Keeping It Real

Oh to have the charm and confidence that Jennifer Lawrence exhibited this past week as she tripped and then recovered on her way to accepting the Oscar for Best Actress.

I marveled at the grittiness she showed in Winter’s Bone. I admired her stoicism and determination as Katniss in The Hunger Games, and I became a bona fide fan watching her light up the screen in Silver Lining’s Playbook. Her best performance, hands down, though was the press conference after securing her Oscar. 

Jennifer kept it real and reminded me that as often as I err on the side of biting my tongue, every once in a while we need to say what’s really on our minds. So here goes:

Dr. Nancy Snyderman: I caught your recent NBC Nightly News segment … where did you get that medical degree again? A mail-in catalog? I’m no Chief Medical Editor, but even I know that when reporting on IVF it’s important to fact check and get your terms right. While you were busy gushing about the latest science in embryo watching (in a weirdly Peeping Tom sort of way) you voiced over, incorrectly, a reference to “implanting” embryos during an IVF procedure. After 30 years of IVF there’s no excuse for you (or your reporting staff) not to know this medical terminology. Let me set y’all straight, embryos are “transferred” — it’s up to Mother Nature whether they implant or not.

And while we’re offering constructive criticism about your reporting, next time try to get more balance in your piece. This new embryo technology is experimental and in limited use without much understanding about how it influences the outcome. What was the news value again (other than making the procedure more expensive)? As for expense, why didn’t you offer up a range for what an actual IVF cycle costs? It’s easy to get an average ($12,000 to $15,000 — or more depending on a variety of contributing factors and associated medications, rarely covered by health insurance).

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And, while you were busy making sure to get the IVF twin babies in your money shot, why didn’t you take the time to mention the percentage of IVF treatments that fail, and how little is still understood about what leads to successful conception and pregnancy? You would do all viewers a service by not sugar coating what’s actually involved.  Next time, Dr. Nancy, keep it real.

That leads me to a New York based non-profit, the Seleni Institute, an organization that IS taking a more balance approach to the topic of fertility and the impact it can have on women’s emotional well being. Kudos to the health reporting team for, yes, keeping it real. I was honored to be among the women who contributed to the launch of the foundation’s new website. You can read my piece, Why I left the fertility treatment roller coaster and where I found my place in a motherhood-mad world here.

Also in the keeping it real file this week, a shout out to Karen Malone Wright and Laura LaVoie for their work on a terrific website call TheNotMom.com. In a recent blogger profile Q&A with Laura, I realized just how far we’ve come in creating a community for women who are not mothers to congregate, communicate and celebrate all of our contributions.  I’ll be returning the favor with Karen and Laura, and feature them in an upcoming blog post as well as interview Irina Vodar, a documentary producer who is putting together a proposal for a film on infertility. Lots to share on that in the coming weeks. March will also bring me together again with the fabulous Lisa Manterfield and later this spring, I’ll get to see Klara on the Dalmation coast.

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What are you doing to keep it real?