the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

Refreshments Will Be Served – The New Marketing of The Fertility Patient

You know – I go back a long way in the field of fertility education. I have run more monthly meeting for infertility then most people have attended movies over a life time. So – I have been witness to a great deal of change in how professionals in the industry of fertility and patient organizations have worked to promote meetings. Back in my day – we put out fliers in the waiting rooms of IVF Centers and community centers. They were simple – they said things like “Are You Trying to Have a Baby?” and then they listed the name of the speaker and location which was usually in a community center or some other rented space that belonged to another organization. There was always a line on the flyer that said “Refreshments will be Served”.

The refreshments were usually cookies, coffee and tea. No one cared what was served. They were coming because these people wanted a baby more than anything in the world. Coming to a fertility meeting – was all about that. The information that was being served. Nothing else. And before the days of the Internet we used to pack them in. Sometimes 200 patients will fill a room on a Thursday evening to hear a doctor or adoption expert speak.

Well – times are changing. And apparently it is way hard to get any patients to come out in person to a monthly meeting simply to get information on how to build their family!

Now we offer up free martinis and manicures – special drinks – dinners in fabulous restaurants, organic exotic cupcakes and hold the educational meeting onĀ  beautiful estates with ocean views that most of us could only dream about owning.

The local community center and store bought cookies apparently won’t bring infertility patients out anymore to get them the information that they need or want to build their families. We feel like we have to entice them goodies other than the promise of a child.

I look at these events – which look fabulous – and are run about quality professionals and organizations – and I wonder about it all.

What does this say about us? When I read tweets about cupcakes and not babies – I wonder where I am and what this is really all about.

And then I wonder if I just a grumpy old woman who really need a cupcake and should loosen up! I do love cupcakes and the ones being advertised at the most recent fabulous infertility patient event that is being promoted sound amazing.

But – my gut reaction to this new “we are having a glamorous party” marketing of fertility patient education events have been “Really? No they are not!”

Grumpy old geezer that I am – I can’t help it that a part of me is turned off by the idea of marketing infertility patient education in this way. It’s all about the menu – the location – oh the fun we will have together as opposed to “We will help you have your baby” , “We get the struggle and we want to help” and refreshments will be served.

I am reminded of the fights that I used to have with one of the other volunteers back in the day of the cookies and coffee at Jewish Center where we held RESOLVE NYC’s monthly meetings. I wanted chocolate cookies because infertile people deserved good cookies if they were coming to an infertility meeting – and the other volunteer wanted to save money and always bought vanilla wafers. I always won – and bought the chocolate. So on a basic level – I get it.

I understand the desire to make these meetings that are so not fun to attend a more a pleasant experience for the patient that has no desire to go to an infertility meeting.

I asked myself the question again. Was I now turning into the vanilla wafer volunteer? Where was my sense of fun?

Did I need a special exotic organic drink and a cup cake? Would that fix it? Maybe.

About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
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  1. Wow. I don’t know. I did attend a monthly seminar in the beginning…and was given the standard diet coke and cookies (a healthy combo). I’ll be honest here, though…I would have been thrilled had I been handed a martini while having to sit through a presentation on infertility and IVF during what was the most stressful period of my life thus far (the initial diagnosis).

    I needed a drink afterwards, that was for sure.

    Then again, don’t know that encouraging drinking pre-IVF is the best route either. Can see how this would cause some eyebrows to raise….for plenty of reasons.

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