Monday, February 18, 2008

Tyra Banks outdoes Oprah!

I just recorded and watched the Tyra Banks show on infertility. Or as they called it, “Motherhood At Any Cost”. For what it’s worth, the show wasn’t half bad. I think they did a decent job (considering the type of show) of discussing the general concept of IF treatment and the emotional toll involved.

For anyone who didn’t get a chance to see the show, I’ll go over the basics. They brought on a quasi-celebrity couple to share their infertility struggles. Not that it should make a difference, but when celebrities speak on an issue, it gets more attention so I think it was a bonus.

The couple, Trista and Ryan from “The Bachelorette” didn’t discuss in great detail what they went through. They just did an overview of the whole process from difficulties with conception to a difficult pregnancy/delivery.

I was happy that Trista was well versed (unlike Alexis Stewart on Oprah) and used words like hysterosalpingogram when discussing the treatment she went through.

Trista and Ryan also mentioned the emotional difficulties they endured with infertility. They discussed how shocking it was to have their near perfect lives go off track.

Ryan also admitted that having sex on a schedule for two years wasn’t as fun as it might sound. It’s been my experience that most people think a man would be happy to perform on a schedule, because it’s guaranteed sex, and hey, what man wouldn’t want that. Those folks aren’t thinking about how stressful it can become if one person isn’t in the mood, or doesn’t feel well, or even worse has to be out of town making that month a missed opportunity.

I was happy that the show brought to light the commonness of infertility. I was also pleased that “just adopt” was never uttered or the desire to have children (biological or adopted) was never looked down upon! That alone put's Tyra's show a step above Oprah's shows on IF.

Unfortunately, the show did go off track with a ridiculous ‘Jerry Springer’ guest. The offensive woman was having unprotected sex to become pregnant against the wishes of her boyfriend…stupid. Since that had nothing to do with infertility, I’m going to pay it no mind.

Endometriosis (my specialty) seemed to be the common theme. I was happy to see it discussed, but thought the show could have been better rounded. PCOS, low ovarian reserve, or maybe male infertility could have been brought up as additional factors. The ill-informed masses might get the impression that endo is the only disease causing IF, but then again it was only an hour long show.

Also, the different methods of treatment weren’t fully explained, although most were mentioned at some point. They did speak of sperm banks, IUI (referred to as artificial insemination) and adoption in a very positive light.

A couple in the audience stood up and discussed not only the difficulties in conceiving due to endometriosis, but the financial burden pursuing IVF is and through tears how difficult it is to lose not one, but two pregnancies. The shocker is that they shared with the world that they just found out she is pregnant again. Whoa.

Another guest, a 29 year old single woman explained that she has severe endometriosis which has required multiple surgeries. She is aware that her window of opportunity is closing and that if she doesn’t act now, she may never have a biological child. To the disappointment of some of her family, she is pursuing IUI with donor sperm in hopes of conceiving before it’s too late.

It may be a bit dramatic on its face (which is why, I'm sure she was chosen as a guest), but it brings to the forefront the difficulties facing women who are affected with a disease that causes infertility. Tyra applauded her for being so aggressive in going after what she wants, another contrast to the ‘O’ mentality of letting go.

The last guest was the founder of Conceive magazine, Kim Hahn (she adopted after several IVF attempts). She briefly went over when ovulation normally occurs in a cycle and the fact that women’s fertility declines as she ages. She even mentioned FSH as an indicator of ovarian reserve and egg quality. Whoa, real factual information.

The final moments featured a woman who (I think) works on the Tyra Banks Show, showing off her brand new baby through adoption.

So overall, I was pleased with the tone of the show. They focused mostly on the positives and showed women (and couples) as normal people dealing with a difficult medical condition. Not as crazy, pathetic or selfish.

Way to go Tyra Banks! (I can't believe I just wrote that, ha ha)

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