New York Times: Please Cover the Other 99% of Infertility Patients

The New York Times wrote yet another article marginalizing those who are going through infertility. This, I am sure, will be a surprise to no one.

In this column for the Style section, Jenny Anderson points out, once again for the cheap seats in the back, that infuriating and factually irresponsible previous New York Times article about the “rise” in patients terminating one twin. The article had absolutely no evidence that this procedure was actually on the rise, but certainly insinuated that it was a trend.

For me, the most maddening part of the article was this quote:

Discussion about the genetics and ethics of managing multiples is on the rise. The Times recently explored the fascinating and complex issue of reductions — reducing triplets to twins or twins to a single baby — in this Sunday Magazine piece, which I could not put down. Studies like this reinvigorate the debate and reveal how fast technology is evolving.

You mean: discussion at YOUR paper about the genetics and ethics of managing multiples is on the rise. You know what’s NOT on the rise? Discussion in your paper about why INFERTILITY is on the rise, among women of ALL age groups and incomes and ethnicities.

I understand that the Style section tries to appeal to New Yorkers of the highest income brackets: they appeal to the top 1% (to borrow Occupy terminology) and assume that the rest of us yokels will be aspirational enough to read their coverage too. Fine. So why do many articles about infertility appear in the style section? Infertility is a disease.

Luckily, we have Redbook to balance out this crappy coverage. I really have to give Redbook lots of props for bravery for being the first publication (that I know of) to partner with Resolve and give a voice to the 7.3 million of Americans suffering with infertility. And the coverage was both factual and anecdotal and relatable.

If you haven’t bought this month’s Redbook already (and you really, really should), here are some highlights:

Indeed in a survey of couples having difficulty conceieving, conducted by the pharmaceutical company Merck, 61% of respondents hid their infertility from family and friends. Nearly half didn’t even tell their mothers.

This really surprised me. I had no idea so many people didn’t even tell their mothers!

Only seven states require insurers to cover at least part of infertility treatment. “It’s still beyond the means of most Americans,” says Alice Domar, Ph.D, executive director for the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF. “We need to create a lot of noise to get more coverage.”


And, to answer the many, many comments on each article about infertility generated by each New York Times article about “just adopting”:

Why don’t you adopt? “It’s a wonderful option, but there’s a presumption that it should fall on the shoulders of infertile women,” says Keiko Zoll, 29, of Salem, MA. “When people ask, ‘Why don’t you adopt?’ I’m like, ‘Why don’t you?”

Keiko, you rule!

One last point to The New York Times: there are hundreds and hundreds of stories in the naked “cities” of the OBGyns’ offices you could cover. Instead of a millionairess going through her fifth egg donation at age fifty, you could write about about the “average experience”, which is usually filled with incredible heartache, loss and sometimes triumph. All you have to do is go here.

For my full documentation of The New York Times‘ articles on infertility, go here.


Filed under Family, Infertility

16 responses to “New York Times: Please Cover the Other 99% of Infertility Patients

  1. Thank goodness for you! While I’ve read your post about the article, I hadn’t read the actual article. I tried today, and couldn’t get past the first page, let alone write about it. I mean really, wtf.

    And three cheers for Redbook!

  2. I felt sick reading about the reduction in twin-pregnancy! Why on earth do anyone transfer more than one embryo if multiples are not welcome. I will never understand that.

    • There is no evidence that this procedure happens but rarely for non-medical reasons (like the Mother’s life is in danger, etc). I hate how the NY Times is sensationalizing this non-issue. It’s smoke and mirrors from the real, mundane 99% cases of infertility.

      That being said, it does make one sick to think about. Which is probably why they are pushing this story: to get a reaction. It’s rather Rupert Murdoch of them, really.

      • Alright, I think I get it now.. they are writing this to get a reaction instead of writing about the more common and real cases out there. But still, the few percent that does it doesn’t make it acceptable in my opinion.. if it’s not like you mention for medical reasons. That’s more understandable.

  3. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row

    So…they want to portray the “average” IFfer as 1) being rich 2) having access to fabulous care 3) getting pregnant relatively easy and 4) choosing to reduce the pregnancy to a singleton for ease? Seriously. Oh, and then, presumably, immediately hire a nanny to take care of the baby.

    Dear lord.

  4. It makes me so sad that that are people out there that would terminate one of their twins for personal desires only, when so many of us would give anything to just be pregnant. These articles make me so mad.

    I wish they would find this somehow. Your critiques are incredible, and they deserve to see what it’s really like.

    I’m going to go picket their office. Anyone want to join me in NYC?

    • YES. #occupynytimes

      And thanks for the compliment. I almost feel like that offensive quote:

      “Discussion about the genetics and ethics of managing multiples is on the rise.”

      …is a mission statement of sorts. That seems to be what they continually discuss.

  5. Does the NYT really have nothing else to write about? And god forbid they talk to real people about their experiences. That might be boring and heartbreaking-certainly not sensational enough for their readers.

    We can’t win. We’re either crazy like Octomom or want designer babies instead of being content to accept the obvious message that god didn’t want us to reproduce. *eyeroll*

    • “And god forbid they actually talk to real people about their experiences. That might be boring and heartbreaking-certainly not sensational enough for their readers.”


  6. Esperanza

    I can’t believe I’m just commenting on this now. Sometimes reading posts on my iPhone late at night is not a good idea AT ALL.

    What can I do to get someone at the NYT to read this (and all your critiques)? Seriously?! They need to read this. They need to know. It’s so infuriating to think of how many people they reach and how skewed their coverage it. It makes me so mad.

    I’m so glad Redbook is stepping up and presenting some accurate information to the masses. At least we have one publication on our side.

    Thank you for writing this.

  7. Port of Indecision

    It’s just not good press to write about the normal women who scrimp and save to pay for IF treatment, or the women who fail, or any of the millions of other SANE infertility patients. No no – the fringes are always much more fascinating. It’s like the circus, with better writing.

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