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There's A Funny Thing About Infertility in the Media

a blog by Claire, February 20, 2013

The funny thing about infertility is that few people talk about it unless it involves a recap of your favorite show around the water cooler on a Monday morning. Infertility is becoming a widespread topic in the media from TV show and movie plot lines to celebrities speaking out on their fertility issues. You may strike up a surprising conversation with a friend or coworker about infertility that you otherwise would not have anticipated had it not been for infertility’s place in the media spotlight.

Here are a few of our favorite infertility plot lines at Fertility Authority:

Downton Abbey
Whether you’re a dedicated viewer or you haven’t caught a single episode, you have heard of Downton Abbey. With the shocking season finale this week and a strong infertility story line, there is no way we can get away from talking about it. Mary (played by Michelle Dockery) and Matthew Crawley (Daniel Stevens) have struggled to conceive for several months. Mary receives word that her younger sister, Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), has conceived unexpectedly and very quickly after her marriage to Tom Branson (Allen Leech). Mary and Matthew each travel to a fertility doctor in London, secretly and alone, and Mary undergoes a procedure to clear her uterus to aid in conception. Ultimately, Mary conceives and gives birth to a son, the new heir of Downton Abbey. There is also a theme of miscarriage as Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) suffered a pregnancy loss after a fall in the bathroom.

30 Rock
Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey), a single and hard-working TV writer, catches the baby bug and decides she wants to be a mom. She begins fertility treatments, but can’t handle the hormone surge from the fertility drug injections, and decides to pursue adoption instead.

How I Met Your Mother
“HIMYM” is known for surprise pregnancy announcements and in 2011, Robin (played by Cobie Smulders) was one of them. She first suspected she was pregnant and deduced that the father would have been Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris). Robin panicked at the thought of losing her independence, then discovered she was not only not pregnant, but also infertile.

Baby Mama
Another infertility role for Tina Fey, Baby Mama’s comedic plot focuses on Kate’s anxiety as she watches her surrogate, Angie (played by Amy Poehler), haphazardly move through the motions of pregnancy. Angie wavers on keeping the baby and, after a court hearing, is awarded maternity of the child. Angie apologizes to a devastated Kate who forgives her and rushes her to the hospital when her water breaks. Kate passes out during Angie’s delivery and we come to find she is pregnant by boyfriend, Rob.

Disney Pixar’s UP
An unexpected plot for a children’s movie, UP follows story of Carl and Ellie Fredricksen who meet as young children fascinated with adventure and tales of explorer, Charles Muntz. Fast forward through their youth and the two decide to marry. They try for a child and decorate a nursery within the first scenes of the movie. The movie then cuts to Carl comforting Ellie in what appears to be a doctor’s office as she cries. The assumption is that she is grieving the miscarriage of their child. Carl is later left a widower after Ellie falls gravely ill and the story picks up as Carl and a young Wilderness Explorer, Russell, take the trek to Paradise Falls, Venezuela, living out Ellie’s dream.

Sometimes getting the infertility conversation going creates a forum for sharing your own story. With 1 in 6 couples being diagnosed with infertility, you just never know who shares your struggle. What’s your favorite TV or movie plotline portrayal of infertility? We’d love to hear about it on


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