Tag Archives: New York Times

Take THAT, Mainstream Media!

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Have you read Mel’s takedown of The New York Times and their obit of the late, great Dr. Edwards? It’s pretty bad-ass.

The Grey Lady’s coverage of all things infertility is strangely skewed, as we know.

The good news? We don’t have to take it anymore.

Recently, there has been a very welcome influx of books and articles doing their best to demystify infertility and adoption.

Books:

Lori’s book, called The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption. came out last week. I’ll be participating in a book tour later this month but here’s a quick preview: this book deserves to be a classic in the parenting genre. Pragmatic and philosophical, it’s a roadmap and a how-to guide in one great book.

Leah’s book Single Infertile Female: Adventures in Love, Life, and Infertility came out this week. I will be reading on the plane to Berlin this week. Here’s the description:

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage.” That’s how the story goes, right? We all grow up hearing the same fairy tales, and imagining the same futures. But what happens when the future you have always pictured for yourself is ripped away before you ever even get the chance to pursue it?

Pretty gripping right? Leah’s book has been burning up the Amazon charts, and I can’t wait to read it.

In the works: Kathy mentioned on my Too Many Fish to Fry Facebook page that she is working on a memoir about her experience with neonatal loss and secondary infertility. This is much-needed because there is so little out there for those going through secondary infertility. (See the discussion on my FB page for the unique challenges facing those going through secondary infertility over there…)

Non-Infertility Books by Infertility Writers:

Measure of Love, from Melissa Ford. I’m also going to be reading this on the plane to Berlin. I loved her first book Life From Scratch (think Jane Austen for the 21st Century) and this is its sequel.

Minotaur, from April Cross. April just published this book, the first in a proposed series featuring heroine Pricilla Sharp. It sounds intriguing.

Articles:

Did y’all know Keiko is now writing for Disney Baby? She’s been writing about women who have gone through infertility, too, like The Maybe Babies, whose baby was just born after years of heartbreak. Keiko + Disney = a huge win for us.

The Ricki Lake Show blog featured this post by David Vienna about dealing with infertility, which was touching and moving.

And the Boston Globe had a much more fitting obit for Dr. Edwards.

Web:

Kymberli has launched a new site called JUMP! 1000+ Reasons to be Happy! just in time for National Infertility Awareness Week. In fact, my son is one of the “jumpers” featured. I tell the story of how a Slip ‘N Slide created joy for both my son and myself and helped heal my heart after my battle with infertility. There’s lots more stories there too and it’s a really cool project.

And speaking of healing, PAIL just hosted a “Healing Week” which addresses how those parenting after infertility deal with the scars of the past.

Pamela and Keiko participated in a RESOLVE New England project called “A Conversation on Life Beyond” children, which tackled life childfree/childless after infertility.

I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg: please feel free to add anything I have missed below, and I’ll be happy to add it to this list.

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Filed under Infertility, Parenting After IF

The New York Times Strikes Again

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 😉

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Help Me Come Up With A Good New York Times/Infertility Hashtag

My letter to the editor was not published. And after I sent it, The New York Times published yet another article about another extreme case of ART, a sperm donor who had had 150 kids. Just like with the twins article, the article has no hard numbers whether there actually ARE large numbers of donors with many children. Guess what guys: if there’s no numbers or studies behind it, it is NOT A TREND!! Has Freakanomics taught you nothing?

Now The New York Times have turned this latest extreme case on the margins of ART into the following: A debate about “Making Laws About Making Babies” The alarmist nature of the article freaked out a whole bunch of people and legislation is already being discussed to legislate the infertility industry. Because that is what we need to be doing in this economy: focusing on this issue. Facepalm. What about the 1 in 8 people suffering from infertility? What about helping them? The comment section of the debate is full of more Amy Haibles. These articles fuel the Amy Haibles of the world.

Since it’s clear that The New York Times isn’t going to change its editorial policy of only highlighting the margins or extremes of infertility, I want to spotlight each and every article that comes out and call it what it is: biased.

What would be maybe helpful is if we could create a Hashtag for Twitter so we can alert others when a crappy article comes out. And mobilize.

Here’s the thing: I totally suck at naming things: the only thing I can think of is #nytimesdouchebags.

So: I’m calling on all you funny and clever wordsmiths out there. Mommy Odyssey? The Smartness? Runny Yolk? I know lots of you are great at this stuff.

What’s a good Hashtag which would represent The New York Times’ abysmal coverage of infertility?

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Filed under Infertility, Sad

My Letter to the Editor of The New York Times

I needed some good guidelines for writing my letter to the editor of The New York Times. I have never written a letter to the editor of any publication. So I decided to seek tips from, er, The New York Times. Here is their own take on what they look for.

In short, be succinct and engaging. Make your case in 150 words. Use facts.

I read a bunch of letters that have been published. Interestingly, unless I’m missing something, I didn’t see any letters published about THAT ARTICLE.

OK. So here’s my take:

To the Editor:

After reading the latest New York Times article about infertility (The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy, August 10, 2011), I am puzzled why your coverage seems to focus on the fringes and boundaries of this subject.

One in eight couples in the U.S. suffer from infertility. Infertility affects people of all reproduction ages and incomes.

If you read the published articles about infertility in The New York Times, you would think that only the very wealthy suffer from the disease. Patients you have profiled include: a 46 year old woman using donor eggs, a woman with multiple homes who pursues many treatments and finally settles on surrogacy, a woman has “twiblings” after using two different surrogates and donor eggs.

These are by no means the TYPICAL infertility patients who walk through the doors of hundreds of offices of reproductive endocrinologists each year. In reality, fewer than 3% of infertility patients need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

I would invite you to look at the bigger picture. Speak with people struggling with infertility of ALL ages and income.

Jirraffe,
Main Street, USA

Obviously I had to trim the focus and detail in order to make the letter fit the 150 word parameter (and I can’t get it under 180 words).

What do YOU think? Please let me know in the comments.

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Filed under Infertility, writing

The Movie “Up” and Infertility

My kids love the movie “Up”. I really like it too. I especially like the short but effective montage of the protagonist’s marriage, from courtship to (SPOILER ALERT) the death of his spouse, Ellie. The montage tastefully covers the fact that the couple is unable to have children, in just 30 seconds of images, and conveys how devastating and sad this is. My daughter especially seems to understand (“No babies? Sad…”, she says when she watches the segment).

I appreciate it when IF is handled sensitively in the media. Mostly, it’s not. Special dishonorable mention to the The New York Times for that deplorable series of articles on the “Modern Family”, which should have just been called “Infertile People are Selfish Freaks!”. I don’t remember any depictions of IF, positive or negative, in the books I read or movies I saw growing up. Ellie, the infertile character in “Up”, is a strong, likable woman and her shadow looms large over the whole movie, even though she barely appears in it. I’m sure that the children who watch this movie will remember Ellie positively. So, thanks for that, Pixar!

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