Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yet Another Disappointing Media Experience

FAM just cannot get a media break. About 6 weeks ago, I posted a call for interviewees for an article being written for New York Magazine. I had been interviewed and had spent a fair amount of time talking to and emailing the author (who was gracious and professional with me - no complaints there). Alas, the article came out, and I found it be tremendously disappointing, particularly in light of the fact that it was a very long article, the cover story of New York Magazine, which could have had some impact, had it been focused differently. If you missed the article, you can read it here: 

The article does present a reasonably accurate description of how Fertility Awareness works. So what's my problem? 
-The premise is thin and faintly ridiculous, not to mention alarmist: that the Pill "creates" a type of infertility, by causing women to postpone having children, as if women are unaware that having children at an older age is more difficult.
-It completely trivializes the health risks and side effects of hormonal contraception. (It's as safe as taking a vitamin!)
-The author refers to Fertility Awareness as a more sophisticated version of the Rhythm Method. Which is sort of like saying that a car is a more sophisticated version of a bicycle. 
-The contextualization of Fertility Awareness is completely off-base. The article doesn't discuss FA for contraception, and only a bit as a tool for health, but primarily as the largest factor in a "cult market" [which] has cropped up catering to women in the process of rediscovering their bodies when they go off the Pill." 
-One final choice quote: "You're not going to find anyone, male or female, who isn't a little grossed out by the words egg-white cervical fluid, but it's just basic biology." 

Women, are you "grossed out" by the normal, healthy functioning of your body? Does talking about the evidence of your juicy fertility, which may be accompanied by feelings of sexiness, not to mention a little awe at the power you hold within you, disgust you? If you have a male partner, does he run and hide if you tell him about the clear, slippery fluid at your labia? I didn't think so. 


Anonymous said...

A comment on this quote from the article you sent out:
"This October, Bayer, the biggest maker of contraceptives in the world, even came out with Beyaz, a Pill that includes the same folic acid that women who are trying to conceive are supposed to take every day to reduce the incidence of some birth defects—just in case the Pill doesn’t work."

The Pill depletes folic acid. Not only does folate prevent neural tube defects and spina bifida, it is essential for many metabolic functions including lowering homocysteine levels (which are associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic, inflammtory conditions).
Furthermore, adding folic acid to an already existing drug a drug company's lazy way to stay in the game without forking out for R&D. Another recent example is the osteoporosis drug "Fosavance"; the same old bisphosphonate drug as Fosamax with vitamin D added. The patent protection on Fosamax recently ran out [surprise] and a generic is now available. So, what does the company do? Rather than inventing a new drug, they throw some cheap vitamin D into the drug they've already got and voila - new patent. Now, rather than paying scientists to develop new drugs, they pay sales reps to go "educate" doctors on how important vitamin D is and how great the "new" Fosavance is. Meanwhile, patients are paying premium prices for the "latest and greatest" osteoporosis drug, when they couldve stuck w their same old generic for cheap and grabbed a bottle of vitamin D off the shelf for 3 bucks!

- your colleague in Pharmacy, Lisa on Vancouver Island

Fertility Awareness Center said...

Thanks for the EXCELLENT observations, Lisa!

lynn said...

Wow, what an annoying article! I especially liked the suggestion that the side effects of the pill were not real and basically in a woman's head. After all, how could throwing synthetic hormones into a woman's body ever be a bad thing?


Sarit Rothberg said...

It's a shame that it isn't better known.
When I learnt fertility awareness I told everyone I could thinking they would be as excited as me.
From your post I can see that the problem is bigger than I thought.
I hope we can spread the word about it! :)