Perfect Moment Monday: My New Hero

January 12, 2009

I haven’t heard anything in the IF blogosphere about the most recent episode of ER. I think I may be the only person who’s still watching after all these years.

Ladies, time to set your TiVo’s — and not just because John Stamos is hunky.

Outspoken stirrup queen Angela Bassett is a regular cast member this year as the new Chief of Emergency Medicine. Her character is fair but tough; the prickly exterior turns out to result from her grief after the death of her young son several years earlier (one flashback episode heartbreakingly portrays his death). It has offered an unusually nuanced portrayal of the loss of a child.

But this past week, the loss storyline became an IF storyline! (Perfect Moment #1)

She and her husband decide that it’s time to rebuild their family. Following one failed cycle with charting (!!) and timed intercourse, Basset’s character considers her advanced maternal age and immediately consults the Chief of Obstetrics (who, frankly, is not the person I would approach for fertility issues — I would go straight to an RE, but the OB is a recurring character). The OB tells her that her estradiol and prolactin are fine, but that her FSH is elevated. I’ve never heard all of the IF lingo in such detail on television before, with acronyms and terms tossed around casually just like on our blogs.

The obstetrician tells her that the odds for IVF with her own eggs approach zero, and that many fertility clinics won’t even attempt IVF on someone with those FSH levels. She lays out alternative options: “adoption, surrogacy, egg donation.”

A realistic portrayal of odds and options! I was shocked. My husband kept exclaiming, “Blog! Blog!”

Bassett’s character decides to take one shot at IVF with her own eggs and then pursue the other options.

As with the second season of Mad Men, I am so excited to see what happens next. This is the last season of the show, so there isn’t a huge amount of time to go through an extended portrayal of multiple routes to family-building, but there is time for her to do an IVF cycle or two.

Perfect Moment #2: What’s particularly exciting about this for me is that Angela Bassett and her husband Courtney B. Vance (who also plays her character’s husband on the show) have talked openly about their 7-year battle with infertility and successful use of a gestational surrogate, resulting in boy-girl twins. It is so gratifying that not only has she been forthcoming about the difficulties she encountered bringing her children into being, but she is drawing on her experiences to bring an intelligent, informed infertility storyline to a network television show.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I saw Angela Bassett in person. I’d always found her to be somewhat pretty on the movie screen, but in person she was absolutely stunning. And, if I do the math, she must have been dealing with infertility at the time I saw her — despite that, she had an aura that drew the eyes of everyone in the room. Many people didn’t even recognize her at first, but just had to keep staring at this unknown woman with magnetic beauty.

She seems to have dealt with her infertility better than I have been dealing lately. Hundreds of turned heads is not what I get when I walk into a room. Most days, I can’t even manage to put on actual pants.

Perfect MomentHead to Weebles Wobblog to see more Perfect Moments.

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10 Responses to “Perfect Moment Monday: My New Hero”


  1. Dang! I’d been a faithful ER watcher since the beginning and now I’m sad I’ve let it go by the wayside this year. It sounds like a really well-done storyline. I’ll be tuning back in this week.

    Sorry about the pants. Although I wonder if you really WOULD turn heads if you walked into a room pantless.

  2. Nicole Says:

    What a great moment…I wish more “stars” would be open about IF and how they have dealt with it.

    Speaking of, hope you are hanging in there. Sending you so many good thoughts and hoping for the best on Wednesday.

    ~nicole

  3. Cara Says:

    Wow – what a storyline! No tv – no tivo.

    Please – do tell what happens.

  4. littlesteps Says:

    I forgot I thought about writing about this. I’m a faithful ER watcher and have been since it started. I was SO impressed with how they handled the IF topic. It was (for the most part) extremely accurate and used the right terms. I watch Brothers and Sisters as well, and they’ve had an IF storyline, but it just didn’t seem that realistic. I think that’s why I’ve stuck with ER so long – it’s always pretty medically accurate.

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. Lindsay Says:

    Geez, I too used to be a faithful watcher and lapsed in recent seasons. I saw the episode about their son’s death but haven’t watched since. Guess I should will myself awake on Thursday night. Or better yet, catch it on Eastern time. There are advantages of having digital cable in the West- namely multiple timezones in which to catch shows.

  6. Cat Says:

    That’s GREAT that a show is actually showing IF and IVF realistically! Private Practice has had a couple story lines about it but they’re always ridiculous and make IVFers seem like freaks. NOT helpful.

  7. Danielle Says:

    I love ER! I’ve watched it for YEARS! There’s another show that deals with infertility in a way. it’s called “Private Practice”. One of the Docs is a neonatal surgeon and another is a fertility specialist. They hasn’t used as many terms as ER did, but it is there. Check it out. It’s on Thursday nights at 10 on ABC.
    Enjoy your day,
    -D

  8. Wishing4One Says:

    I never follwed ER, we get some old episodes here in Cairo, but how fascinating that IVF was so prominent in that episode and the lingo, I would have been so jumping up and down and thinking blog too like your DH. I never knew that Angela B. suffered with IF. (I think she’s gorgeous too!)

  9. Wishing4One Says:

    Oh, i forgot to mention how much I LOVED your uterus shaped cookie, brilliant! You should market them for 2ww gifts, LOLLLLL!


  10. danielle, i’ve been following private practice, too, for the same reasons. though, i have to roll my eyes when they play with time. apparently every woman that has to get any infertility treatment is ovulating on the day they come into that obvious and the doctor’s skeds are totally free and she can just try an experimental procedure at the drop of a dime. but i’m glad that they’re at least talking about it.

    as for ER, i’ve also been loving this angela bassett storyline. my husband and i are on the edge of our seats now, and this week we’re thinking of watching it before we watch 30 Rock (gasp!).

    but one thing i dislike is that few of these ivf story lines talk about money. angela bassett and her character have no problem with paying for a surrogate or ivf treatments, but in real life i’ve known and heard of so many women that either had to save up for ivf or actually switch jobs to get it covered by their insurance. it’s infuriating, and i think if more women with money and/or fame connected to this cause, then we’d be able to fight for health care reform. Also, I would like to see more TV writers tackle this in a way that would engage families who don’t have the money for IVF.


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