Monday, June 23, 2008

Tai Chai and Vitrification

Experts in any field must feel the same exasperation when lay people try to be experts. Today, for example, the gossip website I was not reading during the workday reported in all caps that the celebrity defendant to a lawsuit "promptly filed an answer and counterclaim" to the plaintiff's complaint. Of course he did. The law requires one who's had their pants sued off to respond promptly, sometimes in 20 days. Silly. And today, when talking to the computer help desk attendant, "Why the hell isn't my wireless working?" "You want me to type what? Backslash, semicolon what? Yes, you have my permission to take over my computer by remote. (*&%$." Said help desk attendant, before taking over my computer remotely, was speaking to me in slow articulations, better for my mentally disabled, learning impaired self to understand I guess.

Same can be said for fertility "advice." This article, for instance, tickled me. Without question the article is written for women in their 20s who won't be reading it anyway because they're in their 20s and doing everything from modern science to voodoo chants not to get pregnant. That aside, I couldn't help but cringe while eye rolling through some of it.

1. "Luckily, fertility isn't a total crapshoot. And though you can't put off pregnancy indefinitely (despite exceptions like Marcia Cross, your odds of conceiving drop substantially after age 35), there's plenty you can do to help keep your body in peak baby-making form."

Eye rolling. Indeed, Marcia Cross would be a great example if she hadn't had in vitro. In vitro with donor eggs. The article should have cited Jennifer "twins run in my family and I knew it would happen in time" Lopez.

2. "Don't worry, be happy. Stress interferes with the brain's bulletins that tell your ovaries to do their monthly job of rolling out an egg, says Sarah L. Berga, M.D., chair of the ob-gyn department at Emory University in Atlanta. If you're a type A (for anxiety and angst), figure out a calm-down solution that works for you, whether it's practicing tai chi or thrashing around to the Foo Fighters, before you get ready to pee on the stick."

Eureeka! Smack head. You wily stress bastard! Had I but known, I would have built a yurt with meditation altar in my backyard years ago. Just think of all the little hippie children I would be tie-dying today. Certainly, I will practice tai chi or thrashing prior to peeing on a stick in the future. And I call myself educated.

3. "Freeze your assets. If sperm are the tough Gap T-shirts of the reproductive world, your ova are like gauzy couture dresses. Until recently, this meant that freezing your eggs was mostly out of the question (the ice crystals that form during the slow-freezing process used on embryos damages eggs). But a new method, called vitrification, involves very rapid icing that safely solidifies the eggs. It's pricey — $6K and up for a single procedure (and the number of good eggs you'll get varies), plus annual storage fees — and it tends to be most successful when you and your ova are young (in your 20s). Though there are no long-term data on the procedure, it's worth investigating if you know your antral count is low or if you're about to undergo a fertility-zapping procedure like chemotherapy."

Interesting, but ridiculous. Assuming that a 20 something would even read this article and isn't trying desperately not to get pregnant and isn't convinced that she'll meet her true love soon and isn't trying to develop her fledgling post college career and isn't paying off student loans and living in a studio apartment and trying to afford a social life and isn't living on ramen noodles and doesn't believe that getting pregnant is a snap anyway, this is great advice.


I recognize that I'm sensitive to these issues. In the interest of full disclosure, yes I did listen to much assvice in the beginning. Cut out caffeine, check. Monitor ovulation, check. Watch the alcohol intake, you betcha. And even got to the point of acupuncture, raspberry leaf tea, avoiding hot baths, baby aspirin. You name it. So it pains me now to read the silliness. In fairness, this particular article does impart some good advice, but the silly advice overshadows the good.



loribeth said...

You crack me up!!

Rachel said...

I read this article last week and as a 20-something infertile I too was more than a bit annoyed. My favorite is that there's not a mention in the article of the male-factor part of creating a baby. It's your straight-up blame the distracted young women article.

gracechild said...

I don't even read stuff like that again. My jaded, "overeducated" mind can't take it. They need to include the address of the wizard that sells stress pills :)

Io said...

Those were my thoughts exactly on the egg freezing - I mean, it's awesome that it is there and can hopefully help some people, especially women with cancer possibly, but who the hell is going to be in their twenties thinking 'Gee, I might not find somebody until I'm 37. Maybe I should spend a crapload of money so I have a shot in case I need young eggs."

luna said...

ugh. I think maybe the reporter should be vitrified.

Shinejil said...

Who in their 20s, as you rightly point out, has a couple K sitting around to freeze their mofo eggs?!?

Tai chi my ass. My cycles got better after I stopped trying to relax and do all that kind of stuff. If "stress" (whatever that means) was such a major factor, humans would have ceased to exist eons ago.

Melody said...

After so much hell trying to get pregnant, my partner and I are half-seriously considering freezing our children's eggs/sperm as a college graduation gift so that maybe they can worry about having kids when they feel like it. Congratulations on your graduation, honey! Take this pill. Your surgery's in two months.

But no-- no 20-year-old woman OR man is going to come up with this on her/his own.

Nic said...

Just cruising blogs and loved this! These 'relaxologists' never seem to touch on people who get pregnant in war zones, or in abusive relationships...guess your ovaries KNOW it's conception clever.

seriously? said...

LOL, I saw this headline and didn't even click because I knew it would be a bunch of junk. It's just a cautionary tale: don't get an education and have a career, get married and make babies. Scare them, tell them they have to do it by 35 or come up with thousands to do it later...