In the new Netflix film Private Life, the experience of couples attempting to conceive makes its way to the world of film. The comedy – which has generated glowing reviews– chronicles the trials and tribulations of a couple struggling to get pregnant.
41-year-old Rachel, played by Kathryn Hahn, and her husband Richard, played by Paul Giamatti, explore topics such as infertility, egg donation, IVF, and surrogacy in their quest to start a family together. The film manages to broach such serious topics in a respectful way while garnering plenty of laughs.
Perhaps the realism and respectfulness was a product of the director’s own experience with infertility. Director Tamara Jenkins relied on her own “by any means-necessary” effort to have a child, according to her recent appearance on NPR’s Fresh Airpodcast.
According to Jenkins, she considered all options – including IVF and international adoption – as she and her husband struggled with infertility in her early 40s. She was only comfortable turning her experience into art after a successful IVF cycle that resulted in the birth of her daughter. This led to her writing what she hoped would be a “buddy movie” about a couple in their 40s pursuing parenthood.
She said she can relate to the Hahn’s character, who feels like she had the rug pulled out from under her after pursuing other parts of her life only to find out motherhood may be out of her reach. This is a story many women are familiar with. In fact, many women in their 20s and 30s are turning to egg freezing as they wait longer to try starting a family for career or relationship reasons. Learn more about egg freezing.
Giving a Voice to The 1 in 6
As we’ve written about before, women and couples struggling with infertility are far from alone. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 6 couples in the United States don’t conceive after a year of trying. Despite nearly 17 percent of couples experiencing trouble conceiving, it’s very rare for people to go public with their stories; many are even hesitant to tell their friends and family members about their infertility or fertility treatments. That is part of what makes Tamara Jenkin’s story and her new film so powerful.
We have previously featured the personal experience of an egg donor, but it is much less common to find someone or a couple willing to share their story about the IVF process. This is understandable as many people are simply happy to move on to parenthood after a successful IVF cycle.
If you are considering fertility treatments such as IVF, it is important to have the information you need to make an informed decision. Here are some sources we think you will find helpful: