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  • Is the Term “Infertiles” Offensive When Talking about a Group

    Dawn Davenport

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    Is the term "Infertiles" offensive?I’m trying to work through this in my mind and I could really use some help, especially from the infertility patient community. Do you find it offensive for the group of those suffering from infertility to be called ” the infertile” or “infertiles”? As in, “Infertiles often feel alone when their friends are all having children” or in an example from one of the Factsheets on the Creating a Family site: Holiday Survival Guide for the Infertile.

    I am not a word cop. I’m not even all that literate in grammar. I’ve got the basics (noun vs. verb vs. adjective, and can probably give adverbs a run for their money), but mainly I’m an idea kind of gal leaving the details, such as grammar, to others. So, while this title may sound like a grammar lesson, trust me when I say it is not.

    What Those Who Take Offense Say

    We’ve been having a lively discussion on a recent blog Should We Keep Promise Of Anonymity Made To Birth Parents (114 comments and counting), and a couple of people commented on the use of the word “infertiles” or “infertile” to describe the group of people suffering from the disease of infertility.

    • “Infertiles”. I want to let this pass, but I just can’t. I am not “an infertile”. I am a person who suffers from infertility, a chronic, emotionally painful condition that prevents me from being able to reproduce. I’m sure not feeling empowered by the use of other infertile people using that term. Just like when people knocking or demeaning infertile people use it, I feel kicked in the gut when I read it. My medical condition is not the sum total of my identity, but that term implies that everything I do and say is defined by that lens rather than just informed by it. I haven’t seen it on this blog or in the comments section here in the few years I’ve been following as often as I’ve seen it in this thread. I get that y’all are using it to make a point, but really, and please, can we just not use that term?
    • I don’t like the word “infertiles” either. It collapses a medical condition or a disability into an identity.
    • We don’t call someone who is paralyzed a “cripple.” It would be horrible to collapse deafness or blindness or any sickness into a one-word identity. Horrible. Leprosy becomes “lepers” and “leper colonies.”
    • I actually find it upsetting too, mainly because I think in fact the vast majority of posters to your blog have gone out of their way NOT to use that word and use respectful language such as IF sufferers. I would never ever use that word because I know it is so hurtful.

    Not Trying to Pick a Fight

    I always try to go with whatever the majority of people with a disease prefer to be called, or at least I try to. So I really don’t have a dog in this fight, but aren’t the following considered acceptable:

    • Paraplegics
    • Diabetics
    • Epileptics

    I would imagine if I were writing about the group of people suffering from diabetes, I would alternate between calling them “diabetics”, “people who suffer from diabetes”, or “diabetes sufferers”. When we need to talk about a group for some reason we look for a group noun or collective noun. It is not with the intent of reducing someone to their disease, but as a way to speak of the group.

    I sometimes use “infertile” when referring to the group because it is a shorter way to say “those suffering from infertility” or “people diagnosed with the disease of infertility”. I write about infertility a lot, and I’m always looking for alternative ways of saying “infertility patient” or “infertility sufferer”. And even those terms aren’t perfect because not everyone is a patient and not everyone feels like they are suffering.

    No One Should Be Defined by a Disease

    I don’t mean to define anyone be their disease. I’m not trying to be argumentative or defensive, and I truly appreciate people letting me know it rubs them the wrong way. I’m curious how others feel and would love suggestions of how to talk about the group of people with infertility.

    Litmus Test

    Someone suggested their personal test to know whether a word is appropriate: Would I say it in conversation with someone who is the descriptor? I thought the test was great, but unfortunately didn’t help me much. Since I didn’t know it was offensive, I would likely use it in conversation, and likely would have offended.

    Weigh in please: does the use of the word “infertile” or “infertiles” to describe the group offend you?

    P.S. If you aren’t already receiving our twice weekly e-newsletter, why the heck not?? We let you know of new resources we add to the site each week and keep you up to date with the latest happenings in the world of infertility or adoption, as well as the latest blog and radio show topics. Sign up at the top of this page.

    09/07/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 77 Comments



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    77 Responses to Is the Term “Infertiles” Offensive When Talking about a Group

    1. Sara says:

      Is the term infertiles offensive? Yes, if it is being used in a demeaning, insulting, hurtful way, especially by people who have never struggled with infertility or have any idea what it really is. For example: I read posts on Scary Mommy. Every once in a while there is an article or something centered around “why I hate being pregnant” or something similar. It doesn’t bother me that this is a way that some women vent. We all deserve that. Just because I can’t relate to what it must feel like to hate being pregnant, doesn’t mean that invalidates other women’s experiences and I recognize this. Anyway, one of the first comments to that article was something like, “I’m counting down to when those infertiles start commenting. They seem to be in every group. What? I can’t hate being pregnant because something is wrong with their body”? And the comments went on. I finally chimed in as one of “those infertiles” asking for just a little compassion. The response was “get out of here” and “what are you doing on a page called Scary Mommy if you’re an infertile”. So yes, that was offensive and they meant for it to be offensive. People don’t attach the same weight to the term infertiles because they don’t believe infertility is a disease. They don’t understand the physical and psychological effects of infertility. And honestly, infertility makes people uncomfortable. They (should I call them fertiles) don’t want to hear our stories, or be educated. So, they just try to shut us up by name calling. Maybe if I call her an infertile and tell her to go away, she won’t bother trying to come to our side anymore.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Wow Sara, what an insensitive response both to you and to the whole idea that someone who is infertile shouldn’t be posting on a blog about motherhood. Sorry that happened to you!

    2. Michelle says:

      I am a person who is infertile, just the same as I am a person who is diabetic (not A diabetic). If possible I think remembering that we are people with certain characteristics is better than just referring to us AS that characteristic. However, I’m sure there are times I forget that myself when referring to other people.

    3. This blog is about use of the term “infertile” to describe a group. It is not about whether donors are “real parents” or if intended parents are “real parents”, or about the ethics of anonymous donation. We will not approve further comments on that subject. I encourage all discussion on that subject be directed to our blog: Is An Egg Donor A Mother? A Sperm Donor A Father? (http://www.creatingafamily.org/blog/is-an-egg-donor-a-mother-a-sperm-donor-a-father/)

    4. Greg says:

      “As to the topic, I think it is fine to call yourself infertile and you shouldn’t be called out on that, I think it is better if others use suffer from or challenged by infertility (along that vein)…that seems to be in-line with any other life challenge (if the term is structured so it works that way).”

      Tao,

      This discussion reminds me of the on going debate about the use of the term “birth mother” and how some prefer “first” or “natural” mother. Some people are offended by the term but use it because it is more universally known. If I’m not mistaken, I believe you’ve done some pieces on the topic.

    5. marilynn says:

      “knowing more about their genetic blueprint”

      Genetic blueprint. Does that mean people? Knowing their biological parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and cousins and getting to learn all the family history and stories and details of their lives and ancestors lives?

      Or do you mean a computer print out that maps their genome?

    6. marilynn says:

      CB – 67. Aw come on if anyone is super polite it’s you. Always.

    7. TAO says:

      Anonymous said: “CB-to take some of the heat of us in the IF community when it comes to anonymous conceptions, I would like to offer you this example from a CBC Radio show on opening adoption records. The Bmom in this case DID know the identity of her child’s Bdad, but chose to keep it secret for the following reasons: “Example: I know someone who was adopted. She did find her biological mother, but that mother refused to disclose any details about the biological dad as he was a famous married athlete with whom she had an affair. She promised him protection of privacy so his life wouldn’t be destroyed.
      I would LOVE to know where you stand on such a situation. Would you be more understanding of this woman’s decision to keep her child’s bio father’s identity a secret than you would a woman or couple who chose an anonymous donor with whom to conceive their child?”

      I’m not CB but I think it is wrong. Several points to consider:

      1. People jump to the conclusion that the adoptee will seek out and publicly “pounce” (or worse) and destroy the parent by birth. I’ve never met an adoptee who wishes any harm, or pain, on their family of birth, I’m sure they exist (and hope they are few) but none I have talked to would, rather, they seek out the best way of protecting the privacy when considering contact.

      2. People talk about how being adopted is so good for the child, raised in a loving home, you can fill in the rhetoric – and yet – make the assumption in 1. Have some faith that the child was raised as a kind caring individual, have some faith that the [adoptive] parents taught the child well.

      3. Human beings are not static, what they wanted, were sure of, at 20, 30, is not necessarily what the want at 50, 60 and holding them to what they believe before is wrong, ask, don’t assume. That applies to first mothers and fathers just like all other human beings. That privacy or confidentiality they may (likely) wanted was from who they were then, where they lived, their family – things change in 30, 40, 50 years.

      ****

      As to the topic, I think it is fine to call yourself infertile and you shouldn’t be called out on that, I think it is better if others use suffer from or challenged by infertility (along that vein)…that seems to be in-line with any other life challenge (if the term is structured so it works that way).

    8. cb says:

      I thought the following might help people see the differences and similarities re adoptees/DC adults. It is not meant to inflame just to explain :)

      Now, the following are very basic differences (using the acceptable language for each case):
      1) Adoption –
      In general for the expectant mothers/fathers, it is a solution to a situation. The expectant mother carrying her child to term is making a decision on behalf of her child.

      Prospective adoptive parents are hoping to build their family if the decision is made by another to relinquish their child. It is a family-building option for PAPs but one reliant on a decision made by birthparents.

      2) Donor conception:
      A procedure purely for the people to create their families.
      The genetic progenitors are providing their gametes purely to assist others in building their families.

      The similarities:
      Adopted humans and donor conceived humans are both in the situation where their genetic progenitor/s are not the people raising them.
      Thus both adopted and DC humans may know nothing about their genetic “blueprint” or may only know part of it.
      There are a reasonable number of both adoptees and DC humans who would like to know more about their “blueprint”. At present, the vast majority of DC adults are the result of sperm donation – thus they are being raised by their genetic mothers but don’t know their genetic fathers. Their equivalent may be what is called the “adoptee lite”.

      The truth is that there is a reasonable number of DC adults conceived via donor sperm who are interested in knowing more about their genetic father. Will there be even more interest by those who were conceived by both donor egg & sperm and gestated in a strangers womb?

      At present, I have deliberately only concentrated on the actual similarity – i.e. both adopted and DC humans have different genetic progenitor/s to the parents that are raising them and the fact that many adopted and DC people are interested in knowing more about their genetic blueprints. This is why I purely have concentrated only on the subject of anonymity because it is a definite similarity between adopted and DC adults – many are interested in knowing more about their genetic blueprint REGARDLESS of whose womb they gestated in.

      There does seem to the view that because adoptees may have questions about why they were relinquished and because DC adults know that their genetic progenitors were helping IF couples build their families then DC adults must feel “better” about the situation yet there is eviednce that some feel the opposite – that in fact, their forced separation for genetic relatives (not just talking progenitors) was done for the benefit of others.

      As an adoptee, I know that I would want my separation to be about me not about helping build another’s family. I know on another forum, there was a situation where a bmother of one APs child had offered to get pregnant with another child for them – there was a mixture of feelings – many of the APs thought it was lovely – most of the adoptees were aghast as were in fact some of the APs. My personal feeling is that given the choice of my actual situation or the choice of being born via donor egg&sperm, I prefer being adopted. I also prefer that my bmother gestated me before adoption rather than her giving her egg to someone to help build their family. However, that is my own personal opinion in regards to my own bmother and what I know about her and thus that is why I am not discussing donor egg/sperm donation per se but purely talking about the anonymity – because the anonymity itself is in relation to the lack of knowledge about the genetic blueprint – some thing both adoptees and DC adults have in common.

      I hope the above makes people realise that my views re anonymity are not in anyway about depriving others of being parents or disrespecting the infertile but instead are about the commonality of the adopted and DC conceived individuals.

    9. cb says:

      “Anyway I’m with those who think it’s rude. But the word infertile is not rude and it’s not rude if its an accurate medical description and in context but ‘infertiles’ is not nice ever I don’t think”

      I think all on here agree that “infertiles” is a disrespectful therm and should never be used. As I have said earlier “IF sufferer” is only a few more letters.

    10. foster adopt mama says:

      Greg, good for you for maintaining your sense of humor. That’s the only way I was able to get through all the crap infertility threw our way. It doesn’t make what happened less appalling! I agree with others…words mean less to me than nasty judgments…I cannot imagine taunting someone for a medical condition or even associating with people who do. Or making widespread, hurtful assumptions about a group that faces something so difficult. Classless.

    11. marilynn says:

      People on my side of things donor offspring and adopted people say infertiles sometimes and I don’t think it’s such a hot thing to say. It is often written in that exact way in the heat of defending themselves and it’s snarly and not measured or neutral like saying people who are infertile or people who suffer from infertility or some other condition that precludes carrying pregnancies to term. It’s possible I think to be fertile and have a hard time carrying.

      Anyway I’m with those who think it’s rude. But the word infertile is not rude and it’s not rude if its an accurate medical description and in context but ‘infertiles’ is not nice ever I don’t think

    12. Anonymous says:

      CB-to take some of the heat of us in the IF community when it comes to anonymous conceptions, I would like to offer you this example from a CBC Radio show on opening adoption records. The Bmom in this case DID know the identity of her child’s Bdad, but chose to keep it secret for the following reasons: “Example: I know someone who was adopted. She did find her biological mother, but that mother refused to disclose any details about the biological dad as he was a famous married athlete with whom she had an affair. She promised him protection of privacy so his life wouldn’t be destroyed.
      I would LOVE to know where you stand on such a situation. Would you be more understanding of this woman’s decision to keep her child’s bio father’s identity a secret than you would a woman or couple who chose an anonymous donor with whom to conceive their child? To me it is much more harmful in the natural conception scenario, but that’s just me. The only difference is because one choice was made by an obviously fertile couple (or maybe it was just “faulty birth control” making the choice again) and the other was made by a couple who must make a choice based on their infertile status. If a person’s sexual partner chooses to remain anonymous to either their partner of the minute and/or their potential child, it is radically different than an IF couple choosing a donor who chose to remain anonymous at the time of donation. Why is it the fault of the IF person or couple if their chosen donor has chosen for whatever reason to keep his identity unknown? It’s not as if he’s right there in the next room so that the couple can meet him. Please cut those of us in the IF community some slack-we’re not choosing anonymous donors just to tick people off or to make life more of a challenge for our future children. We’re choosing them because these particular donors are right for our families based on their health histories and other qualities. If an open ID donor turns out to be the best for an individual couple, that would be ideal, but we don’t live in an ideal world. If we did, there would be no such thing as IF, children would only be made and brought into this world by people who truly want them and are capable of raising them, and birth control would be 100% reliable for those who don’t want children, but who just want to have a good time with someone (preferably known, but who am I to judge those who are fertile and the choices they might make)

    13. Anonymous says:

      “Btw my hypoethical person having anonymous sex without intent would be taking contraception that failed”.
      Ah, how did I know that you would go with the good ol’ “failed birth control excuse”, cb? To quote Bill Maher in his spot on dismissal of Bristol Palin’s reliance on that chestnut, “here’s a tip, hon- it’s not birth control if the pills are shaped like Fred Flintstone” Anonymous sex, with or without the intention of becoming pregnant, IS irresponsible if you don’t take proper precautions. Even if you did, your judgement should be seriously questioned. If you have anonymous sex and are not smart or wise enough to use birth control at all, it is absolutely your judgement that has failed, not the birth control which you didn’t even have the wisdom to use in the first place. Such conceptions happen everyday in this world. Anonymous unions for the intention of becoming pregnant (outside of a laboratory using ART). Uh-not so much.

    14. cb says:

      “Again, the “judgment” is not about the sex act but about deliberate intent to deprive a child of half of who they are. Can you see the difference?”

      To be blunt — no, I do not.

      I do not excuse the lack of forethought that leads to a irresponsible outcome.

      In fact, I see the lack of forethought as MORE problematic from a moral point of view. Clearly, we disagree.”

      So it sounds like we agree – I see deliberately getting pregnant anonymously to deliberately deprive their child of a father as lack of forethought from a moral point of view. One is not thinking ahead about their child.

      So anonymous sex without the intent to become pregnant is now something you consider irresponsible and something you judge but before you were saying that I would be judging you if you had anonymous sex? I’m confused. Btw my hypoethical person having anonymous sex without intent would be taking contraception that failed.

    15. Anna says:

      Dawn,

      I’m so sorry! I can see them now. I’ve noticed some problems with my router lately.

    16. Anna says:

      Dawn,

      CJ is asking questions of me, and I am attempting to answer. I’m not sure why you aren’t letting the comments through.

      They are obviously off topic, but why are you posting her off-topic questions to me? CJ is posting on Tao’s blog that we will not answer her questions about this matter.

      You have no obligation to post comments. However, I really don’t want to waste my time typing out an answer to a specific question directed at me if it’s not going to be posted.

      • Anna, I’m not sure what you mean. All comments have been approved and should be appearing. We don’t always get to them immediately however, so you may have to wait a little bit.

    17. AnonT says:

      Infertility is a strange condition. Not quite sure what it is but I think you definitely have a sense of failure when you can not do something that is fundamental to life, reproduce. Technically, it is no different than any other disease but there is this sense of shame, whether it be right or wrong for both men and women.

    18. Milanya says:

      @ Anna:

      “I also think some people find it offensive because some people use it when they are trying to make a negative point about infertile people.”
      yes. Today on twitter in a debate on embryo donation/adoption:

      ‘Ah, here comes @gsmwc02 to defend the infertile!’ ”

      Sincere question: would you feel differently about this POV if he’d said “Ah, here comes @gsmwc02 to defend the person who suffers from infertility”?

      Personally, I wouldn’t because he’s be expressing the exact same POV.

    19. Anna says:

      “Again, the “judgment” is not about the sex act but about deliberate intent to deprive a child of half of who they are. Can you see the difference?”

      To be blunt — no, I do not.

      I do not excuse the lack of forethought that leads to a irresponsible outcome.

      In fact, I see the lack of forethought as MORE problematic from a moral point of view. Clearly, we disagree.

      Children: All children forever and ever are a part of the time-honoured tradition to complain about their parents. All children have the right to complain to their parents about the circumstances of their conception, their choice of a sexual partner, their marriage choices, their economic choices, and their emotional relationships.

      Children have the right to be angry, or to be happy, to disown their parents if they wish, or to visit on holiday. Those children, as adults, have the right to control their own conceptions and births in whatever manner they wish. This is the human condition.

      Laws and moral suasion won’t change the urge to reproduce, conception, or sexual impulse. The only way you can change it is to present more appealing options.

      Seriously, you need dictator like Nicolae Ceausescu if you want to control conceptions and reproduction. And then a bunch of kids will end up in Romanian orphanages. You can’t control outcomes with reproduction because you can’t effectively control bodies unless you’re willing to be North Korea.

    20. Anna says:

      “So it is not your hypothetical child’s concern either?”

      Everything about sex and conception is the hypothetical child’s concern.

      Everything about the woman’s body and her health is the hypothetical child’s concern.

      High blood pressure, STDs, cancer, a whole host of physical markers and risk factors may cause infant death and brain disability for a lifetime.

      It’s ALL the concern of the hypothetical child.

      High blood pressure may result in complications that injure the BRAIN of the child.

      It is not in the interest of any child to acquire an injured brain or brain death. Yet, I would not interfere or criticize another women’s decision to risk pregnancy. I would not suggest abortion because a woman acquires preeclampsia. I would not criminalize a diabetic woman’s conception.

      Pregnancy is always a risk for the health of a child. Birth is a risk. These activities are dangerous and not predictable for the health of the child.

      The rights of the women at pre-conception trumps the rights of any hypothetical life. You do not know that any conception will occur.

      Insemination is pre-conception. Putting a blastocyst in a uterus is pre-conception. Conception MAY occur 1-6 days later.

      I think the state criminalization of reproduction is Orwellian. I cannot think of anything more Orwellian then a Human Reproduction Act.

      We disagree. We’re not going to agree here. Let’s move on.

    21. Amanda says:

      I just went back and read a few more comments. Rebecca, I appreciate what you said about how you refer to you son with cystic fibrosis, but I think it is very, very important to note that it works for you and your support group because you are all part of the cystic fibrosis “in-group,” and the appropriate sensitivities and understanding are a given. You don’t question each other’s motives.

    22. Amanda says:

      I find it offensive, and I was startled to see them term on this blog, having not encountered it anywhere else, it’s the one real downer about this site. Perhaps if someone is truly infertile–diagnosed, legit, no possible way to conceive–then perhaps it is fine. Like many things, when it is the definitive truth, one may grieve if necessary and ultimately come to accept and even embrace the condition and descriptor. However, the label is often used in this form by the medical community: “unexplained infertility.” To me, this is a crap diagnosis, and I’ve rejected it. All it means is, “we don’t see any reason why you can’t conceive, it just hasn’t happened yet,” and to me, a person is not infertile based on the limits of modern medicine. The word “infertile” means a person/couple CANNOT conceive, and using it to describe those who haven’t conceived YET, or those who have had a child before and are having a tough time conceiving again, destroys hope for them. In my opinion, you should use “infertile” only to describe the group of individuals who truly are, otherwise, something like “TTC (trying to conceive)” may be a kinder, gentler, and more encouraging word choice.

      One other thought, and I apologize if this is in the responses already, didn’t see it skimming, there is a very significant push in the community of those with disabities to use “person first” speech, and that is probably a good choice for this website, too. It means you use a word like “person” or “individual” and THEN the describing word. This helps everyone to remember we are talking about people most importantly. However, I would add that if a person self-identifies by a descriptor, then it’s ok to use with them. For example, some people who cannot hear well call themselves “hearing impaired”, but those who embrace their difference, use sign language, and are culturally involved with others in the same boat prefer to be called Deaf, with a capital D.

    23. Anna says:

      “That word carries with it centuries of oppression, violence, and exploitation. “An infertile” makes me cranky and sad and feels like a slam to me. Not the same thing or the same level of wounding.”

      Agree. It wasn’t meant to be put forth as an equivalent level of harm.

    24. cb says:

      “If, hypothetically, I decide to have anonymous sex tonight — I would gently suggest that is not your concern.

      If I chose to bring that pregnancy to term, that is not your concern.”

      So it is not your hypothetical child’s concern either?

      Btw, I covered that on another thread:

      http://www.creatingafamily.org/blog/thinking-kids-egg-sperm-embryo-donation/

      My comment #24 is in response to anonymous’s comment #19.

      It is not about the sex act itself but about intent. If the pregnancy was unintentionally from that anonymous sex act, that is one thing. If the sex act was deliberately anonymous so that one could conceive a “fatherless” child that is another thing. I am trying to speak on behalf of the child who is unable to speak for themselves.

      Say you did have deliberate anonymous sex so that you could have a “fatherless” child and your child asked you whether you knew who their father was and you said “Actually, I deliberately had anonymous sex so that I could conceive you without having to ever have your biological father in the picture or for you to ever know who he is, I deliberately know nothing or remember nothing about him”, then you can’t expect your child to be automatically thrilled – they might be OK about it but they might not. It sounds like you would expect the only right thing for them to say “That’s fine mother, it’s your body. You didn’t want me to know anything about my biological father thus your wish is my wish.” If that child said “Isn’t that a bit unfair? Now I’ll not know anything about half of who I am” what is your response to them going to be? “Too bad, so sad. It’s my body, not yours.”?

      Again, the “judgment” is not about the sex act but about deliberate intent to deprive a child of half of who they are. Can you see the difference?

    25. Anna says:

      “I couldn’t care less what you do with your body or reproductive organs, Anna, but I do care about the child that you might bring into the world. They do have rights.”

      Re-reading this, I think I have not been clear.

      Pregnancy is a personal choice. The circumstances of that pregnancy are a personal choice.

      I see you as hoping to influence and control the conception and birth of every woman. You advocate “morally correct” conceptions and births.

      If, hypothetically, I decide to have anonymous sex tonight — I would gently suggest that is not your concern.

      If I chose to bring that pregnancy to term, that is not your concern.

      I understand you want to make it your concern — to control how, when, and if children are conceived.

      I suggest that choices such as these are private decisions. You may not control the conditions under which conception takes place.

      You are, of course, free to try. You are free to morally judge that conception and birth.

      Many people have tried to control sex and conception. Good luck with that.

    26. Anna says:

      “If your private decisions will be affecting others (eg your future child), then people are entitled to give opinions on how they feel about your decisions on behalf of that child.”

      I’m taken aback that you assume you know anything about me.

      I told you you had no say over what I chose to do with my uterus. As a consequence, you assume you know my intentions. Gobsmacked.

      It would make just as much sense for you to assume I intend to get an abortion today.

      “No-one is judging your actual bodily choices – they are just trying to get you to see things from the point of view of your future child.”

      You are making presumptuous assumptions about me.

      I find it fascinating that you think you would know the feelings of a future child. I find it fascinating that you think I intend to have a child.

      You don’t know if I intend to have a child. You don’t know that I haven’t born multiple children. You don’t know if I am child free. You do not know my intentions or my plans for my life.

      You know nothing about me.

      I have not invited you to comment about my sexual or familial choices.

      As you are intensely interested in my ethics — this is an example of my approach: I will fight for people’s right to abortion. I would not have an abortion myself. Don’t assume that someone who fights for other’s rights has plans to engage in that specific behaviour.

      It’s called valuing freedom and choice.

      I was a lurker. The only reason I entered into that past thread was that you judged another woman. You presumed to tell her what she could and could not do with her body.

      I’ve always felt pity for people who want to control other women’s pregnancies. I’ve never understood the desire for that control.

      You have control over yourself. You don’t have control over anyone else.

      It must be difficult. To desire that control over other people’s bodies. And, yet, to never be able to achieve that control.

    27. Anna says:

      This may offer context from what I saw. Tao participated in the twitter discussion.

      One can see why many people suffering from infertility do not expose themselves to those discussions that degrade into anti-infertility discourse. Not healthy.

      Sorry I referred to this discourse. Wanted to give a specific example of the ways in which the language was used as a weapon.

      Analyzing the rhetoric of infertility to explain how some people work to connect negative traits such as desperation and entitlement to people who suffer from the condition of infertility.

      “I think the problem is that some people seem to think that bringing up ethical issues is demonising those suffering from IF.”

      It is demonizing if one suggests ethical issues specifically concern people with IF for some crazy reason.

      No one needs to talk about infertility to discuss adoption reforms. Don’t talk about it if you can’t do it with sensitivity. Lots of people who are fertile adopt. Almost everyone I know who has adopted is fertile. They chose to adopt for other reasons.

      These people WANT to talk about those suffering from infertility. Why? We can all come to our own conclusions.

      Lots of fertile people adopt. Why don’t you talk about ethics in conjunction with fertility? Because they WANT to talk about ethics in conjunction with people suffering from infertility.

      Among these internet groups there are deeply held prejudices about the character of people who suffer infertility. Deeply held investments in perpetuating these negative stereotypes.

      You can’t think people have not noticed this unfortunate tendency of certain internet groups.

      African Americans adopt. So do fertile lesbian women. As do single women. As do heterosexual couples with two or three biological children. As do fertile people who carry risk factors for diseases and don’t want to risk transmission. As do many many types of diverse people. We’re not living in the 1950s.

      It’s problematic is to argue that IF people specifically and challenged in their ethics. It creates an out-group. It stigmatizes.

      To suggest that infertility degrades one’s ethics? To discuss infertility as a risk factor for unethical behaviour? It’s stigmatizing to do that. It’s morally wrong.

      I don’t get why a group of internet adoption-discussion people don’t understand this. It’s a straightforward concept.

      I’m done. You need to chose how you want to behave. Individuals need to decide if they want to stigmatize groups. Those who stigmatize groups need to decide if they want to engage in hateful language. Freedom of speech exists in the USA. You are free to say anything you wish.

      As my husband said, they’ll do what they want to do.

    28. Greg says:

      “Greg, I’ve never seen TAO demonise anyone.
      I think the problem is that some people seem to think that bringing up ethical issues is demonising those suffering from IF.”

      CB,

      I wasn’t accusing Tao of demonizing anyone. It was an in general statement. I don’t think bringing up ethical issues in adoption is demonizing IF couples when it sticks to being about the children. For instance I don’t think talking about OBC issues is demonizing IF couples. Talking about profits of so called non profit agencies is demonizing IF couples. But when you start talking about “adult desires trump all” and “desperate entitled infertile couples” that is where the demonizing of infertile couples occurs. It’s like when you are called an “ungrateful adoptee”, it’s not fair to you when that gets thrown out there.

      “It’s also about my DH. Would like people of good faith to see that behaviour isn’t acceptable. Is hurtful to the group as a whole. But people will do what they’re gonna do.”

      I understand that and being protective and supportive of the people you love is important. I wish some people outside of the infertility community tried to understand better than they currently do.

    29. Anon AP says:

      Wow, I’m about to feel like the word police, but Anna, as much as I dislike the term ‘an infertile’, I think it is not a great idea to compare it to the n-word. That word carries with it centuries of oppression, violence, and exploitation. “An infertile” makes me cranky and sad and feels like a slam to me. Not the same thing or the same level of wounding.

    30. Anna says:

      “Since it’s my tweets you have been referencing, I should clarify that first I laughed at that picture Claudia sent me. I’m at the point in my healing that I can laugh at myself and make jokes about it. Sure I still hurt from my infertility but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of humor.”

      I’m so glad you weren’t upset.

      That picture. Wow.

      It’s also about my DH. Would like people of good faith to see that behaviour isn’t acceptable. Is hurtful to the group as a whole. But people will do what they’re gonna do.

    31. cb says:

      “That’s different from someone trying to interfere and judge my bodily choices. End stop and fair warning. I do not react well to people who presume to judge my private decisions.”

      If your private decisions will be affecting others (eg your future child), then people are entitled to give opinions on how they feel about your decisions on behalf of that child.

      No-one is judging your actual bodily choices – they are just trying to get you to see things from the point of view of your future child.

    32. cb says:

      “Tao,

      There is nothing wrong with bringing up ethical issues in adoption. But the demonization of infertile couples just isn’t necessary in order to do so. Keep the focus on the children not attacking others. The message will become that much more powerful.”

      Greg, I’ve never seen TAO demonise anyone.

      I think the problem is that some people seem to think that bringing up ethical issues is demonising those suffering from IF.

    33. cb says:

      “That’s different from someone trying to interfere and judge my bodily choices. End stop and fair warning. I do not react well to people who presume to judge my private decisions.”

      Please point out where I and/or others have done that?

      I have said that I don’t think anonymity should exist in DC. That has nothing to do with your bodily functions but to do with the rights of the child you are planning to bring into the world.

      I couldn’t care less what you do with your body or reproductive organs, Anna, but I do care about the child that you might bring into the world. They do have rights.

    34. Greg says:

      “A pic of sperm meant to be an insult. This is insulting only if she thinks infertility itself is shameful. It’s quite cruel, and meant to be so.”

      Anna,

      Since it’s my tweets you have been referencing, I should clarify that first I laughed at that picture Claudia sent me. I’m at the point in my healing that I can laugh at myself and make jokes about it. Sure I still hurt from my infertility but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of humor.

      I have been offended by things those people have said but their use of the word “infertile” has not been one of them.

      Tao,

      There is nothing wrong with bringing up ethical issues in adoption. But the demonization of infertile couples just isn’t necessary in order to do so. Keep the focus on the children not attacking others. The message will become that much more powerful.

      • Thank you Greg for clarifying. I’m uncomfortable using other people’s names that aren’t a part of this discussion, but since what they posted was public I decided to allow it. However, one of the problems is that info can taken out of context. Thanks for putting it in context.

    35. Anna says:

      “Whatever the case, can we all just “start again”? Can we all just assume that the majority of people on here are just trying to offer opinions? Can we just take each post on their own merits instead of assuming that because person A is posting then there must be a hidden attack in there?”

      I appreciate you asking to start again.

      “For example, when it comes to anonymity in donor conception, I do think that as an adoptee from a closed adoption, I have a valid point of view to put forward re anonymity.”

      I am fine with people creating new regulations for adoption.

      That’s different from someone trying to interfere and judge my bodily choices. End stop and fair warning. I do not react well to people who presume to judge my private decisions.

      You should assume that others will react in similar ways. That’s not surprising, is it? When talking about other people’s bodies, I suggest sensitive wording.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinions. You can be pro-choice or anti-abortion or pro-anonymity, or anti-anonymity, or ok with sex before marriage, or not ok with single motherhood, or for the criminalization of sodomy, or whatever.

      But you have the freedom of speech. I may think your view is valid, or I may think it’s not valid. I may think it’s interesting, or I may think it’s offensive. That’s my choice to make.

      Other people may think your view is valid, or they may not. Other people may think my view is offensive. That is their choice to make.

      You have the right to tell anyone else your thoughts. I have the right to judge whether your experience is enlightening.

    36. Anna says:

      “I would kindly like to point out that Catherine is NOT anti-adoption. First off, she’s an adoptee so has lived her entire life immersed in adoption, secondly she is also an ADOPTIVE PARENT…”

      I don’t understand your point. She interacts on twitter with a group of people who have employed the word as a political weapon.

      My point is that she made a statement that directs increased prejudice towards a group that has had to deal with negative stereotypes in many different societies and historical time periods. How she self-defines is not the point.

      You can’t make fun of an individual’s medical condition, or race, or religion, and be so ignorant to think you’re not hurting the entire group with the slur.

    37. Anna says:

      Tao,

      She used the word as a weapon.

      I was not attempting to specifically define her political motive. I was pointing to people who use the word as a weapon, which does not simply target a particular person, but furthers prejudice and stereotypes against a group which has historically been targeted.

      Some people use the word as a weapon for political reasons. They assume the word will help them further their political goals.

      Other people use it as a weapon as an attempt to harm a particular person, and do not care that the group as a whole is hurt. The person is aware that the word has the ability to wound (ie: N*gg**) and directs it at a particular person. The word doesn’t only harm that particular person.

      This use of the word, while person, approves of the historical prejudices and stereotypes, which hurts every member of that group.

    38. TAO says:

      Anna,

      Your comment above included this: “Here’s an explicit example of the usage from a anti-adoption activist engaging in that conversation. You can see how the term is employed politically with the explicit goal of connecting the negative character qualities of desperation and entitlement to those people suffering from infertility:

      Catherine Johnson@https://twitter.com/mscathyanne
      “I was adopted by an infertile -You’d be surprised what I understand.” 5:05, July 9, 2014

      “I sure understand the consequences of entitlement and desperation.” 5:07, July 9, 2014

      The word “infertiles” is used in conjunction with the words “desperate” and “entitled” to employ the word as a slur. That person is aware of the various stereotypes and prejudices that can be associated with the condition of infertility.”

      I would kindly like to point out that Catherine is NOT anti-adoption. First off, she’s an adoptee so has lived her entire life immersed in adoption, secondly she is also an ADOPTIVE PARENT…

      I really don’t believe that if she was anti-adoption – that she would have adopted. You can be against unethical actions, harmful attitudes, methods taken in the world of adoption, and still believe that adoption done right is just fine. Sometimes people choose to speak up on behalf of the segment of adoption that has no voice – the child, who adoption is actually supposed to be about.

    39. RS says:

      Good morning! To me, the answer to this question is easy- yes, it’s offensive. Coming from a profession where I work with children and families who have various types of disabilities, I can tell you that people-first language is essential. For example, we never say “the Down syndrome child,” but “the child who has Down syndrome.” Using people-first language recognizes that the person’s disease or disability is not their identity, but rather a small part of what defines them. Obviously, infertility is different than some of these conditions, but I always feel like the same rules apply when talking about any illness. Even saying “the cancer patient” can make the person feel less human than saying “the person who has cancer.” I agree with some of the earlier posters that it may depend on context, but in general I do put real effort into people-first language because I think it’s important.

    40. cb says:

      I always say IF sufferer (it is only 2 more letters than infertile). I would never call anyone “an infertile” or “infertiles”.

      As for Anna, my main issue with what you say here:

      “What bothers me is when a person who is in a position of power when compared to someone who is infertile (a non-infertile person who feels that they should have the last word on how those of us who are infertile should go about becoming parents-or whether we should become parents at all)uses the term to stereotype and stigmatize us and make our desire to be parents into something less than wholesome.”

      Is that you keep using the above argument to stifle genuine discussion. For example, when it comes to anonymity in donor conception, I do think that as an adoptee from a closed adoption, I have a valid point of view to put forward re anonymity. I am not offering that opinon “from a position of power” in order to “stigmatise” you – I am offering that opinion as someone who knows what it is like to not know one’s origins – not because I want to “have the last word on how those of us who are infertile should go about becoming parents”.

      Whatever the case, can we all just “start again”? Can we all just assume that the majority of people on here are just trying to offer opinions? Can we just take each post on their own merits instead of assuming that because person A is posting then there must be a hidden attack in there?

      I like to think we can all move forward :)

    41. Anna says:

      Unfortunately, these negative attributes are fairly prevalent.

      The person who is infertile may be subject to shaming by others. See the twitter feed between Claudia D’Arcy & Greg today.

      “Here …you want to play low blows and get nasty? @gsmwc02 enjoy. pic.twitter.com/qIuANz4k2C” July 11 2014 10:39

      A pic of sperm meant to be an insult. This is insulting only if she thinks infertility itself is shameful. It’s quite cruel, and meant to be so.

      Common prejudices about infertility include the belief that those who are infertile are not sufficiently masculine or feminine, desperate for children, immoral, willing to steal children, jealous.

      Some cultures see infertile people as witches and infertility as a curse given to mark one undeserving of God’s favour.

      The nasty use of rhetoric about the condition deliberately feeds into and promotes these societal prejudices.

    42. Anon AP says:

      Rebecca, yes, yes! It’s the “You’re an infertile” “Infertiles are” etc. etc. I am infertile. I was diagnosed with infertility. I am an infertile person. I really dislike being called “an infertile”. That last is the one that is stuffing me in a box and slamming down the lid as opposed to describing a state or medical situation. Does that make any sense?

    43. Melissa says:

      I don’t think it’s a big deal. It is completely for brevity. People want to read short to the point articles. Also, when I first saw the word I thought, “oh, I’m part of a group with this medical condition who are all going through this with me.”

      It’s being overlay sensitive to get offended. I’m an attorney. I don’t get offended when people call me an attorney or refer to attorneys as a group. Should I insist on being called “a person with a law degree” because I am so much more than just an attorney. No . . that would be silly. If you are talking about me in that capacity, then call me that.

      Also, my son has cystic fibrosis. Cf moms (oops, I used a label) will refer to our children as my cfer and my noncfer in our online support groups. And it’s often an important distinction for the topic. I’m not insulting my son; I’m just trying to write about something and “my child with cystic fibrosis” and “my child who doesn’t have cystic fibrosis” is just too much.

      The point would be lost in all the wordiness.

    44. Christi says:

      I find it far more offensive for people to refer to those who can have children as breeders. That term annoys the crud out of me. I agree with the analogy of infertile/asthmatic. It’s not the term that’s the problem, it’s the way it’s used. People can find offense in pretty much anything, and on the flip side, can make almost anything offensive if they want to.

    45. Rebecca Gibson says:

      I’ve said all I need to say about this on the FB discussion, but I’d still point out here that it’s one thing to say “she’s brunette.” Or, “she’s blonde.” But it means something else completely when you say about a woman, “She’s a Blonde.” It’s the punchline of a long, long string of misongynist and demeaning jokes, and women who have been on the painful end wince when they hear those jokes. I think it’s similarly wince-worthy to say “She’s an Infertile.” Dawn, I think you’re right that it’s worth taking the time to find the right words, especially if you’re trying to describe *someone else,* and to create a conversation about an already painful topic.

      • Rebecca, I think you make a really good point (and one I hadn’t thought of) in your distinction between “she’s blonde” and “she’s a blonde”. Saying “she’s a blonde” carries with it all the assumptions and preconception about blondehood, while saying “she’s blonde” is simply a description.

        Kind of like I don’t say someone “is a Jew”, rather I say someone “is Jewish”. But I do say someone is diabetic or a quadriplegic. Perhaps the distinction is that we don’t have societal preconceptions or assumptions about the universe of people who have diabetes or who are paralyzed.

        I can see your analogy to infertility. It begs the issue of what are the preconceptions and assumptions about infertility.

    46. Anonymous says:

      I swore I wasn’t going to respond to blogs in the comment section, but this one was just too intriguing…..
      I’m not offended by the term “infertile” on its own-for me it’s all about the context and who is using it. What bothers me is when a person who is in a position of power when compared to someone who is infertile (a non-infertile person who feels that they should have the last word on how those of us who are infertile should go about becoming parents-or whether we should become parents at all)uses the term to stereotype and stigmatize us and make our desire to be parents into something less than wholesome. When I think of the terms related to infertility used by others to describe those of us with IF, “infertile” as a noun is not the one that jumps to mind when it comes to the words that offends me personally (the offense comes more with words like “entitled”, “privileged”, “adoptoraptor”, “kidnapper”, “baby thief”, “coercer”, …..and the list sadly goes on). I agree with Anna’s closing sentence in comment #9-it all comes down to intention and how much power you have in the equation. If you are someone who has so much reproductive freedom that you can make a baby through simple GOFI-whether the conception was deliberate, an accident or even a mistake, I’m sorry but you are in a position of power when compared to someone who is infertile and should choose your words with caution. You have that privilege (along with others). Remember it.
      Dawn-I do not include you in this negatively motivated group-you might be in a position of power, but you are using that power in a positive way-you actually care enough to try to help those of us with IF. I respect you for asking the question about proper words, and I understand your desire for brevity. I sometimes use the abbreviation of “IF” to save space. Might I suggest the abbreviation “PWI” (person or persons with IF). I think this is what I will use from now on. Thanks for the food for thought. Take Care

      • Anonymous, first let me say how proud I am that my blog forced you to comment! {smiling proudly right now}. That will now be my goal–to force you to comment. ;-)

        Make sure to read Rebecca’s post. I think she and you are making the same point, and both of them are helping me clarify my thoughts. I think for me the issue is, as you say, one of when the term “infertile” or “an infertile” or “the infertile” is used to convey stereotype and stigmatization.

    47. Anna says:

      Since we’re discussing how negativity gets connected with the condition of infertility, I’ll refer you all to a post that is now topping D’Arcy’s twitter feed.

      It’s an image of a girl, and over the girl is this text “My sympathy for infertility ends, when compromised ethics infringe upon the rights of another family. When the belief that pain & desire entitles us to another child, I draw a line.” 7:38 PM 9 July 2014

      You can see how her rhetoric works to connect the disease of infertility with conditions that produce the depraved act of unethically appropriating children from another family.

      It relies on the notion that infertility creates an out-group of people who are unethical, and will use their disease as an excuse to commit unethical acts.

      Perhaps this explains the sensitivity of people in some past threads. The word is being used as a weapon, and people suffering from infertility are consuming its toxic usage.

      • Anna, I like that. What I think you’re saying is that you object when the word “Infertile” is “used as a weapon”. Which follows nicely on Rebecca’s and anonymous’s ideas that what is offensive is when it is used to convey a whole host of stereotypical (and negative) attributes. Again, it begs the question of what they negative attributes are when speaking of the disease of infertility.

    48. Anna says:

      Dawn,

      I wouldn’t be offended by your use of the term. I know you’re coming from a good place. Likewise, I feel sure I wouldn’t be offended by Lisa’s blog post. Context matters. Words can be transformed by their usage.

      Are you all familiar with Dan Savage’s Savage Love column? A gay writer and activist who wrote a book about adopting a boy with his partner.

      For years he started each column with the phrase “Hey faggot.” He stopped a couple of years ago after reconsidering the use of the term. I was never offended by his use of the slur. I would have been offended if he wasn’t pro-gay rights.

      Some people attempt to use the disease of infertility as a way to slur and label an out-group. To see an example of this, read the twitter “tweets and replies” in conversation with Claudia D’Arcy yesterday.

      “Ah, here comes @gsmwc02 to defend the infertile!” 4:25 9 July 2014 Claudia C D’Arcy@FauxClaud

      A local reporter from North Carolina had produced short segment on embryo donation; She posted a clip on her twitter feed. D’Arcy and some anti-adoption activists oppose the practice. In her feed D’Arcy suggested embryo donation/adoption is a depraved act.

      Further, she implies in her posts that people suffering from infertility not only commit these depraved acts, but that infertility itself produces depravity. Those suffering from infertility justify their depraved actions with their pain and suffering.

      In other words, the condition of infertility produces depraved monsters. You can see how her political usage of the word relies on old-fashioned prejudices about infertility.

      Here’s an explicit example of the usage from a anti-adoption activist engaging in that conversation. You can see how the term is employed politically with the explicit goal of connecting the negative character qualities of desperation and entitlement to those people suffering from infertility:

      Catherine Johnson@https://twitter.com/mscathyanne
      “I was adopted by an infertile -You’d be surprised what I understand.” 5:05, July 9, 2014

      “I sure understand the consequences of entitlement and desperation.” 5:07, July 9, 2014

      The word “infertiles” is used in conjunction with the words “desperate” and “entitled” to employ the word as a slur. That person is aware of the various stereotypes and prejudices that can be associated with the condition of infertility.

      One of the unfortunate things about suffering from infertility is that it makes you aware of that many societies and subcultures hold negative stereotypes about those who suffer from infertility. I am not only speaking of the internet, but widespread societal assumptions.

      The word “infertiles” is used as a rhetorical weapon. Societal prejudices make it easy for people to label and create an out-group when it is in their political interest. See the twitter feed on embryo donation last night for an example.

      These people employ the term as a slur in the hope it will further political goals.

      Here’s the link to the North Carolina story on embryo adoption.
      http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/local/top-news/2014/07/08/frozen-babies-embryo-adoption/12351435/

    49. Erin says:

      It’s not offensive to me. I am infertile. Not that it defines me, but it is a fact. I have PCOS and suspected endometriosis. I have had 2 miscarriages and a still born daughter. We have one biological son from our first of 11 embryos we have transferred and one adopted daughter. I have been pregnant 4 times all from IVF. Never naturally. I am infertile. It’s just the way it is.

    50. Greg says:

      It doesn’t offend me either because it describes what I am. Being infertile just means I’m unable to reproduce, it doesn’t say anything more than that about me as a person.

    51. Anna says:

      Asked my partner about this tonight. “Do you think the term “the infertile” or “infertiles” is offensive?”

      He answered, “Yes. That’s easy. Next question.”

      He got tired of the discussion: “whatever. If people want to keep using the term, they will. It’s up to them.”

    52. Lisa says:

      I’ve gone back and forth with this, and have decided I’m not offended by it. In fact, I have a blog post I’m publishing tomorrow called “If Infertiles Ruled the World.”

      Honestly, for me it comes down to brevity. I blog and write about infertility a lot and it’s so much easier to writes “infertiles” than “people suffering with infertility.”

      Also, it’s just like that you said about diabetics, epileptics, parpalegics, etc. I completely understand if some people don’t like it, but I’m not going to let a word choice define me. It’s an adjective, a descriptor. It describes a part of me, yes. But I know it’s not entirely who I am. If I say “She’s brunette,” it doesn’t mean that’s all I see her as. That’s how I feel about this term.

      • Lisa, you and I are in many ways coming from the same place. When you write on this topic frequently you are always looking for a different way to say “person with infertility”. I don’t want to offend however, and I suspect that sometime brevity can get in the way of subtlety. I’m finding this discussion very helpful.

    53. Anna says:

      “I also think some people find it offensive because some people use it when they are trying to make a negative point about infertile people.”

      yes. Today on twitter in a debate on embryo donation/adoption:

      “Ah, here comes @gsmwc02 to defend the infertile! @NYAdoptEquality @JenniferLahl @WFMY @ReporterFaith like clockwork!” Claudia C D’Arcy @FauxClaud 4:25PM July 9

      The word performs useful political work in this above case. It creates and “out group” and “dehumanizes.” Individuals are ignored. It is only the infertile. There are no individuals worthy of recognition.

      This post reminds me of a friend describing something in high school. A new white friend joined a racially mixed crowd, and was using the word “ni**a.” A lot of the kids were using the term. But this kid couldn’t get the accent right. The friend group told the new kid to either say the term right or stop using it.

      He wasn’t trying to slur anyone, he was just ignorant. People didn’t get upset, because they could tell he didn’t mean to be insulting. The kid didn’t know how it was coming across.

      But some people do mean the insult. And then it is offensive. Not ignorant. Not insensitive. Offensive.

      • Anna, I think you are right–it all depends on the intent in which it is being used. And I completely see your point about how it can be used to create an “our group”. However, can’t creating an “out group” also be used to rally the out group. Nothing like feeling (or actually being) oppressed to make you bind together. (Not sure that thought has any relevance to this discussion about the word “infertile”, but your comment made me think about that.)

    54. Anna says:

      I can see how many don’t intend an insult. But it may cause people pain. Why cause needless pain? Is it necessary?

      It’s like sending pregnancy pics to someone you know is suffering from infertility. It’s not intended to be hurtful.

      I’d reframe the question from “Is it offensive” to “Is it necessary if it may cause pain?”

      “anon, how about “the infertile”?”

      My personal response is that it is horrible. It’s like saying “the gays.” “But is it good for The Gays?” It’s fine in a campy way from friends. Fine as a joke or an ironic statement. Not otherwise.

      What’s wrong with the adjective-noun combo of infertile people? the infertile person?

    55. Heather says:

      Nope, it doesn’t offend me at all. When it applied to me, I used it often.

    56. anon says:

      I do find it offensive.

      how about instead of “infertiles” saying “infertile people”. that way infertile becomes an adjective, rather than a noun – i think it’s the use of infertile as a noun that is offensive. and “infertile people” is really not that long or cumbersome, and while we may not all be “patients” or “sufferers”, we are all people.

      for the singular, as in “she is an infertile” (which sounds really horrid to me) say “she has infertility”. it’s even shorter.

    57. Anonymous says:

      “Infertiles” as a descriptor or name does not sound that different to me than “Adoptees” as a descriptor or name. I know of a movement to address people who were adopted as “adoptive persons” for similar reasons to the offense taken regarding “Infertiles.” “Infertile people” or “Infertile persons” and “Adoptive persons” may be the better terms… I say this as a person experiencing infertility and an adoptive mother.

      • Anonymous, yes it is similar I think to “adoptee”. I do interchange “adoptee” and “adopted person” and “adopted adult”. It is also similar to “adopters” referring to adoptive parents.

    58. dmdezigns says:

      I’m infertile. Being referred to as an infertile doesn’t offend me. It’s truth. Just like when someone refers to asthmatics. I’m that too. I’m no more offended by being referred to asthmatic as infertile. I think part of the problem here comes in that people dealing with infertility feel sensitive about it. We already feel less than because the core of what makes us a woman (or man) doesn’t work properly for whatever reason. We constantly see reminders of our failure -and that’s what it feels like, a personal failure even though we had no control over it. Even if IVF works, often we still feel less than because we are still infertile, we still couldn’t do it like “everyone” else. I know many who are trying to start a family whether through treatment or adoption are also struggling to feel normal. They want to be like everyone else so anything that points out that they aren’t like everyone else is painful. I think it’s something we all have to deal with and come to terms with. But everyone does it on their own schedule. And there’s also the crowd that uses that term as an insult and they mean it as an insult that adds to the issue with this term.

      • dmdezigns, I also think some people find it offensive because some people use it when they are trying to make a negative point about infertile people. Usually in my experience people the people who are using it in a negative manner are those who are critical of aspects about adoption.

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    Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.