The first lady’s disclosure that she and Barack Obama used IVF treatment to conceive their two daughters is an act of generosity
After her years of living in the fishbowl of the White House, Michelle Obama doesn’t owe us anything. But for millions of people, her new disclosure that she and Barack Obama used IVF treatment to conceive their two daughters is a remarkable act of generosity. Because for all that IVF treatment is increasingly common, it remains an often stigmatized thing to talk about. And for those of us who go through it, knowing that public figures aren’t ashamed to be among us can make a huge difference in terms of feeling able to get the support and space we need to persevere.
IVF has been around for 40 years, now (thank you, Lesley Brown) but till remains something that people find difficult to discuss. The reasons are complex. If you conceive children without medical assistance, it’s understandably quite rude to volunteer the details of your techniques. While you can describe IVF with a degree of sterile remove that may be absent from that night on your honeymoon when you overdid the pina coladas, it still makes people uncomfortable — something that I learned last year when my husband and I started treatment.