Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Colbert Foux Pas

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So, I will preface this by expressing my genuine love of Stephen Colbert's comedy and his show in general, and adding that I in no way intend to stop watching and enjoying his Comedy Central antics.  That having been said, I was a little confused by this skit from Monday's show which looked at the Israel medical clown IVF study.

My chief complaints and defense of ART (assisted reproductive technologies):
1) Terminology Fail - "embryo transfer" is not a "surgical implantation".  I know it isn't a huge deal, but I feel that when these terms are confused it not only confuses the public about the nature of IVF and how it works, but it also implies some kind of major surgery to force the body into pregnancy.  IVF has enough bad press and confusion surrounding it (ex. "test tube babies", "unnatural", "insta-family" etc.).  I think it important to educate people that it is not't so "unnatural" a procedure as is commonly believed, and that the embryos find a home in the uterus the same way any other "naturally" conceived embryo would.

2) "Medical Clown" joke - okay this was pretty funny, and I'm sure most people do realize that "medical" clowns generally do go through at least some kind of special training in order to work and perform in the hospital environment.  You can even get a degree in it.

3) The Ovulation Clown Bing Bongovax - Sorry Stephen, it is obvious you and your wife have never gone through the pain, humiliation, discomfort, frustration, and misery of infertility.  This was just callous.  I wanted to laugh, I really did, but I think some part of it just hit too close to home; you know, the way in which your medical team does practically follow you into the bedroom, and the fact that as an infertile, your private, intimate time with you husband has already been openly discussed, analyzed, commented on, dissected, commented on again, and tested in a lab?  Anyway, I did not approve.  I wish someone had stopped them from airing this one. 

*As an aside, I plan to bring my own laughter therapy (some mp3s of Eddie Izzard's stand-up, and NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me), with me to my embryo transfer (if I get that far).  If there is any chance this study has merit, laughter therapy it is!



  1. I love Stephen Colbert, but agree, some of this went too far. I kind of wish someone uber famous and loud would experience infertility and give us all a public voice!


  2. I hear your frustration. Not long ago I caught the episode of Friends where Phoebe gets 'implanted' with her brother & SIL's embryos. I just *loved* when she takes a hpt the night of the transfer and gets a positive. Ugh!

  3. I too love Stephen Colbert. When everything is game I guess those of us who are in the IF category should expect that our troubles are made fun of.

  4. If only the media would look in to IF as a more serious issue instead of simplifying it or mentioning Octomom or Kate + 8 chick.
    That seems to be all anyone wants to talk about when it comes to IF treatments. The extreme cases that makes everyone paranoid and gives people the wrong impression.

  5. I actually thought that the laughter therapy study was interesting. I'm a little bit disappointed that it ended up as the butt of a joke, but Colbert picks fun at just about everybody/everything. That and people just don't get it.

    Jenni - ICLW #12

  6. I love that show, too but that pisses me off!!

  7. Wow...I won't watch it just because of your post...I would be fuming! I have had people make comments about what we have had to endure on our IF journey and I can't believe what comes out of people's mouths!