Sunday, June 8, 2008

New Stamp...even if it is in Portugal.

Saw this by the way of The Nest today and thought it was worth showing. Glad to see someone cares about our struggles.
This is from a blog called Stamps of Distinction:

Portugal, 2008
Is this the world's first
infertility-themed stamp?

In March, 2008, Portugal's postal authority CTT Correios de Portugal, S.A. may have made postal history when it issued the stamp shown on the left. It is thought that this stamp was the first ever stamp specifically issued to raise awareness of the struggles of infertility. In a March, 2008, article in Linn's Stamp News, the de-facto industry standard for philatelic news, suggests that this is, in fact, the first stamp on this topic.

Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive a child or, if conceived, the inability to successfully carry the child to delivery. The condition is usually associated with strong emotions such as angst, grief, anger, a sense of incompleteness, and depression. The emotional impact to the affected individual or couple can be devastating.

For years, there were only three primary options available to infertile couples. One was to try home-remedies and "quack" cures, which had successes rates attributable to simple luck. Another was to accept their childlessness, which many did reluctantly. The last, and in my opinion, most noble option, was adoption.

As doctors searched for additional options for this debilitating illness, a new technique, called in vitro fertilization, or IVF, was successfully pioneered by British doctors, Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. On July 24, 1978, their technique led to the birth of Louise Joy Brown, the first baby to have been conceived outside of her mother's body.

Louise's parents had tried for a number of years to conceive a child, but with physically blocked Fallopian tubes, Louise's mother was unable to conceive through natural methods. By removing her eggs, fertilizing them outside of the body, and then implanting them, Louise's mother was finally able to become pregnant and bear a child.

This event became a watershed event in the efforts to find a cure for infertility. It meant that couples who had previously been unable to conceive due to physical impairments stood a much-greater chance of conception. While in the best case, it offers about a 50% success rate in younger women, such a percentage is a marked improvement over the miniscule success rates without IVF. It offered a ray of hope and led to more attempts in finding a cure for the illness.

Unfortunately, the high cost of in vitro fertilization has kept the procedure out of reach of many infertile couples. But each year advances are made and many procedures have come down in cost.

The stamp issued by Portugal is beautifully designed and conveys the hopes of infertile couples with its imagery. The stamp shows a stylized silhouette image of a man and woman embracing a child. The image of the child is almost ghost-like in appearance, symbolizing the hope for the child, yet at the same time highlighting the fragility of conception for infertile couples.

The stamp is denominated as 0.30 Euro (approx $0.47 USD). It is currently available for purchase from Portugal's postal authority.


LanY said...

Hi Lindsay,

I found your blog through TTTC and wanted to say hello. I think this stamp is beautiful and wish the U.S. would adopt it!
I will definitely have you and your hubby in my thoughts this summer and hope this IVF is the one for you.

Tony Servies said...


Thank you for linking my post, plus the nice comments you made.

Even though my blog is about stamp collecting in particular, this topic was easy and caught my eye.

You see, my daughter, Emma, is 12-years-old and is a product of IVF. Had it not been for my and my wife's struggles, I'm sure I would be like most of the world and take an indifferent approach. However, living through a long-term "episode" of infertility (approx. 7 years until conception) it is fresh on my mind.

I hope all of your readers will try to maintain their strength and dignity during their challenges.

Best wishes (and thanks!)
Tony S.
Stamps of Distinction blog