Many of us who have experienced infertility get irritated by some of the story lines we see in movies and books. At their worst, they perpetuate misconceptions and stereotypes such as the idea that most women who experience infertility are over age 35, or that if you adopt, you’ll forget about trying to conceive and–BOOM!–you’ll get pregnant. So here’s the rub: these films and books are supporting the idea that the infertile couple is to blame (you delayed childbearing to focus on your career!) and infertility is not a medical condition, it’s simply a matter of being in the wrong state of mind (you’re too stressed!).
Pop Culture Influences Perception
Television programs, movies, and novels influence the public’s perception of a wide range of issues. The influence of media, particularly broadcast media, is well documented. So, if we, the men and women who are experiencing infertility, want to see changes in how the public views infertility, then we need to support filmmakers, television show producers, and authors who are willing to create content that presents this issue in realistic ways, even in the context of a fictionalized story.
Significant Implications for Real People
Maybe you think this is all too “big picture” to matter. But it does matter. It matters a great deal. Shifting public opinion is the first step toward changing public policies related to infertility. When people who aren’t living with infertility as a part of their daily lives accept that this is a medical condition, they’re more compassionate toward those suffering through it. Compassion is important in gaining broader support for mandating insurance coverage of fertility treatments. According to RESOLVE, the national infertility advocacy organization, only 15 states require insurance companies to offer fertility coverage. And some of those states have loopholes, watering down the mandate. I know firsthand the burden of paying for treatments with little or no help from the insurance company. It only adds more heartache to an emotional situation.
In writing INCONCEIVABLE!, I want to give an in-depth, accurate look at what it’s like for a young couple to be in the throes of infertility. It’s my goal to get people talking about adoption, surrogacy, and other alternatives to birthing children because pregnancy is not the only happy ending option for an infertile couple. Miscarriage is also addressed in my novel, and we need to see more support and resources available to couples (women AND men) who are grieving after pregnancy loss. Quite simply, this is the most compelling case I can make for purchasing INCONCEIVABLE.
Let me know if you think there needs to be more movies and novels that address infertility in ways that reflect real life.