Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Infertility on TV

Did you watch How I Met Your Mother last night? What did you think?

I actually didn't watch it when it was on, but I saw a lot of people in my Facebook feed talking about how funny shows shouldn't make people cry and people were feeling sad. So this morning, knowing what it was about (kind of) I decided to watch it on

I have to say, I was kind of annoyed at all my well-meaning friends for the first 20 minutes of the show. (On, it's only a 21 minute show!) It was a funny episode, I thought. Dark, of course, which is really the only kind of humor around when having invasive tests at the RE's office. As we all know.

Then the last few minutes were kind of a gut-punching twist that I wasn't expecting. Took me right back to 2005, it did.


Infertility and the death of a parent... sheesh. That's crappy. But hey, at least they're not actually infertile. It just hasn't happened for them yet. Which, whatever. It was clearly the worst year of my life that began with the death of my mother and ended with an infertility diagnosis. I wouldn't wish that year on an enemy or a stranger. Or even a fictional TV character.

But it wouldn't be bad to see a TV character actually be infertile and continue to live their lives. Come on TV, show us what it's really like. I'm sure that whatever show tried to actually document infertility would get terrible ratings.

On the other hand...

You know what show on TV that I have always thought deals with infertility in a sensitive and almost realistic way? King of the Hill. Seriously.

I don't know how many people watch King of the Hill anymore. It's on Cartoon Network and Fox reruns late at night. But the thing I love about the infertility story line is that it comes up sometimes. Hank and Peggy had trouble conceiving Bobby, and now he's 12 or 13. They would have liked to have had more children, but they never did. But 13 years later, it still kind of bugs them.

Sometimes. Not always, and since their son is 13, they've kind of moved on. But every once in a while, they'll talk about wishing they could have had other children, or that they would like to try to have another baby. (This is where the realism comes in...) But of course, Peggy never gets pregnant again. And the best part is that they just live their lives. They have this sadness around this one part of their lives, something they always wish could have been different.

And just like in real life, they always wish their lives had been different, but they weren't. This is their life, and they continue to live it. I'm sure if the show had been focused when Bobby was 2 or 3 and Hank and Peggy were TTC again, infertility would have taken over a lot more space on the show. But since he's in middle school, they're dealing with middle school, and "Boy, I wish we had been able to have more children..." comes up once in a while.

The thing that I always wondered about King of the Hill and infertility is because it's so sensitive and realistic, I wondered which writer had that personal experience. Because seriously, who's going to imagine that that's how it feels? Clearly writers can't, otherwise How I Met Your Mother would have ended differently. Or Charlotte never would have (finally) gotten pregnant (with one *of her own*) after adopting from China in Sex and the City. Or any of the other contrived infertility tropes we see on TV and in movies.

So knowing that someone who worked for King of the Hill had that personal, first-hand experience kind of makes me sad for that person. Because as I said earlier, I wouldn't wish it on an enemy or a stranger. Or a fictional TV character. Or, apparently, the writers of said fictional TV characters.

Have you seen infertility portrayed in new and interesting ways on TV lately?


  1. Have you watched any of the reality show Guiliana and Bill this season? It revolved around their attempt to get pregnant and IVF. Very heart-wrenching but very real (unlike a lot of the other shows).

  2. Friends! Don't forget about Friends! Monica and Chandler were infertile (both male AND female-factor!) and ended up adopting twins! It was beautiful.

    I thought last night's HIMYM was so sad but so wonderful in that I could tweet to my friends about "Hey, this is what I do every morning!" Hahah. If only Dr. S looked like Neil Patrick Harris though... *sigh* ;-)

  3. i waited until i had time to watch HIMYM before i read your post (i read the first few lines and then realized i needed to watch it for myself first!) husband and i were watching it together and when it got to the part where the fake doctor was giving marshall the diagnoses, my hubs was like, "did they copy our life?!" and then, tv reality kicked in of course. so sorry this episode brought back a lot of pain for you...:(

    i think "rules of engagement" is doing an IF storyline involving surrogacy. and yes, Friends! i so appreciated that about that show.