CDC talks about ART

Infertility Doula posted recently about three videos produced by the Center for Disease Control on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The videos were funded by Aetna.

Each covers one of the following three areas:

-Preparing for ART and pregnancy
-How to interpret CDC data comparing RE clinics
-The case for single embryo transfers.

Infertility Doula points out that open discussion about ART, particularly on the part of an insurer, is a step forward. I agree, but I also had some negative reactions, particularly to the first video.

Here’s an excerpt of my comment on the Doula’s blog:

From the first sentence (“the healthiest women and the healthiest couples have the healthiest babies”), it reminded me of early 20th American century eugenics propaganda, particularly the Fitter Families Contests. These are the contests in which white Protestant families competed against each other for superior physical and mental health. The fact that the CDC featured couples that were white, heterosexual and seemingly able-bodied is a pretty telling commentary on who they think should be benefiting from ART.

What really bothers me about this is the implication that health is something you accomplish when you behave morally. By this logic sick people deserve sickness.

Of course, we should all eat a lot of vegetables and exercise. I sure as hell wish my partner would follow in the footsteps of Michael, one of the featured dads who gave up smoking before beginning ART. (One useful piece of advice the CDC might’ve shared is that smoking weed is actually the worst for fertility. I find that most people don’t know that.)

To be fair, one of the interviewees in the last video is a single divorced mother who could be Latina. Still, I thought the absence of lesbian (or at least openly lesbian) and non-divorced single parents was conspicuous.

The third video, on single embryo transfers, is the most instructive. It makes a strong case that women undergoing IVF should choose to transfer only one embryo whenever possible, in order to avoid multiple births and the health risks that come with them.

For some reason RE clinics in the US tend to transfer a lot more embryos than their counterparts in other countries. Maybe it’s like supersized 42 ounce McDonalds soda; we just like things bigger and quicker here.

My partner and I still haven’t started the IVF process, but the question of how many embryos to transfer is one I’m thinking about. The 2 week wait will be over in a few days; on Wednesday we have a consult with Dr. Stein. From a previous conversation, I know he is a proponent of transferring two, but will do one “if we really don’t want twins.” This video is a good reminder about the importance of thinking rationally.

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One Response to “CDC talks about ART”

  1. Came across your blog via Stirrup-Queens. Am thoroughly enjoying your posts–well-written and moving.

    We’ve been trying for 1.5 years and are sort of at a standstill on our next move (currently taking Femara). The vibe I get from the RE is I either have to have twins or I have to forego having biological children. At least, that’s the feeling I get. I’ve read some studies about how most European countries tend to transfer just one. Look forward to watching the videos you posted. Thank you for putting your story out there. It can get lonely sometimes.

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