It’s not the nationwide cuts to IVF clinics that are threatening fertility. It’s not the daily barrage of headlines convincing us that if we drink red wine, have exactly five best friends and eat a lot of meat, we will increase or decrease our chances of having a baby. No, it’s women’s “masculine” career choices that are sending us down the road to Gilead.
“Fertility guru” Fiona Kacz-Boulton spoke at this year’s Fertility Show to explain that women are struggling to become pregnant because they insist on chasing “masculine” careers. “You are acting masculine and expecting your body to perform in a feminine way,” she told the captive audience. “Women are now out working just as much as men are in this very masculine state, but then we are expecting to be in the feminine state, which is about opening and surrendering.”
Yes, that’s it – our dangerous obsession with career progression means we’re tricking our bodies into being male. How do you expect to have a baby when you’re filling in spreadsheets and having important meetings all the time? Maybe we should consider changing our jobs, Kacz-Boulton suggested.
According to the “natural fertility expert” – who has no medical expertise – having “masculine” career goals causes more stress than typically feminine aspirations (though she fails to explain what actually constitutes masculine or feminine achievements.) By using stress, Kacz-Boulton attaches her theory to an established medical premise of fight or flight – which can affect blood flow to the fallopian tubes – making her comments not only dangerous, but believable.
When used in this way, fertility becomes a weapon to control women and a tool to diminish their ambition
The theory is backed by personal anecdotes from Kacz-Boulton about a teacher who was head of her department, but could not get pregnant. “She was the one that had the steady income and she was the one wearing the pants in their relationship,” she said, “and that affects female fertility.”
It is no coincidence that Kacz-Boulton also runs a Harley Street clinic, Awakening Fertility, designed to “enhance women’s fertile lifestyle”. The service claims to have an 80 per cent success rate in helping couples get pregnant through methods such as “fertility yoga”, “mental empowerment” and “energy healing”. Their 90-day online fertility course costs “only £1,999”. Earlier this year, it was found that most fertility MOTs are inaccurate and are essentially a waste of money for women who worry about their ability to have children. The report did not include unregulated non-medical clinics such as Awakening Fertility.
When used in this way, fertility becomes a weapon to control women and a tool to diminish their ambition. We know now that “having it all” is an 80s hangover myth, but at the same time it’s reductive to think we need to give up our career ambitions in order to get pregnant. Fertility issues require support – medical or financial – not a new job.