Where Ricki Lake Went Wrong…

Infertility is bad enough on its own.


It’s overwhelming. It’s sad.  It’s frustrating.


Infertility leaves people feeling lost, broken, misunderstood, and forgotten.


Infertility is isolating.


When I saw the media blast stating that the Ricki Lake was looking for a couple to share the ups and downs of their infertility journey and discuss how infertility affects a marriage, I chose to see it as a positive.  At last, I thought, someone wants to raise awareness.  Someone wants to normalize it and bring it to the forefront of conversation.


Someone cares enough to make it a whole episode, not just a ten-minute segment buried in the final hour of a four-hour show.


So I reached out to the producer who sent the blast.  Let me know if I can help.  She hit back in minutes.  They were having difficulty finding a couple and needed to tape the show in two days.  If I could help find a local couple, it would be great.


I put the word out on Facebook and Twitter and waited.  But not for long.  I emailed the producer back and told her what she probably didn’t want to hear:  It can be hard for couples to come forward on a show like this.  Particularly if they are still in the middle of the battle.  I suggested a panel of women, all with different diagnoses and different outcomes.  Let’s put some faces to the struggle, I suggested.  Let’s make this real.


Let’s talk about the psychological component of infertility.  Let’s share the emotions, beginning to end.  Let’s tackle this head on.


No…they needed a couple for this particular segment.


And, in the final hour, I found them a couple.  They had endured quite a struggle and were happy to share.


When I sent that final email…good news, a couple is ready to come forward, I was caught off guard by the response.  The structure of the show has changed.  We decided to do a panel of women…like you suggested!  We would love to have you in the audience.


I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I had a feeling that the show would not be what I had suggested.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that something just wasn’t right.  I politely declined the invitation to sit in the audience, and hoped for the best.


I tried to brush it off.  They were planning a show on infertility, after all.  Media coverage is media coverage, right?




This was the promo for the show…



They had an opportunity to raise awareness and break down the wall of silence that still surrounds infertility.  They had the opportunity to open up a dialogue and normalize the feelings that are impossible to escape.  They had the opportunity to help many if the 7.3 million Americans struggling with infertility.


Instead they chose to sensationalize it.  They chose to focus on “extremes” and highlight the outliers…the 1%.  They chose to make a mockery of the infertility community.


Here is what I know about the brave warriors of infertility, particularly those of you who connect here at Clomid and Cabernet:  We are brave.  We are strong.  We are fighters.  We lift each other up when we need lifting, and let each other fall when we need falling…because we know that sometimes we need a little bit of both.  We cheer for our successes and cry alongside one another when failure strikes.  We live this battle together.


We are not going to extremes.  We are not outliers.  We are not desperate.


We are fighting like hell to build our families and we are holding onto hope when all else fails.  We trust that, someday, our babies will find us.


We are the faces of infertility, and we are strong.



  1. Great article, Katie! Shame on the RLS!
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  2. This makes me sad. I didn’t struggle with an infertility diagnosis myself, but I can’t say I wasn’t “affected” because I have so many close friends (and acquaintances, too) who have suffered through it. I have a lot of respect for Ricki Lake and her show, and I’m sorry they didn’t choose to do a different sort of show.

    We don’t need it sensationalized; people like Nadia Suleman do enough to bring that tabloid-like treatment of infertility into the media. RL could have focused on the people suffering bravely and strongly: couples who try again and again and feel ashamed to tell their family and friends because of the stigma associated with it :(
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  3. Great post, Katie and you really hit the nail on the head. Ricki Lake should be ashamed of herself because she had once been a really positive voice when making the documentary The Business of Being Born, but this looks like it was just back to the old Ricki Lake days: sensationalism sells advertising.

    And it’s a real shame because, as you point out, there are literally millions of people in the US alone struggling with infertility. She could have been a leader in getting real conversations happening. Thanks for trying to put some credibility into the episode. Too bad it didn’t work.
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  4. I was fortunate enough to become pregnant on my honeymoon, but I watched and supported several friends through infertility. It was horrible to watch, knowing my friends would make such amazing parents and they wanted it do badly and literally tried everything possible. Meanwhile they resented people like me who got pregnant so easily. Being able to have a baby is an incredible gift and sadt not something that everyone can experience. To dramatize the already traumatic and difficult experience these families endure is not right at all. Thanks for sharing Katie!

  5. I haven’t seen the show but I’ve seen their endless pitches and they keep inviting me to be in the audience.

    Um…. I’m pretty sure tourists from Ohio line up to be in studio audiences. I don’t.

    That promo is a mess, I’m happy for you that you and your community didn’t participate in that.
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  6. I’m glad you posted this. I was on the show and wasn’t really able to share my story. It was a great experience and since I’ve had people email me I’ve been able to share my story with them. I just want to be heard, I want to raise awareness, I want to change the future of infertility forever. I’m the military spouse who is being treated like dirt trying to find out the cause of my infertility. I’ve had all the normal tests ran that a PCM can do. Everything has came back fine. Now I’m BATTLING to get the signatures required to further the testing. This has been ongoing since March. It’s simple…sign the paper right? Not when the dr is unprofessional and cruel. He’s told me things a dr should never tell a patient and treated me as if I’m completely stupid. To the point I’ve burst out in tears in the office and raised my voice in front of other patients because I was so emotional and frustrated. And my point also is that IF I manage to get this signature, the costs are over the top. For the military the pay is roughly around 30k a year…not to mention the fact that there are all bills to pay…and where we live currently I cannot find a job. I’m doing my best to save every spare penny we have for the future but it seems like it’s going to take YEARS before we can even entertain the costs. I keep praying that they do something to where people will be able to afford IVF easier.

    • I owe you an email with those questions…coming soon! Good for you for wanting to raise awareness, but I hate that you have to get through all of this red tape.
      Clomid and Cabernet recently posted..Where Ricki Lake Went Wrong…My Profile

      • I just sent you an email. I had forgotten for a few days. I’m still cutting my way through the tape but I saw my new OBGYN yesterday who has shown me more compassion and concern than ANY doctor I have ever seen in my life. I am scheduled for a Lap and Dye on Dec 6th. From there we will find out what the next step is. He’s determined to get me pregnant quickly and safely. He’s concerned about my heart disease and my back (I have harrington rods from scoli surgery) Which I wasn’t informed that when I was diagnosed with scoliosis that it could cause fertility problems.
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  7. That makes me really sad. You’re right, it is hard for couples to come forward and talk about it, especially since a lot of those I know going through it don’t even talk about it with their friends and families. One of my best friends started trying the same month we did and I didn’t know till over six months later (she didn’t know about me either). We both have PCOS and don’t ovulate on our own. It’s something that is still such a closeted issue because it’s uncomfortable and people don’t like to talk about it. She had a real opportunity here to do something for infertility similar to what she did for home births and she squandered it.
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  8. This makes me so very sad… Really Ricki? You have a chance to educate and empower people and instead you make a mockery? Infertility is not a joke. It is very real and a painful process. I am going on the 2 1/2 mark of TTC and have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and I can tell you that infertility has absolutely changed my life. Some of my darkest days, I could not even get out of bed- some of my better days… deciding to go to graduate school so that I can help others that are experiencing infertility struggles.

    Thank you for posting this – will be boycotting Ricki Lake from here on out..

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