Today, I’m pleased to host Bette Lamb who discusses her research into infertility clinics. I was certainly surprised by what she found. Are you?
“You and I know that without babies we are nothing.
A hiss of surprise escaped Petra’s lips. “Dr. Vesey–“
“Oh, I say what’s expected to my patients. But you’re not my patient anymore, are you? We’re just two barren women facing a meaningless future.”
This interchange comes from our new novel, Sisters in Silence, where a fertility counselor takes on a ”noble mission” to save her barren sisters from suffering — by killing them.
That’s probably not what actually happens when you go to a fertility clinic for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). I mean you don’t end up dead, but you do end up with a murdered bank account and a pummeled ego hovering around zero.
Consider this: For women over thirty-five who want a baby, the news is not good. That’s no matter what they do — with technology or without it. To me, that alone was a surprising piece of information. BTW, every time I blink, the age that determines whether your eggs are too old keeps getting younger. The last figure I heard, off the record, was 27 years old.
When I started researching our medical thriller (the novel is co-written with J. J. Lamb), the media buzz was all about women pursuing their careers and waiting to have babies later – sometimes well into their fifties. And women buy it – I mean, against all reason, they believe it.
I’ve talked to intelligent, savvy women in their mid-forties who say, “I’m just beginning to think about having a baby.” And many might as well keep right on thinking about it. Because no matter how young you look or how much you’re into Pilates, or how many vitamins you take, or whether the forties are the new thirties, you’re in for a surprise when you take that first trip to a fertility specialist who you’ll probably have to end up seeing. You’ll be floored.
When I started delving into this specialty for our book, the statistics for success knocked me over. My day job, for most of my career, was as an RN in Ob/Gyn. I thought I knew exactly the kind of information I would find. After all, these clinics are everywhere. They have to deliver the goods to keep the doors open. Right? Wrong.
Most women seeking professional help DO NOT SUCCEED. That means they do not walk away with a baby that they carry to term and deliver. In fact, the odds of success are pretty grim: From about 4% for women older than 42, to a high of 37% for women under 35. (After a woman reaches her mid thirties, success rates start to tank dramatically.).
Put yourself in the skin of a 42-year-old woman who has a successful career, a stable relationship, and some money put away. Watch her after starting down the ART runway. In the first steps, she looks like a million – she’s confident, she knows she’ll be in that winning percentage of women coming home with a baby.
And I’ll bet she doesn’t even want to hear about surrogacy (using some other people’s eggs) or adoption. Babies are not that available and who wants some older kid? After several cycles of hormones that make her feel like she’s losing her mind, a love life that is based on her cyclic ticking clock, a significant other who’s now having ED because of the scheduled sexual demands that have nothing to do with lust, life becomes hell in a toaster.
This is the world of our fictional fertility counselor. A world of disappointments, lost love, and unfulfilled expectations day after day. That might drive you off your rocker, too.
Bette Golden Lamb is unmistakably from the Bronx – probably why she likes to write thrillers. When she isn’t writing crime novels, you can find her in her studio playing with clay. Her artistic creations appear in juried regional, national, and international exhibitions. She sells through galleries, associations, and stores. She’s also an RN, which explains, Bone Dry, a medical thriller, and Heir Today, an adventure/thriller which also has a medical aspect to it. And just released at Amazon .com, Sister in Silence, a medical thriller about barren women — available as an ebook or trade paperback. Both books were co-authored with husband J.J. Lamb. You can learn more about Bette here: