At a Yale fertility clinic, dozens of women began their I.V.F. cycles full of expectation and hope. Then a surgical procedure caused them excruciating pain. In the hours that followed, some of the women called the clinic to report their pain — but most of the staff members who fielded the patients’ reports did not know the real reason for the pain, which was that a nurse at the clinic was stealing fentanyl and replacing it with saline. What happened at that clinic? What are the stories we tell about women's pain and what happens when we minimize or dismiss it? The Retrievals, a new five-part series from Serial Productions, is hosted and reported by longtime This American Life producer and editor Susan Burton. We're excited to bring you the first episode today.

  • Prologue: Ira Glass introduces the first episode of a new podcast from longtime This American Life producer and editor Susan Burton. (1 minute)
  • Act One: Susan Burton introduces some of the many women who went to a Yale fertility clinic for IVF treatment, and charts their experience from hopeful beginning to excruciatingly painful egg retrieval. (27 minutes)
  • Act Two: Often bypassing logic, the women go to great lengths to construct elaborate stories to make sense of their inexplicable pain. And then, a letter arrives. (25 minutes)

Transcripts are available at