I just read this news story from Canada:
Literally a radio station had five infertile couples “compete” to see who was worthy enough to win infertility treatments. In the end they rewarded all the couples with treatments.
But seriously? Infertility isn’t gut wrenching enough and then to dangle this carrot in front of a desperate couple’s face to boost your ratings?
Some people are defending it saying the radio station brought international attention to the issue of infertility. But let’s get one thing CRYSTAL clear. Radio is business, a for-profit business and their ultimate goal is to sell advertising by having the biggest following of listeners. Did this station ultimately bring attention to an often un-talked about struggle? Yes. But make sure you realize that was a secondary effect, there was not altruistic motivation behind this contest campaign. It was a campaign designed to make money and bring in listeners.
The couples who participated, I feel bad for them, I sympathize with them. Because I have known that level of desperation. I know I would never have entered such a contest, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt that desperation and understood what drove them to do it. When your every day, every minute thoughts revolve around getting pregnant, fertility tests, BBT, timed-cycles, alternative treatments, etc. I know that level of desperation and feeling of hopelessness.
Even now, six-and-a-half months pregnant, Jacob and I are still pursuing adoption options. We have no idea if this pregnancy was just a ‘fluke’ and if we will revert back to infertility issues or not after. We also have always wanted to adopt and given it is a long and expensive process we are saving and investigating any chance to add to our family. If we had the chance to adopt a child now, we would take it, even if that meant raising two infants. Some may call that crazy but when you’ve been given the big IF diagnosis and you want a big family you can’t sit back idly and wait.
And so I truly know what those couples were thinking to enter this contest. Which is why it makes me so mad that it occurred. It played on someone’s desperation in the name of big ratings. I know that is part of our culture these days, but it doesn’t make it right.
To turn infertility into a game show. No one would dare make a game out of offering the latest cancer treatments to patients. And no one would dare think it fun to make a group of disabled persons compete for the latest motorized wheel chair or other equipment. Yet we can make couples desperate for a baby jump through even more hoops for the chance to win an opportunity at having a kid. Not guaranteed a child, but the chance to go through rigorous infertility treatments that may not even work.
This is where I see the bias we still have against infertility. From simple comments of “just relax” and “are you sure you’re doing it right?”, which inadvertently place the blame on couple, to making infertility treatments into a game show and trivializing the struggle of a couple dealing with a disease recognized by the World Health Organization.
I hope the rise of infertility blogging will help counteract some of this stupidity in our society.