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We get Octomom and "Jon & Kate"

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a blog by Pamela Tsigdinos

You'd think the people who gave us the "stiff upper lip" and protocol dictating "One must never touch the Queen" might be a tad reserved when it comes to reproductive issues, but that's just not the case.

Our friends across the pond are perfectly at ease expounding chapter and verse about all matters fertility. It's almost enough to make their more puritanical American cousins blush!

A visit to the larger British newspaper sites offers a distinct contrast to what we find closer to home, with routine reports on the biological, emotional and societal issues associated with conception - or the lack thereof. Consider this recent piece, "Women Urged to Test for Fertility at 30," which calls for greater education and awareness about an individual's likelihood for problems on the repro front:

    "We should be teaching everyone, from childhood up, about all the factors linked to fertility potential, and how the huge range of things from lifestyle choices to genetic inheritance can have harmful effects on that potential."

Here, here, I say!

Then there's the "Fertility Files," a standing feature in the British newspaper, The Times, that makes no bones about the myriad challenges couples face in trying to create a family with headlines ranging from "Is Your Career Making You Infertile?" to "Food Packaging Chemicals Link with Reduced Fertility."

Outside of FertilityAuthority, you could spend hours online trying to decipher the more narrowly focused reproductive sites. They're difficult to understand primarily because they're aimed at the medical community, not your average Jane or Joe.

What do we get in the United States mainstream media? Tabloid headlines about Octomom and reality TV shows about super-sized families that all but equate a trip to the fertility clinic with producing a basketball team. They hardly telegraph useful information or highlight the more typical fertility treatment outcomes. At worst, they mislead couples who are blissfully ignorant (at their peril) about the myriad biological and environmental factors that can decrease the odds for successful pregnancy.

You can't help but wonder what today's teens or young women and men here in the U.S. think or know about their reproductive potential.

Until we routinely have candid and objective discussions about the complete fertility story (not simply those focused solely on prevention), we risk creating a new generation of otherwise healthy couples who one day will be shocked to learn that they're not the reproducing machines they were led to believe they were.

Now, tea and crumpets, anyone?

Comments (1)

Pamela, all I can say is Wow! You really say it the way it is. Thanks for this perspective, I guess I never really thought about in this way.

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