Tag Archives: The New York Times

Top Post Countdown, Number 2: The New York Times and Their Crappy Infertility Coverage

Here’s the story on my second most favorite post, ever.

My dad was really ill last year after a surgery for colon cancer. He was in and out of the hospital for months. Thankfully, he’s on the mend now. As I have mentioned before, he had a very distinguished career as a journalist, covering the biggest stories of his day. I had spoken to him many times about The New York Times and their really inferior coverage on the topics of Adoption, Loss and Infertility. We agreed they only covered it from two angles: the 1% angle (when most people suffering from infertility in America can’t afford treatments or adoption) or the issue of choice.

I finally decided to write about the topic, and I spent weeks writing this one post. Once completed, I ran it past bloggers I really respected who had taken on big issues before: Esperanza, Keiko and Mel. And still, I hesitated to hit the publish button. I was afraid.

Ultimately, I did, and I’m glad I did. People still find the post by searching for “New York Times infertility.” And that makes me feel good.

Do you know what number one is?

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Filed under Infertility

Creme de la Creme: My Pick

I totally forgot to submit my entry for Creme de la Creme this year. Last year, I had only blogged a handful of times, so it was relatively easy to pick my favorite out. This year I have quite a few posts to choose from. And, so on the very last deadline, I am submitting something.

It’s a dilemma to choose one. Should it be what you consider to be your best work? The one that got the most comments? The one you thought maybe changed things? (Or tried to?)

I decided to go with the third option. I took The New York Times to task for their very strange coverage of infertility. I’m sure no one who matters saw it, but at least I tried to change something? Or maybe I am self-aggrandizing. I’m sure that’s what Darcy would say.

Without further ado. Voila!

How did you pick your post, if you chose to participate this year?

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Filed under writing

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.”

Word.

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.

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Filed under Family, Infertility

My Rejected Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

So this is the first letter to the editor that I have ever written. And, unfortunately, it was rejected.

There has been yet another article in The New York Times since I sent my letter suggesting they focus on the extreme boundaries of ART, which featured a rare case of a sperm donor with over 100 children.

So, clearly, my letter did diddly squat to affect coverage over there.

What I hope is that some of you craft your own letter as well.

To the Editor:

After reading the latest New York Times article about infertility (“Fertility is a Matter of Age”, August 31, 2011), I have to ask, why does your coverage only focus on the fringes of this subject?

This is the latest of many articles* to suggest only the wealthiest of citizens suffer from this disease, and that typical infertility patients are over 40, use surrogates and/or donor eggs.

One in eight couples in the U.S. suffer from infertility. Infertility affects people of all reproduction ages and incomes. Fewer than 3% of infertility patients need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Please look at the bigger picture and speak with Americans of ALL ages and incomes struggling with infertility. People like Courtney Cheng, 31, who has to seek answers beyond her family doctor after her fourth miscarriage. Or Keiko Zoll, diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at age 26.

Jessica Carroll Jaffe
Main Street, USA

7 Comments

Filed under getting published, Infertility

Mad-Eye Moody’s Advice For the Next Time (And There Will Be A Next Time)

Thanks everyone for your help. I think together we have crafted a tighter, more persuasive letter.

But, I should have taken action earlier. I was not vigilant enough.

The problem? Turns out, you have to send a letter to the editor within 7 days of the article’s publication. Sigh. And Doh.

However, I’m sure unfortunately that there will be a next time: in fact, we know what they are working on.

And when there is, I’ll revise and send a new letter ASAP. So, please keep me posted if you see an article on ALI in the New York Times. Together, we’ll be ready.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!!

——-
To the Editor:

After reading the latest New York Times article about infertility (The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy, August 10, 2011), I have to ask, why does your coverage seems to only focus on the fringes of this subject?

This was the latest of many articles* to suggest only the wealthiest of citizens suffer from this disease, and that “typical” infertility patients are over 40, use surrogates and/or donor eggs.

One in eight couples in the U.S. suffer from infertility. Infertility affects people of all reproduction ages and incomes. And in reality, fewer than 3% of infertility patients need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
I invite you to look at the bigger picture and speak with Americans of ALL ages and incomes who are struggling with infertility. People like Courtney Cheng, who has to seek answers beyond her family doctor after her fourth miscarriage. Or Keiko Zoll, diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at age 26.

Jjiraffe
Main Street, USA

All statistics on infertility provided by Resolve. Please go to http://www.resolve.org for more information.

Articles referred to:
India Nutures Business of Surrogate Motherhood 3/10/2008


Her Body, My Baby 11/28/2008

Payment Offers to Egg Donors Prompts Scrutiny (5/11/2010)

Meet the Twiblings (12/29/2010)

An American Family: Mom, Sperm Donor, Lover, Child (6/19/2011)

The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy (8/10/2011)

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Filed under Infertility, writing