Skip to content Skip to footer

Is the Baby-Making Business Selling False Hopes?

Long over-due attention to the rarely reported enduring traumas, societal impacts, health risks and myths associated with infertility.

NEW YORK, NY – Infertility patients, women’s health advocates and medical professionals are launching a national initiative to draw long over-due attention to the rarely reported enduring traumas, societal impacts, health risks and myths associated with infertility, childlessness and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments—including annual global failure rates as high as 77 percent in 2012 (1).

Open to the general public, the kick-off event, The Cycle: Living A Taboo, will be held on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center Theater #2 in Lower Manhattan. The 90-minute program will feature insights from experts, as well as dramatic readings, film segments, and intentional conversations about stigma, hype vs. hope, and trading losses in for life. Tickets are available ($30 general admission through September 20; $40 thereafter). To secure a seat, visit here.

“Exaggerated headlines and confusing, sometimes conflicting data from fertility clinics contribute to a distorted reality about what’s actually possible with still fragile and often experimental ART procedures. This has contributed to the myth that fertility medicine equals ‘successful’ science,” said Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos, event co-producer and author of Silent Sorority, the first book to document living childless after failed treatments.

Irina Vodar, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the event’s co-producer, added, “The best way to counter this imbalanced, one-sided story is for former fertility patients to speak out about their own experiences, particularly those whose treatments failed.”

Health and human rights organizations endorsing the event include Our Bodies Ourselves; the Center for Responsible Genetics; the Center for Reproductive Psychology; the Seleni Institute; Voice Male Magazine; Gateway Women; We Are Egg Donors, and The Halli Casser-Jayne Show: Talk Radio for Fine Minds. Featured speakers include:

Miriam Zoll, author of the new memoir-expose, Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies. Zoll is a member of the board of the global women’s health and human rights organization, Our Bodies Ourselves, and the founding co-producer of the Ms. Foundation for Women’s original “Take Our Daughters To Work Day.”

Dr. David Barad, director of clinical ART and senior scientist at the Center for Human Reproduction in New York City. Dr. Barad recently participated in a national research effort that revealed some I.V.F. clinics manipulate federally mandated public reporting of I.V.F. outcomes to gain economic advantage.

Irina Vodar, co-producer of The Cycle and the producer-director of the upcoming autobiographical documentary of her own experiences with assisted reproductive technologies, The Cycle: Living A Taboo. Originally from Moscow, her well-received first full-length documentary, Miss GULAG,showcased at 36 international film festivals (including Silverdocs) and earned recognition from the Ford Foundation, Sundance Institute and the 57th Berlin Film Festival.

Jennifer Wolff Perrine, an award-winning investigative health journalist who has covered reproductive health and the fertility industry for nearly two decades. Her milestone article, “Breaking the Silence on Infertility” examined the stigma and secrecy surrounding infertility, and in 2011 won RESOLVE’s Hope Award for achievement. Wolff Perrine has also won Planned Parenthood’s MAGGIE Award for “When there is no good choice,” her expose on second term abortion, and first place for magazine feature writing from the Association of Health Care Journalists for “The Truth about Donor 1084,” a critique on the selling of genetically defective sperm made widely available by the nation’s most trusted sperm banks. Wolff Perrine is also a former fertility patient.

Dr. Marni Rosner, the first scholar to research the long-term emotional, social, and cultural implications for women living without children after pursuing treatment for infertility. Dr. Rosner is the current editor of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Social Work Newsletter, The Clinician, and is the recipient of the University’s 2012 Dr. Ram Cnaan award.

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos, co-producer of The Cycle, was first profiled in a landmark article byThe New York Times called “Voices of Infertility.” She went on to write Silent Sorority, the first memoir to document fertility treatments not written by a mother. It received the Hope Award for Best Book in 2010 by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. Tsigdinos is an internationally recognized blogger who explores the stigma associated with infertility and living involuntarily childless.

Tracey Cleantis, is a writer, speaker and practicing psychotherapist. Her critically acclaimed blog, La Belette Rouge, and her new book, The Other Side of Impossible: How to Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a Happy Ending, address themes of “finding depth in the ordinary” and “surviving and thriving while being childless.”

Sonia A. M. Daly is an author and voiceover artist and producer of Voices of Zen: Guided Meditation for Women Who’ve Miscarried. Collaborating with two-time Emmy® award-winner composer, Michael Whalen, she launched this inaugural guided meditation series that addresses unheralded topics of emotional disease based on her experiences with multiple miscarriages.

About The Cycle: Living A Taboo

The Cycle: Living A Taboo (#TheCycleLivingATaboo) is the first independent, patient-led event focused on the hidden ramifications of infertility, including the often debilitating and underreported outcomes of invasive assisted reproductive technologies, as well as childlessness on individuals and society. The September 27, 2013 event will be recorded and filmed, and some footage may be used for a documentary film by the same name. The Cycle is fiscally sponsored by Women Make Movies (WMM), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. To make tax deductible contributions, visit here.

Tickets are available ($30 general admission through September 20; $40 thereafter). To secure a seat, visit here.

To learn more about the Forum and the documentary, please go to The Cycle: Living A Taboo.

[1] , 3rd paragraph (350,000 lives births (success) out of 1.5 million treatments; 1,150,000 million failures – divide 1,150,000 failures by 1,500,000 attempts = 76.6

It takes longer to read this sentence than it does to support our work.

We don’t have much time left to raise the $15,000 needed to meet Truthout‘s basic publishing costs this month. Will you take a few seconds to donate and give us a much-needed boost?

We know you are deeply committed to the issues that matter, and you count on us to bring you trustworthy reporting and comprehensive analysis on the real issues facing our country and the world. And as a nonprofit newsroom supported by reader donations, we’re counting on you too. If you believe in the importance of an independent, free media, please make a tax-deductible donation today!