Last October Eric and I drove across state lines to Savannah Reproductive Center to meet with a fertility specialist for consultation. The moment the doctor found out my age he acted as if it were doomsday. You would have thought my uterus would turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight on my thirty-fifth birthday (Up yours, buddy, I’m hott (which can likely be attributed to NOT having children, thank you very much)). To my surprise, less than ten minutes into the appointment visions of laparoscopy, Clomid, and IVF were dancing around in his gigantic head.
This over-eagerness to push pills and perform procedures is all too typical in this era of the medicalization of society. Frankly, it ticked me off. I imagined he would analyze our diets, chart my cycle, ask in-depth questions about our medical histories-- perhaps suggest a few “positions” (bom chicka wah wah). Rather, he skipped right to the money-makers. I left that office having agreed to things I wasn’t comfortable with…things I knew nothing about.
Those of you who know me would concur that this is strikingly uncharacteristic of me. I get this inquisitiveness from my father (shout out to dad on Father’s Day), who my mother has recently limited to asking only 3 questions on any particular subject. Just today Eric noted that I missed my calling as an investigative journalist. Move over, Becky Oliver, here comes Annie Boerm.
With a smidgen of probing, I stumbled upon the following statistics: A healthy, fertile couple stands only a 20% chance of conceiving each month, 5 million Americans experience periods of “sub-fertility” and half of those eventually go on to get pregnant and have healthy babies. Experts say that a woman’s fertility peaks in her twenties, but many women in their forties continue to remain fertile.
It is my personal belief that Dr. Bighead was attempting to perpetrate a fraud against this 34 year old woman. Yet another way our culture aims to make women feel “less than.” We’re not skinny enough, tall enough, nose isn’t thin enough, nails aren’t manicured enough, hair isn’t silky enough, teeth aren’t white enough, skin isn’t glowing enough, bikini area isn’t hairless enough, clothes aren’t stylish enough, purse isn’t expensive enough, and let’s not forget --bOObs aren’t big enough. The quest to be “enough girl”, all glamour-pussed and supermodeled out is utterly exhausting.
I’d be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t buy into some of these lies, but let it be documented that I resent them. Similarly, my antipathy toward this doctor, his injections, and implantations swelled over time. Perhaps my expectations of his services were somewhat grandiose. I recognize that fertility doctors truly help many couples who have actual medical conditions that prevent them from conceiving naturally, and for that, they should be appreciated. But in our case, it just seemed like another instance of fast food pharmacology.
Needless to say, I never returned to Savannah Reproductive Center, and don’t intend to. As for me and my man, we prefer the holistic approach-- vitamins, herbs, acupuncture, massage, and a miracle!