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How is Infertility Just Like Legitimate Rape?

Do you know what I love?  When my medical condition is dragged into a Representative’s explanation of rape.  Because nothing does more to help mainstream America understand my often misunderstood medical condition than to have it used to explain how stress shuts down a body and doesn’t allow babies to be made.  So thanks, Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia.  You made my morning with your commentary on Todd Akin’s legitimate rape statement.

I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right, wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.

So, put down that Follistim needle and pick up that glass of red wine.  Don’t be such a tense, uptight, Type-A, anal… wait a second.

I think Resolve may have put out a statement or something about this.  What did they say again?

Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

So what we’re saying is that Gingrey sucks as a doctor, a Representative, and a man who needs to interact with the women who comprise about 50% of the world.  That he’s an OB/GYN who doesn’t seem to have a grasp on factors that cause anovulation (Rep. Gingrey, here’s a nice article from the NIH you can familiarize yourself with.  You may notice that “relaxation” isn’t under one of their recommended treatments for anovulation, but what does the NIH know?)  That he’s a politician who doesn’t seem to realize that technology exists to record his statements even if he attempts to backpedal after backlash. And he’s a person who doesn’t seem to realize that talking about rape in these terms is not just “a little over the top.”

Rape is rape. And leave infertility out of it.


1 Tara { 01.12.13 at 11:09 am }

A lot of these politicians just need to stop opening their mouths as every time they do nothing but word vomit comes out. I really think this jackhole got his degree out of a cracker jack box because any OB/GYN who thinks a glass of wine is going to magically help someone who has infertility is an idiot and isn’t deserving of the title doctor.

2 kateanon { 01.12.13 at 11:52 am }

When these men directly experience infertility or rape, then they can tell me what they think. Until then, I feel they should STFU.

3 Another Dreamer { 01.12.13 at 1:39 pm }

When I read his statement it really upset me too. The amount of ignorance out there astounds me.

4 Mary { 01.12.13 at 2:37 pm }

“All that adrenaline” makes me want to pick this man up and throw him through a plate glass window. Apparently, if you’re 14 and get pregnant, you can’t have been raped and must just be lying to get your boyfriend in trouble. Sheesh.

5 KER { 01.12.13 at 3:09 pm }

The child I’m carrying right now was conceived one week after my three year old started having seizures, which proved to be quite difficult to control. Just prior to that, she was having symptoms which may have been consistent with a pontine glioma- a tumor with a 100% fatality rate.

Tell that to the next who tells you to relax and you’ll get pregnant.

6 Illanare { 01.12.13 at 3:10 pm }


7 meghan { 01.12.13 at 4:07 pm }

Politically, I don’t understand why he ever even brought this up. It could come to no good.

Personally, I’m just glad he wasn’t my OB and I just hope that there is enough public backlash against his statements that a few more people get educated. Guess I’m having one of those days where I’m a hopeless optimist 😉

8 Chickenpig { 01.12.13 at 6:18 pm }

I want them to explain to me how having a glass of wine and relaxing will improve my husband’s sperm quality and get rid of his sperm antibodies, because we’ve been pretty damned relaxed on several occasions in the last 13 years, and only IVF seems to do the trick. And I’m 42 years old and my ovaries are still rocking, not bragging or anything. I guess no one informed the doctor that male infertility exists, or maybe they just consider it legitimate infertility? No one has told my husband to just have a glass of wine and relax.

9 NotBitter { 01.12.13 at 6:51 pm }

Rep Gingrey is actually my congressman. Not only have I voted for him in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future. Love all of the bitterness and self established medical degrees some women seem to have that give the rest of us infertile/fertially challenged women a bad name. He actually gave me the name of my RE, so go figure. For people so dependent on science to have children, one would think you’d actually try to understand it.

10 Battynurse { 01.12.13 at 6:53 pm }

Well said. I saw the article and seriously just shook my head in disgust. Sometimes I rant about this stuff but the cats don’t pay much attention to that. The saddest part is that he’s an OB/GYN! Also I may be wrong but it seems to me when I was doing IUI etc that we triggered ovulation so we could time it that the sperm were there waiting for the egg when it was released? So technically his comment that if a woman was raped right after she has already ovulated is wrong because by the time the sperm get there the egg will be dead.

11 a { 01.12.13 at 7:39 pm }

I believe my comment on this guy was as follows “Well, that’s one way to take care of these kind of people. Let him tell a bunch of infetile women to “just relax” and they will f***ing kill him.”

Also, to NotBitter – I’m not sure how “relaxing” and science go together. There’s no amount of relaxing that would stop my immune system from attacking any child I tried to produce. The idea that I should just relax and keep trying to have miscarriage after miscarriage without investigating a possible scientific, biochemical cause is offensive to me.

12 loribeth { 01.12.13 at 8:58 pm }

Part of me so totallhy agrees with all of you, that these MEN who think they know all about women’s bodies, how they work and what’s best for them, just need to STFU. But there’s part of me that thinks/hopes they should just keep talking… because the more the talk, the more ridiculous they sound and the more people start to question why they are in the positions they are in.

But really, the man is an ob-gyn and he is STILL spouting this stuff??! Good grief!!!

13 A Passage to Baby { 01.13.13 at 12:07 am }

I think I just threw up a little.
Brilliant. Defend ignorant rape statements with ignorant infertility statements.

14 A Passage to Baby { 01.13.13 at 12:15 am }

@Not Bitter – he is (sadly) my congressman too. Rep. Gingrey, by his own admission, has not practiced since 1975 and is obviously using “common thought” from that time period.
No one is “self establishing” a medical degree here. They are basing information on what their doctors, who study current science, have learned. Melissa published scientific data to back it up.
Actually the fact that he gave you the name of an RE instead of just telling you to “relax” shows you a lot. I’m sure your RE didn’t tell you “just to relax” and that was all there was too it either.

15 Sara { 01.13.13 at 1:34 am }

I am really glad that Rep. Gingrey isn’t practicing medicine anymore, although perhaps Congress wasn’t the best choice for plan B for him.

NotBitter. The fact that you like the guy doesn’t mean that he’s not wrong. Plenty of good scientists have thoroughly debunked the myth that stress is the primary cause of infertility (although long-term stress can cause infertility in rare cases), so really, the “drink some wine” prescription is unhelpful and insulting.

16 Pepper { 01.13.13 at 2:22 am }

@Chickenpig – Amen to that. Obviously it’s only something us women folk can control (or take responsibility for).

@a – My thoughts exactly. Natural selection – the infertiles will take. you. out.

17 Denver Laura { 01.13.13 at 6:10 pm }

Well the wine and relaxing isn’t working for me after 6 years. I guess I need to switch to crack.

18 Shana { 01.14.13 at 3:00 pm }

Ugh. The taste of vomit in the back of my throat…

19 Katie { 01.15.13 at 2:43 pm }

I wrote him an email. Where I didn’t curse once or call him a douche bag, even though I wanted to. While I was writing it, I couldn’t help but think how awkward it was to write to a man who is supposed to be an expert on women’s reproductive systems (being that he’s a former OB-GYN) and explain how what infertility is. It’s pathetic.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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