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…

My Online Introduction to Louise Joy Brown

My Online Introduction to Louise Joy Brown

As I wrote in this new essay published on Medium, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the lives of Louise Joy Brown, now 37-years old and residing in Bristol, England, and mine finally intersected.Jessica Hepburn, noted UK author and blogger, was the one who brought us together in a blog post titled Test Tube Tales. Soon thereafter, Louise Joy Brown favorited this Tweet. .@JessicaPursuit @LouiseJoyBrown Awestruck by the reach of #infertility. Thank you Jessica for tying our #ivf stories together #FinallyHeard — Pamela M Tsigdinos (@PamelaJeanne) August…

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…

First We Get Really Uncomfortable…

First We Get Really Uncomfortable…

Life would be a whole lot more comfortable and easier to navigate if it unfolded neatly or predictably. Alas, that’s not the case for most of us. Mix in a contentious, complex topic (e.g. the inability to reproduce) and watch the discomfort rise. It’s understandable. Beyond the biological unpleasantness, there is upheaval to our sense of order and what’s the ‘right’ way to proceed — directly (for those living with infertility) and peripherally (for those made to think about it). Add a dash of conventional wisdom, a little religion, some…

IVF Rollercoaster: BBC Radio Show Callers Describe ‘Grueling, Painful, Isolating, Roll of Dice’

IVF Rollercoaster: BBC Radio Show Callers Describe ‘Grueling, Painful, Isolating, Roll of Dice’

Warning to those in a raw or vulnerable state: take caution listening to the interviews and discussions linked below.   As I come up on my seven-year anniversary of The New York Times piece, Facing Life Without Children When it Isn’t by Choice (June 10, 2008), I can’t help but be reflective. If you went back and asked 2008 Pamela what she hoped the New York Times health feature story would have led to seven years on, I have a hunch she’d be a bit disappointed with where society is…

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…

A Look Back At How We Got From There to Here in the Blogosphere

A Look Back At How We Got From There to Here in the Blogosphere

This past weeks’ events and recent reading, as if added to blender, poured forth some new insights. In the days and weeks leading up to a busy set of family festivities (June birthdays and both a niece and nephew’s high school graduations), I received several warning emails from GoDaddy informing me that my Coming2Terms blog — all 279 posts and 5,033 comments generated since February 2007 — would go up in smoke on June 25 if I didn’t find a way to move them from a product they were discontinuing…

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…

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…

Don’t Ignore…There’s More Than One Infertility Ending

Don’t Ignore…There’s More Than One Infertility Ending

Now that the shock, stigma and the ensuing hairball of emotions that infertility exploded on me has dissipated, I’m happy to report that with each year (nearly nine) post-treatment, life has become better than good. And, furthermore, my reproductive organs are thrilled, positively delighted, to be out of the limelight. It’s also a relief not to be wracked with shame, guilt or feelings of failure. It didn’t come easy, casting aside the infertility baggage, but these days I much prefer to focus on the non-reproductive aspects of my life and the freedom that comes with reinvention….