Silent Sorority

Infertility Survivors Finally Heard

March 1, 2013

Keeping It Real

Oh to have the charm and confidence that Jennifer Lawrence exhibited this past week as she tripped and then recovered on her way to accepting the Oscar for Best Actress.

I marveled at the grittiness she showed in Winter’s Bone. I admired her stoicism and determination as Katniss in The Hunger Games, and I became a bona fide fan watching her light up the screen in Silver Lining’s Playbook. Her best performance, hands down, though was the press conference after securing her Oscar. 

Jennifer kept it real and reminded me that as often as I err on the side of biting my tongue, every once in a while we need to say what’s really on our minds. So here goes:

Dr. Nancy Snyderman: I caught your recent NBC Nightly News segment … where did you get that medical degree again? A mail-in catalog? I’m no Chief Medical Editor, but even I know that when reporting on IVF it’s important to fact check and get your terms right. While you were busy gushing about the latest science in embryo watching (in a weirdly Peeping Tom sort of way) you voiced over, incorrectly, a reference to “implanting” embryos during an IVF procedure. After 30 years of IVF there’s no excuse for you (or your reporting staff) not to know this medical terminology. Let me set y’all straight, embryos are “transferred” — it’s up to Mother Nature whether they implant or not.

And while we’re offering constructive criticism about your reporting, next time try to get more balance in your piece. This new embryo technology is experimental and in limited use without much understanding about how it influences the outcome. What was the news value again (other than making the procedure more expensive)? As for expense, why didn’t you offer up a range for what an actual IVF cycle costs? It’s easy to get an average ($12,000 to $15,000 — or more depending on a variety of contributing factors and associated medications, rarely covered by health insurance).

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And, while you were busy making sure to get the IVF twin babies in your money shot, why didn’t you take the time to mention the percentage of IVF treatments that fail, and how little is still understood about what leads to successful conception and pregnancy? You would do all viewers a service by not sugar coating what’s actually involved.  Next time, Dr. Nancy, keep it real.

That leads me to a New York based non-profit, the Seleni Institute, an organization that IS taking a more balance approach to the topic of fertility and the impact it can have on women’s emotional well being. Kudos to the health reporting team for, yes, keeping it real. I was honored to be among the women who contributed to the launch of the foundation’s new website. You can read my piece, Why I left the fertility treatment roller coaster and where I found my place in a motherhood-mad world here.

Also in the keeping it real file this week, a shout out to Karen Malone Wright and Laura LaVoie for their work on a terrific website call In a recent blogger profile Q&A with Laura, I realized just how far we’ve come in creating a community for women who are not mothers to congregate, communicate and celebrate all of our contributions.  I’ll be returning the favor with Karen and Laura, and feature them in an upcoming blog post as well as interview Irina Vodar, a documentary producer who is putting together a proposal for a film on infertility. Lots to share on that in the coming weeks. March will also bring me together again with the fabulous Lisa Manterfield and later this spring, I’ll get to see Klara on the Dalmation coast.

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What are you doing to keep it real?

Linking Around, Strength Personified 9 Replies to “Keeping It Real”
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.


9 thoughts on “Keeping It Real

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks for sharing the video of Jennifer Lawrence’s interview. Hilarious!!

    I loved your piece in Seleni. The more I’ve read your blog and your other articles, the more I am convinced that I need to read your book. Still looking for answers in my IF journey after ending the treatments and before moving on to adoption or living childfree. I’m glad that there are strong women like you to help provide guidance to those of us still in the trenches.

      Author’s gravatar

      Jennifer is the best, isn’t she? Glad you like the Seleni piece, Gail. It’s good to know we can help each other.

    Author’s gravatar

    I really liked your Seleni article. Your last paragraph is so poignant.

    Ugh on Dr Snyderman perpetuating the imprecise use of the word/concept “implant.”

    Author’s gravatar

    To answer you question, other than just dealing with what life has thrown up at us right at the moment, I’m not sure I’m doing anything else to keep it real. Maybe coping with life is enough.

    Like you, it really infuriates me that so much reporting is careless and inaccurate. I couldn’t find the link, so didn’t see what else she said. That’s probably a good thing!

    Oh, and thanks for the link to Jennifer Lawrence’s very funny and real press conference. She was a delight.

    Author’s gravatar

    dear Pamela,
    I loved your Seleni article. The last part is really inspirational:

    “My husband and I continue to push forward, to shape and define a life outside the beaten path. We challenge each other to uncover new possibilities, to seek new adventures and discoveries that will enrich our understanding of the world and our place in it. That’s what we would have encouraged our children to do.”

    Can’t wait to meet you in 69 days on the beautiful coast of Dalmatia!!!

    Author’s gravatar

    LOVE your Seleni article, as well. :-D And Jennifer Lawrence is really something (saw another interview where she was keeping it real, too). Haven’t seen Winter’s Bone, but it’s on my movie-to-watch list. :-D

    What I do in keeping it real? I suppose being honest with myself even though sometimes I feel like I want to deny some things about myself (trying to look at my naked mental self with its scars and all that every now and then). It’s easier to do this in writing/blogs than in real life, ‘coz in real life it depends on whom I talk to and it’s easier to get distracted, too. I don’t want to give TMI to people who aren’t willing to listen/not open to my POV/stories.

    Author’s gravatar

    Hi Pamela!
    I have thought a lot about why I LOVE Jennifer and am less in love with Anne Hathaway. I am crazy for authenticity and I have a strong reaction to fakey-fake. And I love that about you too–you and your writing are the REAL deal. Good for you for calling out Dr. Nancy.
    Am I to gather from your meet up with Lisa that you will be in my neck of the woods this Spring? If so I REALLY want to see you. Speaking of really want, I want to go to Dalmatia. I am supposedly related to the Royal family of Dalamatia( I am not sure if I really believe that story or not:-).

      Author’s gravatar

      You nailed it, Tracey. I had that same discomfort with Anne. While I’m sure she’s a nice person, she didn’t seem very “real” … now I get it. As they say, authenticity is hard to fake.
      Lisa will be up north so we’re meeting in San Francisco. Very sorry you can’t join us (though I’m not sure any restaurant could handle the three of us at once!)
      I can so imagine you as royalty. There is definitely a regalness about you.

    Author’s gravatar

    Thank you for introducing us to Seleni — some wonderful perspectives there (yours included!). Also loved your interview with The Not Mom, which I’ve been reading for awhile.

    I do wish more reporting on infertility was less sugar & more reality. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, I understand the need for hope — but the fact is that infertility treatment does not work for everyone.

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