Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trivializing Infertility

I recently read a blog post on the AFA Blog about actor Neil Patrick Harris and his partner using a surrogate to have a child. They are expecting twins. You can read the blog post here. I was very disappointed to see this story featured on an infertility blog. I have my personal feelings regarding gay and lesbian couples having children but that is not where my disappointment stems from. What bothers me is that someone is trying to include alternative relationships as a form of infertility. Really? How can you call a gay relationship a medical condition? Because infertility is a medical condition! To include alternative lifestyles in the realm of infertility trivializes the medical aspect of infertility. How can you compare the two? I am not denying the fact that gays and lesbians have the right to have a family. That is their choice. Nor do I think that it is any less painful for a gay or lesbian couple. But I do not agree with calling it infertility.

Any thoughts on this? Please share!


  1. I get where you are coming from, but after reading the story, it didn't say "infertility" or "infertile" once through the whole thing. The afa states in it's mission that they support "building families", not necessarily just those clinically infertile. At least, that's how I took it. There is a big difference, but I don't see anything offensive about the post. Hope the impending birth of Maddie goes smoothly! You're almost there! :)

  2. I agree with Anon,I didn't feel it was refering to the gay couple as infertile. However this is a tough subject. To me infertile means that you are not able to conceive a child and in this sense it is true. The two of them together can not, but individually with a female they may or may not. Since being gay is not a choice, it does make them unable to conceive a child with their same sex partner. Maybe infertile is not the right choice of word, but in definition I believe it to be true. Thanks for this thought provoking post!

  3. I agree with you- I don't think a story like that belongs on an infertility site. Waaaay different scenerios!

  4. I agree.. I wouldnt call it "Infertility"

  5. My first thought was wow, after 5 pregnancy losses, I have had two REs flat out refuse help us use a gestational carrier because a. one believes I can be helped to carry to term with immune treatments and b. the other one can't identify a specific problem with my uterus, so says it would be unethical to bring another person into the equation. (Really, can you believe it?!) I never thought of it in terms of two men using a surrogate no questions asked. Maybe I should find out who their RE was!

    Another thought is that I had a lesbian co-worker who brought a book of sperm profiles to work one day, professing her infertility. I just had to stay away from that situation. To get a referral to an RE, I had to have documentation that my husband and I had been TTC for one year on our own. Of course, one session at home with a turkey baster (seriously, not even an IUI), and she was pg with twins.

    So, yeah, that kind of story on an IF site is a bit strange to me.

  6. uh....a lot I could say here, but I won't ; )
    I will say, this is NOT a case of infertility and I am surprised to see it on an IF blog/website.

    Praying you are holding your sweet precious girl in your arms SO very SOON! (((HUGS)))

  7. Wow! Sounds like you opened a can of worms! :) I have my own opinion on gays/lesbians but try my best to reserve judgement on them....I try to leave that up to God. I do, however, think that they are capable of raising children just as well as any of us. I think a persons sexual orientation has nothing to do with how well they could treat and teach a child. HOWEVER, to call the hurdles they need to jump in order to have children infertility is assinine. Can it be considered infertility if the two major parts needed (sperm and an egg) arent even beeing introduced to each other? Congrats to NPH and all the others who have conceived thru unconventional methods, but please do not lump yourselves into a catagory you do not belong! Those of us who cannot have children ache when you trivialize our sufferring!

  8. Ooooh! I love a good controversy! Thanks for posting, Jess!
    I admire that you are willing to put your opinion out there and let the rest roll, ready and wanting to hear what others have to say. Very cool.

    So, here are my 2 cents. Princeton.edu defines infertile as:
    incapable of reproducing; "an infertile couple"

    So, if we look at it this way, NPH and his partner are clearly infertile as a couple. NO, that doesn't necessarily mean that as individuals if they each copulated with a woman they they wouldn't be able to achieve pregnancy (however they WOULD be scarred for life after they ran out of the room screaming). It means as a couple that they are infertile, and to me, this is they key. For example, my hubby has supersperm. His swimmers are impressive. We have evidence (medical and otherwise) of this. However, I don't have any eggs. Period. BUT, we are in this together and that makes US infertile. Right?

    I suppose it all goes back to whether or not one sees being gay as a choice or that people who are homosexual are born homosexual. I have seen too many people who are gay struggle with very painful situations in life that they would have never chosen, to believe that they were not born gay, any more than you or I were born straight.

    Okay, sounds like we've solved the world's problems. Next topic?

    Oh, and tell Maddie that we are all patiently waiting!!! Sheesh! How did the spicy food and hot lovin' work out for you?

  9. Some very good responses ladies!!!

    Oh, and Lacie, nothing is working!! I think that I will have the gestational period of an elephant!

  10. Just a little info on AFA, where you saw the post. They also include alternative family building as part of their mission.
    You are right to say that gay couples are not necessarily infertile in the strictest sense, but they do suffer from the same strong urge to parent and seek similar solutions as hetrosexual couples (like IVF) to build families.

  11. Interesting and thought-provoking... I went into it with the same thoughts you have, but it was interesting to read others' opinions. At the risk of sounding too neutral, I can see it both ways.

  12. As a hetero person w/ PCOS I don't feel like my situation is trivialized by gay couples or single people claiming the label of "infertile." People should be able to name their own experiences.

    Anyway, in most places in the US, and I'm sure in other countries, there is a lot more state support for infertile hetero married couples than queer, unmarried or single people who want kids.

  13. No I don't agree that it is infertility...but then can I call myself infertile? My DH cannot have children but I can, being a couple, we are infertile together, does not matter which one of us is infertile, if one of us is, we BOTH are. I guess this whole issue depends on how you personally relate, ANY instance of infertility or inability to have children is devastating when it is your dream. That being said, I do not agree that a gay couple would be infertile as they are chemically born unable to do so, male and female (usually) are born with the ability, or at least have the parts able to do so.

  14. I am not trying to be snarky but you come off really judgmental in this particular post. I hope that through your life experiences you grow to look at everyone and everyone's experiences as just that "their" experiences.


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