How TV Talks About Fertility
After a long day, your favorite TV show can feel like a warm hug or an old friend. And in this golden age of television, the storylines have never felt more parallel to real life stories. For women and couples who are struggling to get pregnant or have suffered a loss, when they are able to see other stories like theirs, it reminds them that they’re not alone. Fertility is such a huge part of our real lives—so why wouldn’t we talk about it on TV, too? Here are 6 television shows that have openly talked about fertility:
This Is Us
Photo via @nbcthisus on Instagram
Everyone’s favourite weekly sobfest, This Is Us, is adding infertility to the list of gut wrenching topics the show addresses. After struggling to get pregnant due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), then getting pregnant and suffering a miscarriage, Kate Pearson, portrayed by Chrissy Metz, and her partner Toby begin exploring in-vitro fertilization. Though they’ve been told repeatedly that—due to her weight—it’s unsafe for her to pursue IVF, Kate insists on doing it anyway.
Photo via @cobiesmulders on Instagram
This new Netflix series broke ground last year with its tense, realistic representation of the IVF experience. Inspired by the show’s creators’ real life experiences, one episode's montage shows Ethan's character injecting hormone shots into his wife Lisa's abdomen, over and over until her belly is black with bruises. When the time comes for them to inject the most important final shot, the pregnancy hormone, Ethan drops the glass vial, shattering it on the bathroom floor.
Sex and the City
Photo via HBO.com
SATC broaches the subject of fertility differently through each of the show’s leads. While Samantha and Carrie have opted for a childfree life, Charlotte wants nothing more than to have a baby. And as Charlotte eventually learns that her dream of having a baby will be extra difficult, she undergoes appointments and injections all while simultaneously supporting Miranda through her unplanned pregnancy. Eventually, Charlotte and her husband pursue adoption to grow their family.
Photo via @friendstv on Instagram
While Friends deals with many issues surrounding fertility throughout its 10 seasons—from unplanned pregnancy to surrogacy—one of the dominant storylines towards the end of the series is Monica and Chandler’s quest to grow their family. After trying unsuccessfully for a year, they later learned that both partners’ genetics may cause them to struggle with conception. Eventually, they go with adoption, and in the series finale, bring home twins.
How I Met Your Mother
Photo via @OfficialHIMYM on Twitter
HIMYM never shied away from discussing fertility. While most of the characters shared a desire to procreate, one character did not. Throughout the series, Cobie Smulders' character Robin is adamant that she never wants to have kids. In one episode, after a pregnancy scare, she learns she is not pregnant, but also that she is infertile. And despite not necessarily wanting to have children, Robin mourns the loss of the possibility. In the end, she goes on to travel the world, become a successful journalist, and lives a full and meaningful life—a perspective not often portrayed on TV for childless women.
Photo via @greysabc on Instagram
The topic of pregnancy and fertility is no stranger to the female characters on Grey’s. Early on, Cristina is firm in never wanting to have kids, and when faced with an unplanned pregnancy in season two, she decides to have an abortion before ultimately experiencing a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy. In the aftermath of a trauma, Meredith experiences a miscarriage, which she hides from her husband, Derek. Later, she and Derek struggle with infertility while trying to conceive again. And when Callie finds herself pregnant with Mark’s baby, while dating Arizona, the three of them enter into a modern co-parenting relationship.
What’s your favorite show that talks about fertility?
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