Monday, April 18, 2011

Myth Busting with Resolve!

Adding my voice to Resolve's "Bust a Myth" campaign...

Myth #1
Infertility is just the result of the Birth Control Pill, Feminism, and women focusing too hard on their careers and having children too late...

Now, I will not deny that fertility decreases with age.  This is something medical science and common sense has made us all fairly well aware of.  However, age is far from the only factor involved in infertility.  We all know countless women, myself included, who are in their 20s and experiencing diagnosable or unexplained infertility.  There are also countless women in their late thirties and early forties who have no trouble, whatsoever, in conceiving healthy babies.

Aging, like pretty much everything else, occurs differently for every individual, and a young set of ovaries is sadly not the answer to every infertility puzzle.  By placing blame and accusation on epidemic numbers of aging ovaries and the supposedly career-centric, baby-phobic mind of today's woman (setting aside for a moment the many things wrong with this sweeping assumption), legislators, friends and family are dismissing the real plight of the infertile community and passing a harsh judgment on us all; one that takes the focus off the real issue - fighting the disease of infertility.

The perpetuation of this myth serves no one but the health insurance companies, who continue to view child-bearing not as natural born right, but as a lifestyle choice - kind of like choosing to live vegan or without a television.  The myth needlessly harms those who are struggling with the complications of advanced maternal age, fostering guilt and shame where there should be understanding, treatment and support, and it dismisses entirely those of us who are infertile but fall into a different category; our infertility, according to this myth, simply shouldn't exist.  We are just anomalies of creation.

Myth #2
"Worst case scenario, you can always adopt..."

Why oh why do people feel the need to utter this sentence?  I wish I could understand. 

I have a few questions I would like to ask to help me in debunking this myth -- setting aside for a moment the simple horribleness of using phrases like "worst case scenario" to describe the incredibly rewarding and joyful experience that can come from building your family through adoption. 

1. Why do people assume that all couples can so easily just adopt a child?
2. Why do we dismiss the emotions of a couple who must first accept the loss of their own dream of having a baby together, before choosing if they want to become adoptive parents?
3. What makes us so sure that every couple is emotionally capable or even interested in building their family through adoption?
4. Why do we continue to trick ourselves into believing not only that there is a never-ending, easily accessible supply of healthy, perfect infants just waiting to be brought home to live with us, but also that the process to acquire this perfect, new baby of our own, is in any way simple or affordable for the average family?
5.  Why do people believe that infertile, adoptive parents can not or should not be "choosy" about the age and health of the baby they bring home?

I'm beginning to believe that what the general public does not know about adoption, or the costs involved, is truly astounding...particularly just the simple fact that it can take many years to bring home your baby and even then there may be complications involved.  I've often thought about adopting a child, whether or not I conceived on my own, but sometimes just looking through the legalities and risks involved and hearing other people's horror stories (not about the children, but about the complications in bringing them home), is enough to make me shy away from initiating the process. 

I certainly do not mean to put anyone off from adoption by writing this.  I just want to debunk the myth that adoption is the obvious final cure for the infertile couple or that it is easily done, voila, perfect happy ending.  Adoption has been the dream ending for many families, but it simply is not the choice or perfect ending for every infertile couple.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more!! Thanks for the GREAT post!!

  2. Wonderfully said Kerrik. I just wish more people (i.e fertiles) had a chance read such well written pieces. I recently read an article about statistics of adoption in my native state - Kerala in India. There are hundreds of families waiting for a child, with a very small number of families succeeding in completing their family. This in a country where you would think there are so many kids in need of a family. It is not simply as easy as "We want to adopt, let me just go to the nearest adoption agency".

    There are so many things to be said...I hope Resolve's campaign will put some sense into people who pass judgements all too soon.

  3. I love this post and I think it's wonderful you are speaking up about the things that are misunderstood.

    I think it's so important to educate the general public on the real truths to Infertility. Thanks for spreading the word.

  4. "The perpetuation of this myth serves no one but the health insurance companies, who continue to view child-bearing not as natural born right, but as a lifestyle choice - kind of like choosing to live vegan or without a television."

    Gosh you say that well! Great busted myths. hey, how cool would it be if RESOLVE could do a show with the Mythbusters guys!

  5. Thank you! I hate it when people bring up adoption. Please. Like I have tons of money to throw away on mothers who change their minds last-minute, or countries who snatch their babies back, or just take your "bribes" and laugh at you.
    I have 2 very fertile sisters, so luckily I have a pool of viable eggs and wombs at my disposal, but I would still prefer to have my own baby. At the very least, one in my own uterus. I can't watch my sisters 24/7. What if they don't eat right? Vitamins? Hot tubs?
    For a few hundred dollars, we could do an IUI with one of my sisters. Or for $15k, try IVF with me. If I didn't want this so badly, if I wanted someone else's child as a first resort, I'd go the cheaper route. And even if we end up going with my sister, how much will the legal fees be in nailing down the details? What if my husband dies? Would she try and take "her" child? What if we both died? Would his family get to see the child?
    And these are just scary details and questions with a family member. Imagine the difficulty with strangers, or other countries! Plus all the fake agencies preying on desperate couples.

  6. Really, really well written. I wish I had read something like this 10 years ago. I believed both those myths until infertility smacked me in the face!

  7. Love you post!

  8. Great myth busting! As a 25 year old infertile (started TTC @ 22) it boggles my mind how many people are shocked that we are dealing with infertility at such a "young age". This was well written and I look forward to checking out the rest of your blog when I have more time!

  9. These are great! Very well written! It's true that there are so many questions about what's really wrong with these myths...we really could go on and on!
    Happy ICLW! I just added your link and just noticed your baby ticker...would you like to share your IF success on my blog?

  10. Great post! I have a friend who is only 2 weeks older than me and she is the typical "husband walks in the room and voila! she's pregnant" Sometimes science just doesn't get it right. In Australia, after all the failed IVF's etc that I went through and the diminishing age, adoption was not even an option because of age limits. Luckily my miracle came, but I always wonder 'what if?'.

    I also participated in the challenge.
    NIAW Blog list #30

  11. I love this. Thanks so much for speaking up for NIAW.

  12. Great post! I think another gereat one would be about surrogacy - so many people go we just need to find you a surrogate as if that will make the pain of me being unable to conceive my own child magically disappear!!

  13. Great points. I WISH adoption was as easy as people think, I really do.