By Lisa Manterfield
If you’ve been hanging around the childless-not-by-choice community for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly come across the wonderful Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos. Author of the groundbreaking book Silent Sorority, Pamela has long been a steady and articulate voice for our community.
More recently, she’s turned her attention and her voice to the fertility industry. After the recent announcements from both Apple and Facebook that they would include egg-freezing coverage as part of their employee benefit packages, Pamela wrote articles for two renowned publications on the realities of that procedure. You can read what she has to say in Fortune and Wired.
As always, when I hear first-hand accounts and well-researched data on fertility treatments, I find the statistics shocking, sobering, and infuriating. I think about all the people who told me to “just do IVF”, often based on nothing more than the fact that such-and-such celebrity had done it and had been successful, but with no knowledge of what the procedure actually involves, what the odds of success might be, or whether it was even a viable option for my situation (which it wasn’t).
Even the medical professionals I met during my journey offered little in-depth information about what was ahead for me. My first experience was an almost flippant referral from a primary care physician, basically “Go see this guy. He’ll get you pregnant.” And my first visit to a fertility clinic involved a calendar of procedures and a chart of costs, with no discussion about the physical or psychological effects of what I was about to go through, or honest and realistic statistics of what the chances of success really were.
I’ll admit I was naïve going in, but I don’t consider myself to be an ignorant person. I did my research, but I still wasn’t prepared. I was given glossy brochures filled with terms I didn’t understand and procedures that seemed more invasive than what I felt I needed. And they all included pictures of adorable babies and joyous parents, but never hard information—the kind I needed to make a life-changing decision. I received a stellar sales pitch, but never felt guided by a trusted professional who had my welfare and best interests at heart. Even though I’m wiser now, I continue to be educated by people like Pamela.
If you’ve been through fertility treatments, how do you feel about the process? Has your view changed? Do you feel you went in prepared? What do you think should change for women facing this in the future?
Please leave your comments below and also consider stopping by Pamela’s blog to offer support for the work she’s doing.