There has been another article about infertility published in The New York Times, this time a first person account by a woman who went through several miscarriages. At first as I read the piece I thought: perfect. An acclaimed novelist writing about her experience with infertility! How can this be bad?
But somehow, the article reinforced the agenda we’ve seen with The New York Times already. (Click here for a refresher.)
The author, Charlotte Bacon, apparently easily gave birth to her first baby at 35 but before she had her second child, she suffered two losses and had to pursue fertility treatments. (I’m guessing: she says when she was 41, through “a stark amalgam of science, chilly doctors and who knows what measure of luck my daughter arrived, strong, sweet and fully loved.”)
Then, during a trip to Bhutan, Ms. Bacon goes to a fertility temple called Chimi and prays to have another child.
Five months later, she’s pregnant at the age of 44 with a healthy baby boy.
The story is beautifully written. Ms. Bacon tells her tale well, and is a sympathetic narrator.
My problem is not with her story so much as with her profile. Again, someone faced with infertility in The New York Times:
1. Has plenty of discretionary income. Between the trip to Bhutan (well out of the reach financially for most people) and this statement (“I don’t generally pray, much less to fertility goddesses. I don’t fall to my knees for anyone or anything, except a reliable nanny.”), I’m assuming that Ms. Bacon and her husband are fairly well-off. Maybe that IS a wrong guess. But nothing in the article contradicts this impression.
2. Decides on a whim that they’d like another child. “A friend calls these unexpected additions ‘martini babies’, yet I can’t even blame alcohol.”
I don’t know. I’m working on my big secret project and it’s making me wonder why some people have so many resources and the majority of others barely stay afloat.
It’s not just the 1% who read The New York Times, just like it’s not just the 1% who are infertile. 1 in 8 of us of child-bearing age in the United States is infertile. (Resolve) The average price of one IVF treatment cycle in the US is $13,774 and American facilities only met one quarter of the estimated demand for fertility treatment (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology). And it’s no wonder: the average income of a household in the US? $46,500 (Wikipedia) which means that an IVF cycle would cost the average American household 29% of its yearly income PRETAX!! We all know how crappy insurance coverage is of infertility treatment. (And feel free to share your own experience below.)
I really would like to see The New York Times cover one of the 75% of Americans who can’t afford infertility treatments. Don’t make it a lifestyle story, fine. We know our boring non-1% lives are ineligible for that kind of treatment. But write about us in the health section or the news section.
Do you agree? Or have I gone all Marxist on you 😉