The Hemp Connection + [tips]

Time to talk about the octuplets

OK, I watched the interview. I've also been talking to women seeking infertility treatment for going on 10 years. I've heard the same story coming from Atlanta, Columbus, and Sacramento. In that time, I've also worked to create a program that serves as an alternative for those who could benefit. I think I've got enough observations under my belt to contribute an informed opinion about what goes on in the incredibly emotional, expensive, and at times, dangerous, world of reproductive endocrinology.

First and foremost, the fact that we can create babies in so many ways other than the one Mother Nature originally designed…is pretty much a miracle. It is a gift that we as medical professionals can provide this help. That's right, it's a gift. We should accept it with humility and treat it with respect. I never forget that. Every single time I have a new appointment, in person or on the phone, I pause to say a prayer,"God, your will, not mine." I take this work that seriously.

There are some incredible practitioners out there who do their work with respect and humility. However, because infertility treatment is, much of the time, not a medical issue that insurance will pay for…it is a huge money maker for those who practice it. Which means it also attracts individuals with reasons other than altruism for being in the business.

And it is those practitioners who, unfortunately, have pushed the science of reproductive endocrinology ahead much more quickly than those with a conscience have been able to formulate and communicate appropriate codes of ethics by which that science would best be used.

Let's look at how the dynamic develops.

1. You've got a woman who believes she's 100% normal in the reproductive department, who assumes that when the time comes, she'll marry, have children, and happily continue the cycle of life. She may go to the doctor for a routine physical or go because she's not been able to conceive after 6 months of trying. She's told she may have trouble having children. She may be told that she may not be able to have children. Or…as many of my own clients have shared, she may be told that there is no way she will have children without paying thousands of dollars to the man in front of her to make it happen. She has been told that, instead of creating a life with her significant other, in a loving and intimate environment, she must consent to an expensive, invasive, very sterile, and potentially humiliating procedure which can leave her feeling more like a laboratory rat than a beautiful woman and loving-mother-in-the-works. And the person who will be making this happen is not only not someone who loves her, but someone who's going to hand her a huge invoice at the end of the encounter.

2. The combination of desperation on one side of the room and greed on the other…is highly likely to not play out in a way that prioritizes honesty and integrity.

3. A very high percentage of the women I encounter in this work are intelligent and high achieving; everything they've ever wanted in life, from an education, a career, a home of their own, has been attainable with focus and hard work. So being told that one of life's most basic functions, fertility, may not be yours for the taking, becomes one of the most frustrating, confining, maddening, esteem-assaulting things they've ever been forced to ask to accept. The only thing left to throw at the situation is…you guessed it…money.

4. And because this population is so high-achieving and intelligent, they often have that money. Money that can pay for procedures they may not necessarily need. But that they are highly likely to spend because their desperation is being viewed as a profit center for the person sitting on the stool next to their examination table.

5. It just goes downhill from there. On almost a daily basis at this point, I have a conversation with someone who's been through this wringer who finds this blog, who wants help and has been so brainwashed into believing that her problem is so bad that only tens of thousands of dollars and a person with a certain diploma on the wall can fix it. Even when we put solutions and testimonials and support on this blog, completely for free, the sales job these women have been given is so complete and so convincing, dozens and dozens and dozens of women do not even give any other kindler, gentler, less invasive and dangerous option an iota of consideration. So they empty out their bank accounts. Sometimes they get a baby. Sometimes they don't.

When I do my PCOS trainings, I always invite women with the syndrome to come in and share their stories to those who want to help women who have this diagnosis. I do it because I want those who have no experience with the infertility world to understand just how much anxiety and depression their future clients have. They need to understand just how much compassion we owe them when they come to us for help.

Sometimes I sit and listen to the spiels these women have been given about what they must do (which invariably includes making a monthly payment on their physician's mountain home) in order to have a family. And I wonder why this guy bothered spending all the money to get a medical degree when he could simply have left high school and made much bigger fortune selling used cars at the parking lot down the street.

I reiterate, I have had the good fortune of meeting and working with many kind, compassionate, intelligent, and ethical reproductive endocrinologists. I am happy to support their work and the miracles they have been given the talents and power to create.

But I also have a lot of trouble with physicians who forget that they are not God. They are not even one step away from God. They're preying on insecurity and desperation that risks the lives of the women asking for help and the babies who didn't even ask to be part of the situation.

I'm not at all happy to hear this story coming out of California. But…maybe the fact that this happened will encourage more scrutiny of the entire reproductive industry as a whole. Maybe we'll finally work on a code of ethics to protect all of the lives involved. Those who do this work for the right reason deserve to shine and be rewarded. And those who would be better off selling Yugos…can be nudged into the polyester suits and those dusty, moldy offices on America's seediest of car lots.