Silent Sorority

Infertility Survivors Finally Heard

July 9, 2020

IVF Industry Can’t Have it Both Ways

IVF industry messaging is a hot mess. That’s the conclusion I came to after seeing yet another study this week come from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).IVF industry

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Patients overestimate success in IVF. The implication is that we arrived at this conclusion independently. As my colleague Dr. Susan Bewley noted when I shared the early look at the ESHRE press release issued:


“I note the language of blame — that it’s the couples who ‘tend to overestimate their chance of success’ rather than normal people pick up normal stories.

“When 85% of women and 88% of men have the wrong impression, could we not say that some of that is due to the popular narrative that keeps the merry-go-round of business going?”

IVF industryIVF Industry’s Mixed Messaging

Thank you, Susan! You helped me arrive at a different set of headlines and conclusions. So, I wrote about the ‘wanting it both ways’ phenomenon in more detail on Medium: New IVF Study Reveals Hypocrisy. Do give it a read, dear readers, and let me know what you think. How many agree my subhead reads like something straight out of The Onion: IVF Industry Markets Babies, Blames Patients for Expecting One.

Honestly, sometimes the gaslighting by the IVF industry is hard to spot. You know something feels wrong, but the IVF industry excels at double talk. One can’t help but identify with the ‘Stockholm syndrome.’  (For those who need a refresh, the Stockholm Syndrome is “feelings of trust felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.”)

See also  Why Do We Look the Other Way On IVF Addiction?

Recognizing the IVF Industry Double Talk

It turns out I’m not alone. Many women confirmed they felt similarly misled and mistreated. One wrote:

“10 years on from my own experience of fertility clinic exploitation & cavalier treatment I am still speechless with shock and haven’t yet found the words to describe what they did and to call them out on it. In fact, I get angrier not more sanguine, because the further from the emotional hostage situation I get the clearer I can see just what they did.”

Since I continue to marvel that the IVF industry’s hypocrisy is allowed to stand unchallenged, I tweeted out the following:

External Oversight

Truly, I don’t want other women and men to be duped. I can’t believe I paid doctors and clinics more than $50,000 to put my husband and me through hell.  Seriously. How did I let that happen? Burned in my brain from those days is the wall of babies they walked us by, beaming photographs plastered around the waiting room.

Fortunately, there are others who see clearly what’s happening. This RT from a scientist made my day:

Now, it’s your turn…

See also  Conflict of Interest? Fertility Patients Beware
Bioethics One Reply to “IVF Industry Can’t Have it Both Ways”
Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela Tsigdinos
Writer, blogger and, oh, yeah, infertility survivor. My memoir, Silent Sorority, tells the whole story. There's a movie in there somewhere. Given the quirkiness needed to relate it all I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence would be a good fit.


One comment on “IVF Industry Can’t Have it Both Ways

    Author’s gravatar

    Great article, Pamela. Yes, I am angry that the industry tries to imply that it unrealistic expectations are the couples’ fault, not the messages they send. How annoying. Even in NZ, where the industry is heavily regulated, there are still these same oh-so-positive messages, and active marketing in a way that no other medical field (except maybe for optometrists or dentists) does.

    I thought your tweet to female editors/journalists etc was also interesting. My immediate thought was perhaps they are of an age where they want to put their heads in the sand (see my latest post) and believe that if they need help it is there, and so their reporting is coloured by personal hopes and unspoken fears?

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