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 no longer feel the need to hide nor compartmentalize my life. This week gave me a chance to not only bring my names together but to bridge my professional and personal life. How? News that Apple and Facebook announced plans to cover egg freezing necessitated a reality check. Over the years I have become acquainted with a number of business reporters and editors. This weekend I sat down to write an opinion piece about what’s actually involved in fertility medicine and pitched it on Monday to the business press.

You can read the full piece here on FORTUNE.  I’m also in discussions with a reporter from WIRED magazine. The tide, it seems, is turning. We are moving away from the fixed narrative that all treatments lead to success. It is my sincere hope that with added transparency and with more in-depth, reality-based reporting, a new generation of women will be better informed. It’s gratifying to see under-reported facts and treatment realities getting scrutiny.

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8 thoughts on “Worlds Collide (In a Good Way)

  1. Once again you’ve hit it out of the park! I’m so glad that you had the vision (and the contacts) to get this out to the mainstream media. You, m’am, are fan-freaking-tastic!

    I’ll admit that I initially read the article without knowing you wrote it and found myself agreeing with every word. About half way through I thought it sounded familiar, and when I read the blurb at the end I had a Homer Simpson-esque “D’oh!” moment. It’s been one heck of a week…..

  2. Bravo Pamela!!! Well said!!

  3. I have to agree wholeheartedly with Kinsey. It is fantastic that you have the contacts to be able to get your voice out, to present some cold hard facts, and to talk about why clinics are promoting this. Good for you for combining your two worlds – and in Fortune no less!

  4. I was thrilled to see your byline in Fortune!! And of course, it’s not just the clinics that benefit from this… so do Apple & Facebook, when their young female employees postpone pregnancy, thinking they can have kids later now. They may be in for a sad surprise. :(

    The one positive that I see from all this is that more people are becoming aware of these issues and debating how, when & why these technologies can & should be used. I flagged a Globe & Mail article in my blog last week, which speculated that “infertility treatment may be the new maternity leave” in terms of workplace benefits. Whether that’s good or bad is debatable — but I was intrigued by the point made that infertility & pregnancy loss have a huge unrecognized impact on the workplace. I’m glad we are starting to recognize that & talk about it.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/life-at-work/infertility-treatment-is-the-new-maternity-leave/article21114278

  5. WELL SAID indeed, Pamela! I’m glad you have the contacts to be able to post an article like this.

  6. Pamela Tsigdinos

    Thanks, all! I continue to monitor the stories on egg freezing since for the first time fertility treatments and what they entail are on a much bigger stage. To wit, this ELLE story, which led me to comment (pasted below).
    http://www.elle.com/life-love/society-career/egg-freezing

    ~~~
    Thank you, ELLE, for providing a blow by blow account of what’s involved. In service to your readers, I must take issue with this statement by Dr. Hodes-Wertz:. “Having more access to the procedure will help thousands of women avoid heartache and infertility struggles.”

    Dr. Hodes-Wertz’s statement implies that all fertility treatments work if embarked upon young enough. As all ob/gyn and reproductive endocrinologists and scientists well know biology is not so cut and dry. I know women in their 20s who attempted and failed with fertility treatments. My half dozen IUIs started at 33 followed by more aggressive ICSI IVF cycles with both fresh and frozen embryo transfers — with highly graded embryos. All procedures took place before I turned 40. All failed to produce a successful pregnancy. My experience is far from unique. As the ESHRE data shows of the 1.5 million IVF cycles attempted each year 1.2 million fail. http://www.eshre.eu/Guidelines-and-Legal/ART-fact-sheet.aspx

    ICSI IVF is phase two of egg freezing, which carries its own risks. Studies have shown that this particular procedure has been linked to increased associated risks of birth anomalies. [Australian study 2012]

    There is nothing low-risk about any of these procedures when high expectations are attached to them. Here are links to studies that describe the emotional toll of failed treatments. http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/08/13184349-fertility-treatments-may-put-women-at-risk-for-ptsd-symptoms-study-suggests?lite

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/27/us-ivf-depression-idUSBRE85Q19120120627

    Perhaps you can do a follow-up story with women who have experienced the less reported but majority outcomes of fertility medicine.

  7. congrats Pamela!! How exciting. Great piece. Hope it works out with WIRED. That would be awesome!

  8. Also, I really, really appreciate articles like this coming out because when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy, I was constantly told “you should just freeze your eggs now”. First, I was already highly traumatized from having invasive cancer AND have an organ removed; I have no idea why people thought I could deal with also having another medical procedure to remove my eggs. But, no one seemed to think about the expense I’d have to bear just to have some eggs in reserve for the day I potentially wanted a biological child. I did look at some information online about it, but decided the procedure sounded awful and the cost was too much. I have no zero regrets about not doing it.

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