Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Foot in mouth syndrome

If I think something is funny I'll say it, or write it, or blurt it out consequences be damned.

This post about The Fertility Show. I thought it was funny. I work in marketing, I've been to those meetings. Then today I got the following email:

Smugly, I thought to myself, at least I’m making a difference with this one. 6 months of unpaid labour, stress, a home taken over by boxes and flyers, no chance of profit and yet a looming financial risk…it’ll all be worth it. The charity [Infertility Network UK] will get some money. The visitors will hear some great talks. And if knowledge provides choice, then maybe we’ll help a few people going through a hard time.

Until I found your site. Crikey, I think I’ll go back to commercial reality. That’ll teach me.

We’re advertising so the exhibitors are happy. The exhibitors pay for the event to take place. 40 experts are giving up their time to speak for nothing. We have 8,000 seats in top talks that we’re selling for one pound. A morning spent at the show will cost the same as a movie. Everything revolves around giving visitors access to the best information.

Love your site, just want to say that the meeting didn’t go exactly as you suggest.


Managing Director, The Fertility Show


Seems I was wrong. That the organisers aren't the cynics here and they really are promoting this event for the right reasons.

Also a mate emailed me a link to this article about one of the speakers. She sounds amazing and definitely on my short list should my NHS-funded treatment come to naught.

If you are any thing like me you'll be reading this thinking "Aye, aye, what did she get? A couple of free tickets, a bag of magic herbs, a promise of IVF?" allow me to assure you I've had nothing but that charming email and a realisation that I am getting far too cynical and embittered for my own good.

Still they say no publicity is bad publicity so maybe in some twisted way I helped ...

The Fertility Show is on 6 & 7 November 2009 at Olympia, London.


  1. Dont worry, Liz. You just wrote what your gut instinct told you. You've been put right but you've eloquently, and in your usual honest style, explained it all out now so you can still hold your head up high.

  2. In a topic like IF someone is bound to be offended some time. You said what you thought, and then very kindly presented another perspective and even issued a mea culpa, and so I wouldn't worry one wee bit about it.

  3. I'm really glad to hear that you have retracted your words about the Fertility Show's sponsors. Your blog is great, but I thought that post was a tad cynical. I have nothing to do with the organizers, except that I have tickets for both days of the Show and a few of the seminars sitting on my desk in front of me.

    It's funny and even reasonable that commercial/"caring" ventures hit people in such different ways, depending upon their experiences and needs. I am no longer TTC as I am one of the "lucky" ones who overcame the obstacles to have my children and can't go there anymore. As a result, I am perhaps less sensitive to imagined slights and rip-offs than someone who is still dealing with their infertility.

    As I also work professionally in this area, as a fertility coach, I am in contact all the time with women who could really benefit from a show that lays all the options right out in front of them, under one roof. I have distributed flyers to the members of my support group, with a suggestion that they attend with their partners. Actually, I am rather excited myself because I will possibly meet some of the community of doctors, health journalists and alternative therapists who inspire me with their commitment to progress the science, delivery and after-care of life-enhancement services and reproductive medicine.

    I will admit that I also hope to hand out a few of my business cards at the event, which I suppose gives me my own professional and commercial motivation to attend. I need the work and where better to meet potential clients? People have to make a living, regardless of their altruistic interests. It's best, in my opinion, to accomplish that by doing something you love and care about. I don't resent the pay of an oncologist who researches, treats and saves lives of cancer patients; I just want them to find a cure for cancer.
    I actually don't think I needed to tell you any of this, as you clearly took in what "Jonathan" said in his email and graciously changed your opinion. I guess I just needed to say it. Thank you for giving me the space. I will reserve my opinion about the show until I have been there and will write about it in my blog. Feel free to comment.
    I'm not Anonymous, I'm Lisa of http://yourgreatlife.typepad.com

  4. I think most people who read it had the same somewhat cynical view on it.

    Most who read it, are or were dealing with infertility, and I think their/our reactions were honest.

    That's something the organisers need to take into account too.

    Good on you for coming back to it, and I hope those who go get rewarded.

  5. I'm afraid, despite the email from the Managing Director, nothing can take away the sour, angry taste the posters for this show left in my mouth. Smiling babies, stupid patronising crap about 'needing a little help'. The show itself sounds like a good resource and raising awareness about these issues is a great thing in itself, and I hope the event does very well.

    But the posters in the tube stations? Like being punched in the face every time I had to walk past them. And that was BEFORE I knew I had miscarried again. So, if the organisers are reading the comments, and they bloody well should be after Womb for Improvement's gracious and brave post, they perhaps can redesign the posters. Which seemed to me to be solely focused on slightly panicky just-setting-out-to-conceive nice middle-class women in their mid-thirties who had read something in a broadsheet about ovarian reserve and freaked, and to have nothing whatever to do with people who have been on the receiving end of real, horrible, trying, treatments, failed treatments, and so on. In other words, the people who really do need advice and help. The show itself may well be very different from the image the posters presented. But the image the posters present is very important, don't you think?

    Must stop ranting now. Sorry. Am clearly not really in full charge of my emotions just at present. But I still think the point about the absolute off-putting NAFFNESS of the posters needs addressing. Please delete this if I am coming across as completely deranged.

  6. Wig, as the first person who suffered from my writing something that seemed funny at the time, back in 1989, but really wasn't. Thanks for sticking with me. xx

    I'm not too worried, Irrational Ex

    Thanks for such an in depth comment Lisa, and I'll read your post show review with interest. You would have been welcome to write your views in the comments on my original post, I always like to hear what people think even if (especially if?) they don't agree with me. A different perspecitive is alway useful - and as long as the commenter isn't abusive neither am I!

    Cheers Xbox,

    No way am I deleting your comment May, it makes a completely different point from my original misguided one, but a very valid one. And as absolutely the target market it is a point I think the organisers should take on board.

  7. Being in Oz, I've not seen the posters BUT I think the organisers might really have to sit down with their marketers and take WFI's and other's comments into account. It probably will be informative and enlightening, and I'm sure many people are working very hard for little or no $ to put it on, BUT they do need to consider how to promote it without causing offence to their target market.
    ...and nutsinmay - your comment absolutely does NOT sound derranged at all. Just honest.

  8. Ouch indeed! But I do think that May makes some very valid points (and doesn't come across as in the least bit deranged!) I don't live in London and so haven't seen the posters advertising the event; my first encounter with The Infertility Show came via a flyer that fell out of a magazine (and the mere fact that the show is being marketed in this manner appears to say a great deal).

    As I said in my comment on your previous post, I don't have a problem with anything that is designed to empower those dealing with IF to make educated choices about their treatment options. What I do have a major issue with, however, is anything or anyone who purports to have all the answers, or who implies that ART is somehow a guaranteed 'cure' for infertility. I really do not see how something as complex as the issue of ovarian reserve testing, for example, or else 'the future of fertility treatment' can be dealt with in the space of a 45 minute seminar.

    But perhaps women such as ourselves are not the target audience for this show. Possibly it will be of value to those who may be just starting out down this road. In which case, I'm sure that the event will doubtless be a great success for both its organisers and for self-professed 'fertility coaches' such as Lisa.

    And I'm sorry if this post comes across as unnecessarily inflammatory - feel free to delete it if you wish.

  9. Thanks for the comment Amanda, they should think of this as a free focus group!

    Ms Heathen, again I'm not going to delete your comment. I've no idea if the organisers are still reading (although I note they haven't linked here in the 'comments on forums' section!). Because women like us are absolutely the target for the show, and I think it really useful for them to hear how we reacted to its advertising and content with no prior knowledge of them or their motives.


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