these scams that take advantage of the couple’s distress

Fertility yoga, supplements … The alternative, traditional and alternative medicines offered to people undergoing assisted reproduction are numerous and are sometimes the subject of well-designed scams. Pauline Pellissier, co-author of the book Génération infertile explains us.

Unknown, taboo, feared … Infertility affects 15 to 25% of French couples *. designates difficult to conceive, this expression hides a long struggle made of hope, anticipation and helplessness. And if certain methods of remedying it, such as medically assisted reproduction (PMA), are well known, soft, traditional or alternative medicine exists and remains more mysterious. However, some infertile people end up trying it out, despite the risk of being enrolled scams similar to miracle solutions.

What are they ? Are they dangerous? How do you spot them? It’s in the book Infertile generation? From distress to business, exploring a taboo that we have found the answers to our questions. At the beginning of this book, three journalists themselves were afflicted with infertility: Estelle Dautry, Victor Point, and Pauline Pelissier. The latter tells in a rich interview more about the boom in alternative medicine.

Alternative medicine, sometimes questionable methods

When they become aware of their infertility, couples turn mainly to assisted reproduction. But in addition to this “classic” medical course, many people have resorted to alternative, traditional or alternative medicine. Among them, acupuncture, bioenergy, supplements, fertility yoga, hypnosis, magnetism, reiki, blood vessels, cupping therapy or herbal tea, honey and fertility oils … The list is long and full of surprises.

If some of these methods have been known to the general public for a few years as acupuncture, sofrology or osteopathy – and become more socially acceptable as a result of their democratization – others are very rarely used and are the subject of more distrust, well named. For the day today, no study shows their effectiveness. In fact, the success of the show is such a mystery that it is difficult to attribute it with certainty to a precise method, Pauline Pellissier explains:

“These alternative medicines are often practiced in parallel with PMA, which is a medical process with hormones and medicines. But if successful, we will often give credit to the hypnotist or osteopath. But to give birth to a child, it is a combination of several factors. “

“Profit-driven practitioners”

What about the price of these methods? If the ART procedures are 100% covered by the health insurance for a maximum of 6 inseminations (only one artificial insemination per cycle) and 4 attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve a pregnancy, alternative medicine does not require subsidies.

Also the authors of Infertile generation list prices range from € 270 per month for “fertility boxes”, containing fertility cups to be inserted into the vagina after ejaculation, topaz and carnelian bracelets to increase fertility, etc. to a few 649 € for interviews with a “fertility coach”, not to mention sessions with magnetizers and other magicians whose services are billed at will.

In the field of alternative medicine, there are benevolent GPs who really want to relieve women, and sometimes there are GPs who are motivated by the lure of profit.”, Warns the co-author.

A company that often profits from the need of barren people

While it is admitted that these methods may just as well be performed with sincerity, it must be admitted that the unfulfilled desire for children makes those couples vulnerablesometimes ready to spend lavishly.

When we are in this psychological situation with suffering and distress, we are ready to do anything to have a child. It is such a deep desire that there is no limit to the financial investment”, States the independent journalist who has been there himself. Virgine Rio, president of Collectif BAMP, intervenes in the investigation of the three journalists to highlight the “dictatorship of well-being” around fertility, which pushes women to “do yoga and try a thousand things otherwise they would be criticized for not investing enough in their quest“.

Moreover, when one invests so much personally, whether it is in money, energy, time or emotions in such a project, failure is unacceptable. This is called in social psychology escalation of engagement : The more you invest in a specific goal, the more you stay in the commitment despite negative results. It is from this extremely manipulative behavior that actors who enrich themselves on the backs of infertile people can benefit.

To break the infertility taboo to put an end to these scams

The observation of the authors of Infertile generation is clear: If people undergoing assisted reproduction turn to these alternative medicines, it is largely due to. their isolation. Still taboo, infertility is hardly mentioned in family and friendship circles. In fertility centers, professionals do not always have time to carry out a sufficiently benevolent and reassuring follow-up. And despite the disappointments they can cause, alternative medicine in these situations represents an accompaniment that does good.

“Alone with their infertility, without real support from their doctors, because they accompany them above all on the medical aspect, many women go to alternative medicine, which welcomes them in a warm environment, and which listen to their pain. They offer them solutions, and whether they work or not, they give them hope. “

This observation reveals a cruel lack of communication, in society, about infertility, which nevertheless affects a significant portion of the population. In addition to medical treatment, people undergoing assisted reproduction need emotional care, psychological and moral support.

Psychological follow-up: necessary and reliable support

We remind you that not all soft, traditional and alternative medicines are scams. But because all too often questionable, it is important to ensure that they are reliable, financially and medically before calling it.

If you want to move towards alternative medicine, it is important to be recommended by his assisted reproduction centeror of ask his doctor to refer us to competent people with whom he is used to working”, Advises Pauline Pellissier. And to add that the safest way to find an attentive and benevolent ear is to contact a psychologist. She explains: “Psychological follow-up is clearly different from other alternative medicine. During PMA, it is often necessary and reliable. “

Fertility centers sometimes work directly with psychologists. Otherwise, associations like Collectif BAMP that support infertile and sterile people can come to your aid. “There are also assisted reproduction centers that set up Facebook groups so that the people who are followed there can exchange with each other.”, The journalist clarifies and adds that it is important to remain suspicious on social networks, in the face of the many targeted sponsored posts, which also exploit the plight of vulnerable people to make their businesses work.

Thanks to Pauline Pellissier for answering our questions. If you want to know more, we encourage you to read Infertile generation? From distress to business, exploring a taboo by Estelle Dautry, Victor Point and Pauline Pelissier, a constructive study of the heart of the thriving infertility business.

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