Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coward's Response from Provena, via FACEBOOK

I posted something on Provena Health's Facebook page, and a few hours later, I got this response:

Provena Health wrote: "Dear "Snarky" Thank you for your interest in our Maybe a Baby after 30 class. We were pleased to offer this class to our community and received wonderful feedback from the couples who attended. As a faith-based, mission-driven ministry, our goal is never to frighten or to "make money" as our payor mix would show. Rather, our purpose is to educate and be a part of the wonderful blessing of bringing healthy babies into the world - which we do over 2,000 times a year. All classes are developed based on credible research. Fact is, fertility does indeed start to decline in one's late 20's. This class was about optimizing health, and preparing emotionally for a baby and how this blessed addition may affect a longer term marriage, a more established career, older grandparents who may require care, etc. It was fun. It was uplifting and it was our pleasure to host it."
And then deleted it, so no one else could read it. But then, mysteriously brought it back 20 minutes later. It's not a matter of technology delaying here, folks. I have two separate notifications in my email for the same passage. One at 9:49 p.m., and one at 10:12 p.m.

Why make this my albatross? Because it's one thing to offer "information," to women seeking it. It's quite another to buy a marketing list and spend money to find potential patients.
Here was my response to them:
Fertility does decline after a certain point, for sure. Why not promote teen pregnancy, when biological fertility percentages is at its highest? If I were you, I'd be a little more careful with what "information" you put out there. When the American Academy of Obstetrics says the age of advanced maternal age is 35, and you go and BUY ...lists of married, childless women in the area, older than 30 (perhaps younger than 35?), and send them information essentially scaring them of their choices, it sounds irresponsible to me. I'm still waiting for an email back from Heather, as well as from the chairman of your hospital board, Jon "Cody" Sokolski.
This is the first communication I've received from Provena, despite writing two private e-mails and alerting them to the blog post on Twitter. Why does Facebook get a response from them? And, I know they know what's going on...Joliet, Ill. showed up on my reader locator like fireworks on the 4th of July.

UPDATED to add: Heather says she never got my email. I have a hard time believing that. She also said it was because I never sent it. Yes, Heather, I am delusional as well as ovarianly elderly.

And can someone else find the condescension in Provena's post at the end of it? I'm too tired to deal with it tonight. I'm 32. My parents are 58 and 64. Somehow, I don't think I'll be juggling their care anytime soon, with or without a baby.


  1. Of course they want to make money! Why else would they resort to scare tactics to pressure women into making a life-changing decision they may or may not be ready to make?

  2. "This class was about optimizing health, and preparing emotionally for a baby"

    So why couldn't they just do that? Why market it to adults like we have all the sense of teenagers at the mall? Ooh, a free gift! Appetizers! It's a party!

    I'm upset that my personal information was sold, number one, and then this important decision M and I have truly been wrestling with gets thrown in my face like this, uninvited.

    If they can't understand why they come across as condescending in their approach, that really says something about their corporate culture, and they are a corporation, no matter how faith-based and non-profit they may be.

    If anything, this flier and a quick search around provena's website have convinced me that it is not the place I would go for ANY medical support or information, but especially not on this topic.


  3. Their response sounds very condesending! It's like they think they are talking to a 5 year old.
    To market something they way they did is just rediculous.
    I had my first baby at 32 and the 2nd at 34. No Dr every said anything to me about advanced maternal age.

  4. As someone who works in marketing (not in your market), direct-mail pieces based on targeted lists such as age, gender, ZIP code or household income(just as one might do for a new store, for instance) is very common.

    If you're not interested in receiving materials, you have two options: contact the direct mail association and ask your name to be removed and to contact the business in particular and ask your name to be removed from future mailings.

  5. Really, "It's not about making money"? This is marketing 101, trying to drum up business with good ole scare tactics. Marketing people think the public is not sophisticated enough to figure this out. Here's the thing, perception is reality. You have succeeded in offending many of those you were targeting, so time to reevaluate. It's not likely people are waiting around to be told their eggs are getting old to decide to have children. Then thanking that establishment for making them aware of this by choosing that hospital to give birth. It's more complicated, you know that and we know that. Offering classes that talk about topics you have mentioned is great. To scare people in their thirties that they are "advanced maternal age" is unnecessary. BTW, what is a "longer term marriage"?! Not shooting too high there are you? JW