Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shut Up, NBC

I've written before about how frustrating being young and infertile can be. Doctors, fellow infertiles, and the general public seem very quick to dismiss fertility concerns in someone my age because I'm under 30. I have plenty of time to get pregnant before hitting menopause, so why am I so worried?

Given this, you can imagine how incensed I am by this report on NBC Nightly News. Go on, read it. I'll wait.

Apparently women in my generation are jumping into the fertility treatments game just because we want to be pregnant RIGHT NOW. We're alarmists who don't care that procedures like IVF cost tens of thousands of dollars. Reading between the lines, we're spoiled, impatient brats who just need to chill out. Maybe we should take a vacation or just get drunk and have sex with our husbands one night!

Gah. Aside from the fact that this article is demeaning to any twenty-something woman who has a legitimate fertility concern (which, hello, the woman in this story DOES IN FACT HAVE in spite of the fact that her anovulatory cycles are buried at the very end of the segment) it completely misses the fucking point. Do doctors bear absolutely no responsibility for "unnecessary" fertility treatments? Isn't it the job of the medical professional in these situations to be the voice of reason if a patient is jumping the infertility gun too soon? What kind of ethical doctor would perform IVF on a couple who doesn't need it?

Here's the thing--yes, I do think that there are a lot of women who get worried about infertility long before they should. I have no doubt that some of them seek out fertility treatments before they're appropriate. However, the burden is on the doctors in these situations to educate these couples about why they don't need ART yet. The doctor is the one who has the experience and expertise to know when fertility treatments are and aren't appropriate. If NBC's "one in four" women (and let me tell you, I'll believe that statistic when RESOLVE backs it up) my age are inappropriately seeking infertility treatments, where are the doctors who are performing these procedures? Why aren't they being accused of acting prematurely? Why don't they have a single interview with a patient who didn't need IVF or with the doctor who performed the procedure? I'll tell you why--blaming the young, scared couple who have understably bought into the millions of dollars worth of advertising hype that reproductive endocrinology clinics and fertility centers pay for every year is easier. It's more convenient. Blame the kids who have too much money and not enough patience.

I'm writing a letter to NBC. There is absolutely a story here, but it's not the one they've chosen to report.

***EDITED TO ADD*** So, I wrote an e-mail to the reporter who wrote this story, and she responded very quickly. I won't copy and paste the e-mail, but in a nutshell, she agreed that there's a story to be told about the doctors who are performing these unnecessary fertility treatments. Soooo... Okay then. I'm still not happy about tonight's story, but I'm encouraged that the person who was responsible for reporting it is willing to take constructive criticism and might be interested in doing a follow-up piece.


Andy said...

Good for you for writing an email stating your opinion. I'm glad she listened and wrote you back. I don't think many people do that, so it's nice to know someone out there does.

Kimberly said...

If there was a thumbs up smiley on blogger, I would put it here.

So, will there be another story?

stacey said...

What a crappy story. I'm glad the writer listened to what you had to say, though.

C said...

Not sure if there'll be another story, Kissy, though she did say that it was something that the Today Show might be interested in.

aah0424 said...

I wrote an e-mail to her and the NBC Nightly News, but never heard back from either. I'm glad you did! I suspect they may have gotten a ton of e-mail and couldn't write back to everyone. I am an avid ABC News watcher, so you'll have to let us know if they wind up doing a follow up story.

The Town Criers said...

You kick-ass that you emailed the reporter!