Examining the hidden stories of infertility
by Michael Cook
With more than 5 million IVF babies born since 1978, most people think that infertility is easily fixed. The media highlight the success stories of miracle babies and delighted parents. However, the stories of the 77% of women who access IVF but fail to have a child are normally ignored.
A forum will present this side of the story in New York on September 27 in "The Cycle: Living A Taboo". The organisers describe it as the first independent public forum to explore the hidden ramifications and bioethical considerations of infertility, assisted reproductive technologies and childlessness on individuals and society.
"Every year, more than two-thirds of patients undergoing advanced fertility treatments contend with failed cycles, which include IVF, donor eggs and surrogacy," said Irina Vodar, co-producer of The Cycle. "Yet the vast majority of these outcomes, and the women and men affected by them, remain invisible in popular media, relegated instead to online communities or anonymous blog sites where any potential social impact and public education dissipates."
Vodar adds, "For 35 years the US$4 billion global reproductive technology industry has benefited from misleading coverage from mainstream media that suggests that technological advancements more often than not results in 'successful' endings that include delivery of a healthy baby. When treatments fail, you fall off the charts, you disappear, you don't exist."