

Bioethicists in U.S. and Australia Call for Fertility Industry Regulation, More Transparency

When a former member of the ethics committee for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) calls for fertility industry regulation we should sit up and pay attention. Earlier this month George Annas, a Boston University School of Public Health professor and chair of health law, wrote a blistering opinion piece, It’s Time to Regulate the Fertility Industry, to combat what he sees as a fertility industry run amok. While he acknowledges that some people have been helped to have children they could not otherwise have, we can no longer…

WIRED Reframes Egg Freezing Debate

WIRED Reframes Egg Freezing Debate

Egg freezing inadvertently gave birth to a much bigger set of conversations. It began when the business and technology press turned its sights on the topic prompted by news from Apple and Facebook. Until just recently,  any reproductive medicine coverage had been relegated to health, bioethics and women’s media outlets. The move to a much bigger stage is due in large part to the fearless health and human rights advocate and educator Miriam Zoll. She has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to research, synthesize and share many otherwise hard…

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…

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…