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The Fertile World and The Infertile World

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a blog by Ellen Glazer, August 19, 2010

I have been working in the field of infertility for three decades, and yet I am still surprised by how little the Fertile World knows about the Infertile World.

Of course we are all familiar with members of the Fertile World who have no idea what they are conveying when they say:

  • “Oh you’ll see—you will start the adoption process and then you will get pregnant. It happens all the time!”
  • Or, “Why don’t you just adopt?”
  • Or, “You don’t realize how lucky you are to be able to go out anytime you want without having to go looking for a babysitter.”
  • Or, simply, “I can’t believe I’m pregnant again.”

Ill-chosen words are hard to avoid when you are traveling in the Fertile World.

What surprises me are not the foolish comments people make or the insensitive questions. They are all too familiar. What puzzles me, rather, is that fact that the Fertile World is so unfamiliar with the Infertile World.

I have often been in the company of highly educated people — many of them physicians — who have little idea what egg donation is. Similarly, these are people who do not know the difference between an insemination for purposes of enhancing fertility and donor insemination. Nor are they aware that nowadays, surrogates/gestational carriers are rarely pregnant with their own eggs.

Where does that leave you if you are in the Infertile World? My answer is: with options. You can become an educator, trying to explain things, or you can take some measure of comfort in knowing that for most people, all that really matters is that babies arrive and people become parents. Everyone loves a baby and most are much more interested in holding your newborn than in delving much into how he or she joined your family.

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