infertility charlatans

"Eat, Pray, IVF" (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. See how many enemies I've made with this bright "Let's all get together and talk religion" idea of mine.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right.  We discussed how Christianity, Hinduism and Islam feel about IVF. On to Judaism. There's nothing like ticking off your own people.So according to an article by Dr. Miryam Z. Wahrman in the Jewish Virtual Library, I'm not the first Jewish woman to have fertility issues: Apparently there are a slew of them in the Bible: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel...

Rachel, for instance, declared to her husband Jacob: "Give me children, otherwise I am dead."

The article suggests that this is because a childless person is as if they're dead.... Or perhaps Rachel was just being dramatic. I don't know the Bible. I just know my sistas.

Then Leah, Rachel's sister, got her hands on some plants which may have helped infertility but didn't want to share.

So poor desperate Rachel begged and whined and kvetched and told Leah that in return for some of them plants she would let her sister "know" her husband Jacob, just for one night, in a Biblical sort of way. 

Then, wouldn't you know it, Leah's fifth son was born nine months after Rachel got her plants.

And join us again tomorrow for "As the Old Testament Turns".

And, by the way, Rachel did get pregnant and had her son Joseph who grew up to become a big tadoo, a big macha: a pillar of the Egyptian community.

(For anyone who reads Spanish, pardon my spelling of the yiddish word "macha", which, for those of you who don't read Spanish means "lesbian". Let it be stated right here. I had no intention of calling Joseph a lesbian.)  

So, how does Judaism feel about IVF?

From what I've read: Not too bad.

As in the other religions we've discussed this week: IVF between a husband and wife. His stuff and her stuff, biologically speaking...is fine.

There is somewhat of an issue of how the sperm sample is going to be procured however. The "spilling of the seed" is not allowed. However, since it's not exactly being spilled but being used for procreation...all is dandy.

(Loophole you say?)

In the case of multiple embryos implanting in the uterus, ending the life of one or some of the fetuses is not considered murder...but it's not allowed either.

Selective reduction is only permitted if the doctor determines that if some weren't taken out, all of them would die.  (What doctor is going to look into his crystal ball and predict that?) 

There is also the issue of what to do with remaining frozen embryos. Of course the couple themselves using them to try for more children is fine.

Destruction of the embryos is not allowed BUT if they thaw on their own and are no longer viable...that would be okay.  (Another loophole you say?)

Donation of the extra embryos to another infertile couple isn't acceptable because, somewhere down the line (skeeve alert) you could inadvertently marry your genetic sibling.

Ancient times maybe. But nowadays couldn't you just say to the couple who got your embryos: "So, could you like text us every time you move for the next couple of decades? We kind of just want to keep track of who you are and where you're living".  

I've actually heard of genetic siblings inadvertently getting engaged...on Maury Povich. But it wasn't from embryo donation. It was from "Eighteen years ago, when Daddy told Mommy he was going to work, he should have gone."

Listen, I gotta go. I've got to go apologize to four different religions on five different continents.

If you have a spare sec: Check out this week's article in "The Health Experts". It's about how to (and not to) ask your doctor questions. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya on Monday.

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Friday)

(Start with "Monday' if you can. You won't regret it. There's some very R-rated stuff this week. "Wednesday" is particularly filthy.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Sperm Boosters. About ten times this week, for some reason, I've almost called them "Sperm Busters". As in "Crime Busters" or "Who ya gonna call? Sperm Busters!"

So,now I've spent a week checking out things which may be either real answers to our fertility issues or just infertility hocus-pocus.

If  infertility stops being a billion dollar business, we'll probably see the same sites with the word "Infertility" crossed out and the word "Cancer" or "Hemhorroids" scribbled over it.

So, like I said, I've got a week of digging into these sites under my belt. (Am I qualified to become an investigative reporter for "Showbiz Tonight"? That's where Tom Brokaw got his start, you know.)

I also spent two years trying to get pregnant. And in those dark, lonely moments, I know that the lines fade between what you really believe and what you're willing to believe. So, I'm absolutely nobody to call anything a scam.

I did, however, learn some handy little tidbits from these sites which I think would be extremely helpful should I ever choose to be an entremanure myself and grow my own scam.

1) Vague is Good. Ridiculous is Better.

Q. Where were your studies conducted?

 A. In ninety-six countries on eight continents.

Q. How many people participated in your focus group?

 A. Several million. None of them have last names and all of them live in places that haven't been invented yet or cities so big, you couldn't possibly ever, never, ever never find them.

The Sperm Booster I looked into had a testimonial from Sommerville, South Carolina. As of yet, I haven't located this woman, or, for that matter, Sommerville, SC. There is indeed a Summerville, SC. So, is this a typo, a place that exists that I just haven't found, or a town six miles due west off the coast of Fantasy Island?

Still, it checked out better than the ovulation booster. I can't find the research that's cited. I can't even find the woman peddling the product. She's apparently search engine shy.        

2) Have a product whose main ingredient comes from a place 99% of Americans will never visit,  and 6% would be able to spell only if it was mentioned repeatedly in Us magazine because a celebrity had named his kid that.

All of these sites peddle these secret, mysterious Asian herbs, mostly from China, up the yin-yang. So, apparently all 1.3 billion Chinese people know about these fertility herbs and none of them are talking.

One day, I'm going to take a trip to China and corner some of them (it would have been unfair of me to say "Shanghai" )

I can imagine their response: "Herb? What herb? What the hell are you people talking about? MSG is not an herb." (Yeah, yeah, I know MSG is probably only used in Chinese restaurants in America to make their food fit in with all the other crap we eat.)     

One site even went as far as to say that these herbs were the reason why China has no infertility. So is there really no infertility in China? There's plenty according to articles on boston.com,womenofchina.cn and asiaone.com.

Of course with that "one child only" policy, one could make the claim that there's no secondary infertility in China.

3) The Ultimate Sales Tool: Guilt

The ovulation booster site goes on and on:

"You really need to act right now."

“Procrastination Will Cost You Big Time”

 

So now you know what your mother has been up to lately.  

Listen, I gotta go. My friend invited us to a pool party this weekend and I have to bring the hose. I need a better class of friends. I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. The meeting upstairs can wait another five minutes. Or six. May as well get a snack too. Who the hell do these people think they are anyway?)  So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Scam artists. Dating back to when Aunt Bee bought an energy elixir from a medicine man passing through Mayberry that turned out to be 40 proof...and centuries before that.

Honestly, I don't have enough chudspa to say that these "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes aren't legitimate. I know that a Reproductive Endocrinologist friend of mine calls them "Bovine Excrement". (He's a gentleman from Texas). But he has a medical degree or two to back up his disdain.

So maybe some of these "out there" solutions to infertility only make sense 1% of the time. When you've been financially, emotionally, and physically exhausted, you're desperately seeking hope... and at that point, a  glimmer is often all it takes. 

There's one group who purports to get "scores" of patients pregnant. Well, in measurements, I think a score is twenty. That's not that many. In bowling, a perfect score is 300. I'm thinking that's not what they mean.

Of course if  a guy "scores", it means he slept with the unlucky broad. That brings us closer to the whole "getting pregnant" thing in a roundabout way.

Anyway, according to this company's info, all the magic is done through massage. I don't know how, but it is.

Massage is one of my favorite things in the world. If I'd only known, years ago, to say something to Olga while she was pounding my lifeless body into the table: "Hey Olga. I'm trying to get pregnant. Could you shake something loose in there?"

And on this company's website, there are, naturally, dozens of testimonials. Poor testimonial women, most of them don't have last names.

Is it because the doctors are protecting their patients' privacy or are they just not printing last names because it was hard enough to make up 40 first names?

And, it all goes way beyond massage.

One study even states that women, oh by the way, also experienced heightened sexual pleasure after having done the massage therapy. Why not? May as well throw that in. Not only will you get pregnant after 8 years of trying, your husband's suddenly a superstar in bed... after 12 years of trying.

The entire therapy includes nutrition, supplements,massage, acupressure (I think a weatherman comes in to do that last one.)

I was reading intently until they mentioned: Herbal tampons. Wow, does that sound itchy.  More uncomfortable, even, than boy shorts, if that's possible. I'd be afraid that every time I uncrossed my legs on the bus, someone would say: "Why do I keep smelling potpourri?"

Listen, I gotta go. I'm an investigative reporter this week. There's work to be done. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Get Pregnant Quick!" Schemes (Monday)

I'm the first to admit it: I'm sometimes naive. I've worked at jobs where I thought a coworker was "high-spirited" all the time, until someone savvier than I  relieved me from my fog by pointing out that they were just "high" (occasionally on spirits) all the time.      I also get confused a lot:  I still can’t tell the difference between Melanie Griffith and Meg Ryan or, for that matter, Dennis Quaid and Kevin Costner. 

For over a year, I thought the singer, Eve and Serena Williams were the same person. Then, when I finally thought I had it sorted out, they both launched fashion lines and got me all mixed up again.

But for things that really matter to me, I'm aware. And I don't like people who peddle "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes. 

The lowest of low-lifes, as far as I'm concerned, are people who take advantage of others at their most vulnerable moments.

Anyone who salivates at the thought of selling some worthless trash bag full of  false hope to a couple desperately trying to have a baby is despicable.

Welcome to the Internet at its worst: Where infectious bacteria can fester and flourish. Where slime can peddle their crap to a million people in the blink of an eye.  

We saw a lot of these humanless humanitarians during 9-11. For a fee, they would promise to help people find out what happened to their loved ones, or help them get benefits for their tragic loss. A few actually pretended they were in mourning to get compensated for loved ones they never lost because they never existed.

So, every few years these (I'm showing great restraint, I think. I've gone several paragraphs and haven't typed "scum bags" once..and you know I've wanted to) low-lifes crawl back out from under their rocks and have another scheme up their louse-infested sleeves.

So, this week we'll focus on those "Get Pregnant Quick" Schemes. And don't feel ashamed if you've tried or thought about trying one of them. These people are good.

If they weren't, they couldn't make a buck. And making a buck is their number one through eight thousand top priorities.  There's a lot of money to be made in this world and a lot more if you have no morals.   

So, like I said: I get confused a lot.

I only found out a few months ago that Mark Walberg who hosts Antiques Roadshow isn’t the Mark Wahlberg from New Kids On the Block.

I couldn’t picture the Roadshow guy in his underwear on a billboard in Times Square. And I couldn’t picture Marky Mark wearing a suit and tie and talking about pottery, but I still couldn't process that they were two totally different people.

But I'll do my best this week to stay lucid long enough to steer you clear of what I consider to be "Get Pregnant Quick" schemes run by people with B.S. degrees... and I think you know: I don't mean Bachelor of Science.

And if you know of any: Do tell!!

Listen I gotta go. My husband just came home with flowers and I have to find out why. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.