Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just Take Your Medicine

When I was about four years old, I had a fever.

"Mom, why does my head get so hot when I'm sick?"

"It's your body fighting the bug you've got."

"So it's good?"

"Yes, honey"

She then went to give me some kind of fever-reducing medicine.

"Mom, what are you giving me?"

"It's to help with the fever, honey"


"But I thought my fever was a good thing?"

"Just take the medicine."

"But who is going to fight my bug if I get rid of the fever?"

"Just take the medicine."

"But mooooooooommmmmm!"

"Just take the medicine."

God love her. She is and was a tolerant woman. But I can't help but feel some kind of parallel between this and some of the ridiculousness with regard to infertility. I feel like we repeatedly try to treat the symptom and not the disease.

"Take the medicine" is something I think about every time I shoot my wife in the ass with some unpronounceable goop in a syringe. And I wonder - there's got to be a reason more and more people need fertility intervention. There's got to be some issue, some imbalance, some evil, if you will, that's causing this - and yet so little has been invested to try and determine what "it" is.

According to a Reproductive Genetics Center study, .05% of men were functionally sterile (sperm counts below 20 million) in 1938. Today that rate is 8-12%. Some studies argue the rate of male infertility is growing at a rate of 1 to 2 percent each year. Excuse my French, but that, ladies and germs, is seriously fucked up.

And yet, there is a dearth of research into causes of infertility while we pump each other full of hormones and masturbate in back rooms to try and create a family.

Now, I know there has been SOME research - we know that have a battery of chemical, pharmaceutical, and environmental possibilities for infertility. Heavy metals, hydrocarbons, varnishes, glues, solvents, pesticides, oxidants (free radicals), etc. – all exhibit effects on fertility but determining statistically significant causality is another matter. However, it’s probably safe to say that if you work in a rubber factory or if you finish floors for a living and you’re just getting to the family planning part of life, move to a state where IVF is covered by your HMO.

Type "in vitro" into a Yahoo news search though - you know what you get? Hundreds of articles about diagnostics markets, diagnostic partnerships, marketing agreements between businesses making in-vitro diagnostic machines, partnership agreements with foreign companies for in-vitro computer technology, in-vitro medical device permits, acquisitions, stock options, blah, blah, blah...

People are making a lot of money on us. I'm not sure they care about the cause.

"Just take the medicine."