Miriam Zoll, author of the recent book Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies, has a terrific piece out in today’s New York Times on “Selling the Fantasy of Fertility” to those struggling with infertility. She’s co-written the piece with Pamela Tsigdinos, and their voices are important as they write from their personal experience of having been on the fertility superhighway.
They speak of the powerful seduction of the fertility industry, which promises to give you the baby you so desperately want. They also address the strong lure to try one more time writing, “inside the surreal world of reproductive medicine” there is “no obvious off-ramp; you keep at it as long as your bank account, health insurance, or sanity holds out.”
You certainly won’t find their faces or their stories on fertility industry websites. As you Google and make your way to fertility industry websites, you will be inundated with photos of beautiful babies, happy couples, and even coupons for discounts for these expensive high-tech treatments. You won’t learn of the high failure rate. And you won’t hear stories like the ones these women have to tell.
But it is good news to see their piece in print. And it is our hope that many more men and women will come forward and tell their stories, putting pressure on the industry to come clean.
Zoll and Tsigdinos write, “Ending our treatments was one of the bravest decisions we ever made, and we did it to preserve what little remained of our shattered selves, our strained relationships, and our depleted bank accounts. No longer under the spell of the industry’s seductive powers, we study its marketing tactics with eagle eyes, and understand how, like McDonald’s, the fertility industry works to keep people coming back for more.”
This multi-billion dollar, largely unregulated, global industry with overall failure rates of 70% needs to be exposed. It’s nice to see those who have been lured by the desire to have a baby speaking up.
- Jennifer Lahl is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.