Monday, April 8, 2013

Minorities & infertility

Long, but very much worth watching:

Some thoughts:

While I may not be black, I am considered by some to be a minority due to my heritage, but "look white" to most.  Where I live, there are many people who are "mixed" in the way I am, so it's not something I think a lot about.  However, when I lived in the Midwest, my maiden name was ethnic enough for people to want to put me in a box I didn't necessarily identify with.  I was told "You don't look Latino" on several occasions & it made me wonder what someone like me is supposed to look like (which is a whole other post).

However, my husband is a minority (within a minority in the country of his birth; which is yet a whole other post) with skin that is darker than a good many African American people.  It is not uncommon for him to be asked what he is exactly.  Again, not "black", but as a Dravidian Indian from a backwards caste he also does not fit easily into your standard racial box in the US where Asian can mean anything from someone from Japan to someone from Sri Lanka & everywhere in between.

Being in an inter racial as well as inter religious marriage without the challenge of infertility is still very hard for people to accept.  My doc (even though she's not in practice right now I still consider her to be "my RE") was herself a minority in a minority to the Nth degree (she was Indian by heritage, raised in South America, married to an American Jew, who was herself infertile).  She "got it", by which I mean she understood all the crap (sociological, biological & psychological) we are dealing with.  We are so lucky to have known her.  So many of my fellow infertiles do not have docs with her kind of cultural competance.

In the 3 infertility we have been through with over twenty doctors practicing between them, I can only recall seeing 1 black female RE.  No black male REs anywhere.  And no black nurses, male or female, for that matter.  Between the 3 clinics, there were 3 "Asian" docs: 1 Indian male doc, 1 female Chinese doc & my RE who you could also count as Latino too I guess, though I never asked what she identified as.  I should do that next time I see her.  Yes, the inner anthropologist never truly goes away!  


My doc appeared (to me) to see a lot of Indians; whenever we'd go for an appointment, there was always an Indian couple in the waiting area.  And we don't live in an area with an overwhelming amount of Indians (we live in the suburbs of a large urban area in New England).  They probably went to her because of the cultural affinity.  I don't recall seeing many Indians at the other practices; sure, there were some, but not in the sheer #s she had.

Just going on memory, about 75% of the docs were white males, the majority of whom I am going to assume never experienced infertility firsthand because outside of my infertile doc, I've never heard any of them mention it.  How, then, can they truly empathize with their patients?  And if they are infertile, then why not share that?  I understand the whole self disclosure thing & don't think they have to share their whole "war story" from the beginning, but how else are we to break down the silence of infertility if those treating us won't talk about it?


Rebecca said...

I guess I just never really think about the differences in race. Being a military spouse we have patients and doctors at my clinic that blur the lines of races.

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