So Wrong on So Many Levels

tantekFirst Response, that purveyor of hope and warm fuzzy images of normal fertile ladies, has a new product on the market that tests a woman’s fertility.  Apparently, it “accurately” measures your Day 3 FSH giving you a picture of the quality and quantity of your eggs.  I’m not going to address the fact that FSH is in some circles considered to be an inexact measurement of a woman’s egg quality (note that I didn’t say fertility – a woman can have the eggs of an 18 year old and still be unable to get pregnant due to other issues such as tubal blockage, uterine abnormalities, hormonal issues, etc) nor am I going to address what I consider to be First Response’s blatant use of this product to freak women the f*ck out and make them think that if they have a high FSH, they are permanently screwed. 

No, I’m going to address how they have marketed this scare tactic because it is a real smack to those of us who are fertility challenged.  They have put together a commercial for which I was not able to find a link, but that has been transcribed here

artnooseMy blood started to simmer at the first line, “The moment we pass from womanhood to motherhood, we cross a threshold“.  At least it could be read to include women who become mothers through adoption or even women who provide additional parenting as aunts, etc.  But, what is this magic threshold? Does that mean that you cannot be a mother and a woman?  Or, is it like the field in Iowa where you walk into the corn never to be seen again? What of those women who cannot be mothers or choose not to? Are we left behind in womanhood never to cross this magic Rubicon?

If only that were the top of the mountain.  Instead, it was only the tip of the infuriating ice berg. Here is the real blood boiler line:

Fertility is a woman’s most sacred birthright.”  What. The. F*ck.  Are you shitting me?  If this is the case, then I’ve been totally cheated!  I want my money back!  I’m going to call my parents and tell them that they really screwed this one up. 

 I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how ridiculously awful this is.  It’s as if the most important thing that a woman’s most prized possession is her ability to reproduce, to repopulate the species.  (Notice that there is no mention of man’s most sacred birthright (or as the commentary so eloquently put it, “[s]trangely, I never see Viagra commercials arguing that knocking people up is a man’s most sacred birthright.” That would be sexist, right?)).  And, what of those of us who are infertile? We apparently lack that most sacred of birthrights, and have little else that can be nearly as important as this. We are, in essence, lesser people because of it.  Is it really necessary to beat on infertile women to sell a product?  Have we reached that low?

As unbelievably an eye-roll inducing a statement as it is, I know in my heart that my fertility, or lack thereof, is not a measure of me anymore than it is a sacred birthright.  I cringe at the word birthright anyway because it has so many connotations of people getting things that they have done nothing to deserve, although, frankly, I’ve thought this about quite a few fertile ladies in my day, so many they aren’t that far from the mark.  No, fertility is no more a sacred birthright than expecting that you will have blonde hair or blue eyes.  First and foremost, it is a choice, one of many that women get to exercise now that we have moved out of the Dark Ages.  Women can be mothers, but, they can choose not to be and still have fulfilling, non-spinsterly lives. 

So, shame on First Response for trying to repackage fertility into something that should be seen by women as a thing that they are entitled to or, by extension, must exercise.  

images: upper left – tantek; bottom right – artnoose, both used through Creative Commons.

16 thoughts on “So Wrong on So Many Levels

  1. I saw that commercial last week and practically fell out of my chair.

    Besides the ridiculous voiceover that made me want to smash a chair at my TV and then boycott any First Response product for the rest of my life… I also thought that they really hit a new low suggesting a stick can possibly replace a visit to the RE.

    Then again, some people can’t even read an HPT.. aww, heck… I can’t even go there. The whole thing just makes me gag.

  2. are you serious first f&*king response????

    i’m sure it’s the l.upron talking, but i want to punch someone in the head right now.

  3. Oh, WORD.

    I’ve been seeing this ad for the last few months, and it makes me want to throw the remote through the screen whenever it comes on.

    And, um, excuse me, where’s MY f***in’ birthright? Oh. Right. I suppose the spontaneous genetic f***-up that occurred some time between the 6th and 8th week of my gestation already sealed the deal on that one. “No birthright for you, silly little fetus! You shall forever be a forsaken being!”


    We should write letters to First Response. Though I doubt they’d read them.

  4. I am seeing red, literally. This is the kinda shite that makes me so mad I could throw a horse. Yes, a whole horse!

    You know, if I was much stronger, & could find a horse…

  5. Yeah, makes my blood boil too. All of it: the assumption we all want to be mothers, the assumption that a huge belly is the only route to motherhood, the assumption that knowing your FSH level is some indicator of fertility (just ignoring that as much as 50% of couple-IF may be male-factor related) …

  6. I haven’t seen the commercial…but I still think it’s a load of crap. What I think is worse about it though, aside from their crappy advertising…is that a woman who isn’t getting pregnant may pee on this stupid stick, see what she is supposed to..and then assume all is well in fertility-land and waste another precious year of her fertility away before going to see an expert.

    I would have passed First Response’s fertility test until the cows came home…and would NEVER have gotten pregnant.

    I think this is just another way for them to steal people’s money.

  7. [insert sounds of upchucking here]

    Ack. This is just awful douchbaggery. And so unnecessary. First idiots, I dub them.

    It’s fascinating, though, how much insane mumbo jumbo is still associated with the workings of our reproductive organs. We are seemingly stuck in the Victorian era of simpering maternal ideals. Boo! Boo! They are supremely unhelpful.

  8. Praise God for not having cable – I had NO IDEA. Wow. OK, let’s assume this “sacred birthright” stuff is even remotely legit (or that the ad writer could define either of those words without the help of a dictionary). Correct me if I’m wrong, but they are marketing a product whose function is to inform its purchasers (in a small, easy-to-read window), “YOU’VE BEEN DISINHERITED; AND, YOUR BODY IS NOT SACRED BUT PROFANE.” Is this really where they want to be taking this with their customers? I think something along the lines of “fertility, mysterious, need to mind our bodies, easily accessible previously unavailble information about your health” would do a lot better.

  9. Uhhhh…all I got on this one is : WTF?!?!?!?!?!?

    I wonder what would happen to that product if every woman who ever knew anyone that dealt with IF, or dealt with it herself wrote them a scathing letter decrying their marketing and their product line?

    Obviously someone at that marketing team was NOT thinking outside the box in any way shape or form…

    To quote a dear friend of mine “OY!”

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