Spot the April Fools Joke: Fertility Follies and Tricks for the Stirrups

7 years ago
Kanamara Matsuri In Kawasaki, Japan

Fertility doctors in England raffled off a human ovum last week.

April Fools! this actually did happen. An American fertility clinic, working with a British clinic, raffled off a donor egg cycle to take place back in the US. Due to compensation limits in the UK, there is a dearth of donor eggs and many women needing to utilize donor gametes in order to conceive need to go abroad for their cycles.

Not quite as nefarious as it sounds upon first glance, I've written before about compensation for donor eggs (which carries with it a higher risk than donating sperm) and agree wholeheartedly with the Christian Science Monitor's take on the sale:

An argument to control the commercial sale of eggs for the sake of the donor’s health can only work if two claims are substantiated: Firstly, that the donation of eggs is a health risk to the donor woman, and secondly, that it is right to legislate to prevent women undertaking such a risk to their own bodies. Naturally, as someone who advocates self-ownership, I firmly reject the second assertion, but the EU unsurprisingly disagrees with me. if that story was real, then the Penis and Vagina Fertility Festival must be a joke right?

Japan trotted out the penis and vagina sculptures for its annual fertility festival two weeks ago.

At the Hime-no-miya grand vagina festival, parents dress up their kids, pray for healthy babies, and celebrate with sake, beer and snacks galore. In the morning, children carry a small vagina to the Ogata shrine. Later, some 40 grown men strain under the weight of a massive vagina while carrying it to the shrine in the main parade. They're followed by two smaller vagina litters. At the end of the day pink and white mochi (glutinous rice ball treats) are hurled into the crowd.

Japan has been holding these fertility festivals for 1500 years in various towns. is real too.

Instead, I am compiling a worst-tricks-to-play-on-an-Infertile-person list:

  • Announcing a pregnancy as a joke: want to know something hysterically not-funny? Having to suck it up and pretend to be excited for a friend who claims she is pregnant and then find out after you've swallowed all your sadness and frustration (because while she is knocked up, you just had another negative cycle) and gotten yourself to a place where you are honestly happy for her, that it's just a joke. Because fake pregnancies are funny!
  • All your embryos arrested: having your nurse call to tell you that all of your embryos arrested overnight and your transfer has been canceled only to change her tune after your heart has dropped into your stomach by shouting, "April Fools! You have six beautiful blasts!"
  • This cycle is on the house: telling a patient that the $12,000 IVF cycle with ICSI is being comped by the clinic only to tell her (after the huge sigh of relief) that you're just kidding--the financial department would like you to cough up the cash by your next appointment.

What else would break your heart today?

Required Reading April Fools' Day Posts:

I Want to Be a Mommy
: complete with pictures of her April Fools Day cake.

Sunny in Seattle: after keeping her twins from preterm birth, Sunny begs for them not to be born on April Fools Day.

From IF to When
: trying to trick her period into not showing up today.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her book is Navigating the Land of If.

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