Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Case Against Infertility Treatments

One of the things I love most about this brave new world of blogging is that I get to read some truly diverse points of view on everything from what makes the perfect chocolate souffle to what the future holds in the land of international politics. So, when I came across this blog entry I felt compelled to share it with all of you. Now, I must warn you that it may stir some violent reactions when you read it (Keep that mug away from your computer. I wouldn't want you to throw it into your screen and then you can't read my blog anymore. Sniff!) but keep reading -- and of course, share your thoughts with me, I know you'll have many.

Writer and comedian Jessi Klein just turned 35. And in the land of (in)fertility we know what that means. During her most recent visit to her gynecologist, she was confronted with the idea of freezing her eggs. You see, Jessi isn't in a committed relationship, and a baby isn't in her plans at this time. In her latest blog entry on The Daily Beast, Jessi makes her case against seeking infertility treatments. For one, making her body do something it doesn't want to do seems wrong to her, plus she hates needles. Second, the cost of treatments could be better used for other things. Third, as she enters this new milestone of 35, Jessi has decided that she will never be "desperate" enough for anything. That she will take life as it comes, with or without a baby. And should she want a baby some day, then she'll pursue adoption.

Jessi concludes, "If I have one wish for this birthday, is that 35 is the end of desperation and the beginning of acceptance." Well that's very nicely said. But if with age comes wisdom, I'm not sure that Jessi has truly attained that level of maturity and wisdom just yet. You see, she claims that she knows "plenty of women in their late thirties and early forties who are having happy, healthy, gnocchi-tushed babies." I'm afraid Jessi's friendships must not be deep and meaningful ones, because I have a sneaking suspicion that most or at least some of her older-mommy friends must have struggled with IF, but probably never told her. I guess I can't blame Jessi for not being educated since many women fall for the illusion that we can have babies easily at any age (Are you up to date with your People Mag subscription?!). In fact, recently, Giuliana Rancic -- TV host on E! who interviews celebs -- appeared on "The View" and talked about how "duped" she felt by the celebrities she's interviewed, who were having babies at a later age and making it seem as easy as apple pie. Of course, us infertiles know better. We've learned our lesson (so has Giuliana, by the way). It's not that easy; not even close.

In her same theme of acceptance, Jessi doesn't want to force her body to do something it doesn't want to do. If only infertility were that simple. Should Jessi ever change her mind and actually want a biological offspring, I sure hope she has her next boyfriend's sperm tested or doesn't get too upset over recurring miscarriages. Or maybe she'll just chalk it up to, "it just wasn't meant to be." You know, since she's not the desperate kind and all.

Jessi does leave a window open for motherhood someday (although, I think it's a bad idea in her case): "And if I still want a baby, I'll try to adopt. Which doesn't seem like a very bad way to go at all." Ahhh, the old, "why don't you just adopt?!" I love that one, don't you? I don't think we're all vain-crazies who only want a child that is biologically ours because we think we're just that special. We simply want to be parents and some of us have actually explored adoption (I did). If and when Jessi does someday decide to pursue adoption, she's in for a big surprise: the waiting, the disappointment, and then more waiting, oh and of course the thousands of dollars spent (which apparently could be spent on better things).

In truth, Jessi probably isn't meant to be a mother. And if she can be honest with herself, I'll applaud her for that. I see way too many women who think they want children only to appoint a full-time nanny to rear their kids while they get their nails done. Jessi -- and apparently, Oprah -- not only doesn't understand why we would subject ourselves to the physical and mental beating of infertility treatments, but finds it rather "annoying." I wish her new found self-aceptance would develop into an acceptance of others. Maybe next year.

So, happy birthday Jessi... You still have much to learn. I look forward to the day when you realize that maybe you should have listened to your gyno or at least taken the time to know us, "desperate" women (and men).


missohkay said...

I'll bite... I think it's easy to say things like "oh I'll just adopt" before you are faced with your body's (or your partner's) own limitations. I always wanted to (and still want to) adopt, but giving up the hope of having a baby of our own is not the cavalier decision she makes it out to be.

The Infertility Doula said...

Well said, Missohkay.

Marci said...

I think your take on the article is a little misleading. She is very clear that she doesn't oppose infertility treatments, she just doesn't think it's right for her. And I think we'll all in agreement that it's probably the case. Yes, it's almost certainly true that if any of her friends had difficulty conceiving, they probably didn't tell her about it, not because she's an unsympathetic wench, but more likely because she's a comedienne, which means anything you say could become part of her act, but even more likely because so many people don't talk about it, even to their close friends. (Still buying into the culture of shame; if we can't get pregnant/stay pregnant/be a mom, we are automatically defective.)
Infertility is one of those things you never think about until you're facing it. This conversation with her doctor may have been the first time anyone told her, ever, (other than her mother/grandmother etc.) that she, personally, might be affected with a difficulty conceiving children.

I think as newly diagnosed infertile people we do struggle with this idea that if it were meant to happen, wouldn't it be easier? I likened it at one point to driving to work and reaching a roadblock. Do you turn around and go back home saying to yourself that you just weren't meant to go to work today, or do you find another way. But until you hit that roadblock there's never a thought or a question in your mind that you're not going to work. Of course you're going to work. Where else would you be going?

The Infertility Doula said...

Marci, thank you for commenting. I liked your road block analogy.

However, I think you're being unfair by suggesting that I'm being misleading. I provide the link to the article for readers to see it first hand and simply share my POV on it (that's what a blog is for). And saying that Jessi isn't opposed to IF treatments but just thinks it's not right for her, is like saying "Oh, I'm not against plastic surgery, I just think that those who get it must be insecure ego maniacs! I find them so annoying."

MPF said...

The biggest thing I take from this is that Ms Klein is a VERY LUCKY LADY to have had a doctor talk to her and inform her as to her options. SO many of us dont get that - and we are left in the dark as to how fertility declines with age. I was personally amazed at how friends who had babies into their forties would share stories about their IVF and miscarriages but only AFTER I was telling them about my problems. I felt really duped by them. And my mother was no better. May be I am a bad person and that was why? But I dont think that is it - truth is people are uncomfortable talking about it. So for all Ms Klein's complaning she should be very thankful that she is able to make a decision in an informed way - something many women cant do as they are left in the dark by friends, family and doctors.

Mummy in Waiting said...

I really enjoyed reading some of your blog entries tonight and you now have a new follower! Happy ICLW week.


Infertile said...

ICLW - well, it's a thinker to say the least but I still very much like the line she says of, "If I have one wish for this birthday, is that 35 is the end of desperation and the beginning of acceptance." We all need to be more accepting that we all walk different paths at different times and that's okay.

Lily - The Infertile Mind

Miss Ruby said...

As someone who has tried to have a baby for 11 years and has suffered 8 miscarriages, I've always maintained that I would never go the route of fertility treatments, that I would never force my body to do something if it couldn't do it naturally.

I think she's a smart woman who knows just how far she will go to pursue motherhood. No one can say I don't want a child enough just because I won't go down the path of fertility treatments because honestly if I didn't want a child that badly, why on earth would have put my body through getting knocked up again and again after my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th miscarriage? Answer I wouldn't, unless I truly wanted to be a mother which I did.

I DON'T have a problem with other people using fertility treatments BUT it isn't for me and they wouldn't help me anyway.

I get the feeling that you say Jessi isn't meant to be a mother purely because she won't use fertility treatments and I think that's totally untrue. One can be desperate to be a mother but sometimes, no matter what you try, it's just not meant to be and maybe, just maybe Jessi is wise enough to know that starting out.

#56 Miss Ruby

myinfertilitywoes said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. It's always eye-opening to read other points of view, including Jessi's and yours.

Happy ICLW!

Lacie said...

"If and when Jessi does someday decide to pursue adoption, she's in for a big surprise: the waiting, the disappointment, and then more waiting, oh and of course the thousands of dollars spent (which apparently could be spent on better things)."
We were in the throes of the infinite waiting in the China program and felt like there were so many road blocks (for many reasons) and decided that we'd give treatments one more shot, with a new doc. It turns out, I am going to get to give birth to my adopted embryos, which is win-win on so many levels. Its never fair to assume that just because someone is pursuing treatments that they have not carefully considered adoption. None of it is easy.

Anywho- LOVE your blog! Happy ICLW! (I don't have a number yet!)

Alex said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have a single friend in her late 30's, and even though she has seen my struggles, I think she thinks I'm crazy for doing what I'm doing, and she won't have any problems like I've had... one day. I want to shake her!!!

rebecca said...

Loved this post, thank you for sharing. I too wish we could all be a bit more accepting of each other & that the general public would have a better understanding of what it's like to live with infertility. Would be interesting to see if she still feels the same way in 10yrs!

The Infertility Doula said...

Thank you for all the great comments. I love hearing from all of you. I have also taken the time to respond to you individually on your respective blogs and hope that we continue to stay connected.

Keep it coming!

And I'll post something new this week.

Anonymous said...

Before I met Right Guy I planned on adopting. I wasn't particularly enamored with the idea of a frozen Pop. I'm sure it's fine for some people but it just didn't feel right for me. And having battled endometriosis none of it seemed worth the pain and trouble. But it's different now. I now have someone I want to create life with. And that changes everything. Never say Never.

Awaiting our miracle said...

I agree with you, that she does have a lot to learn. I also couldn't imagine doing IVF before we were told we needed it. But when we were told that either we do do IVF or don't have a baby, that just changes everything. It's so easy to say things like that before you are actually in that situation. Until then, you really don't know what it is like to be given such a decision and what you will decide. I also hate the, oh I will just adopt if it doesn't work out. If only it was that easy! Kim via ICLW

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