Monday, December 6, 2010

It Just Ain't Right, Man

Sometimes when I sign onto Facebook, I feel like I'm being stalked. Somehow the the little minions behind the advertising on that site know all my deepest hopes and fears. How do I know this? Because every time I sign on the ads read, "Are You a Mom?" No, and it's a rather painful subject, so thanks for asking "Want FREE Baby Stuff?" Well I'd like to have a need for free baby stuff. "Meet Other Moms in Atlanta" Thanks, but you might be using the word other incorrectly. And then there's the ultrasound tech one and the Picabo one that don't taunt me with their words, but with pictures of babies instead.

Most of the time, these just make me laugh at their irony. But there's one that ticks me off. Maybe you've seen it. It's an ad for a book that promises to show women one simple trick to get pregnant quick. Obviously, it's a scam. It doesn't take a Mensa member to figure out that if my doctors - experts in the field of reproductive science - can't get us pregnant, some author with no medical training has nothing of substance to offer. From the beginning of time women have struggled to get pregnant, and if there was one simple way to make it happen, we'd know it by now. But it's painfully tempting. I want to believe this woman really has a magic cure all.

A few months ago, there was a thread on the infertility forum I visit from time to time in which someone mentioned that book (or one similar). Every other girl who commented said the same thing, "Don't buy it, it's a scam." But I totally felt for the original poster. She saw something that promised hope in an otherwise hopeless situation and she desperately wanted to believe it was real.

I hate that there are people in this world willing to profit off other's emotional pain. I'm certain the writers and sellers of that book know they don't hold a magic secret trick to getting pregnant. But they also know that there are women just desperate enough to buy it.

The whole experience of infertility is so hopeless and confusing that it's easier than it should be to take advantage. It's done in fertility clinics, too. During IVF treatments, doctors convince women that their only hope of having a child is to implant 5 or 6 embryos. And so, the couple agrees. Only to then be told by the same doctor that their only hope of having a live birth is to "selectively reduce" the number of babies growing in that woman's womb. In the end, the couple has their child and the clinic has an even greater success rate. So the end justifies the means, right? Or not.

I'm not saying all clinics work this way. In fact, I think most probably do have good intentions and high ethical standards. I'm just saying I've read enough and heard enough in my own journey to know this happens. And I've experienced the feelings of desperation, of wanting to do absolutely anything to get pregnant to understand WHY it happens.

And sadly, working in adoptions, I know it happens there, too. I'm sad to say that I've seen couples taken advantage of. There are "companies" who do horribly unethical things to make a buck. Birthmoms allow a couple to pay for their medical bills and their living expenses throughout their pregnancy only to change their minds and walk away from the adoption. Leaving the potential adoptive parents with empty arms and an empty wallet. And yes, I know, oftentimes a birthmom has the absolute best of intentions when making an adoption plan for their child, and the best of intentions when they then decide to parent. I also know that there are women whose intentions are nothing close to honorable, who plan from the beginning to use prospective adoptive parents for their own gain.

I really think that in most cases, fertility clinics and adoption agencies are ethical and truly care about the people they are serving. And in most cases, women who choose adoption for their child are truly seeking the best life for that child.

But there are times when a couple who has gone through years of infertility, who have seen their hopes dashed time and again, are taken advantage of. There are people who see their hurt and their longing for a child as an opportunity for personal gain. And that breaks my heart.


Cyndee said...

Dad and I have cynically come to the conclusion that a very large majority of advertising is nothing more than the companies (both legitimate and scams)taking advantage of people's hurts, fears or lack of knowledge. No wonder we are all struggling financially on top of everything else!

Shannon said...

Hmmm, apparently FB was trying to let you know something:)