I've been reading a bit lately, here and there, about this whole IVF/Nobel Prize thing. Some 30+ this technology was created and first used, and at this point it's lead to the birth of roughly 4 MILLION children throughout the world. Despite the fact that the Nobel is typically awarded just a tad closer to the discover/innovation/whatever, it's somewhat odd that it took a few decades for this to happen. But I guess it's not hard to see why I took so long...
The drama! Oh, the drama! Overpopulation and unused embryos and, OMG, the orphans! Why aren't you just adopting orphans!?!??!
So, cuz I'm all brainy and stuff, I decided to go ahead and try to think out some of those thinkie things, you know rub my two remaining braincells together to see what I can come up with in regards to the whole IVF thing.
Cuz see, thing is.... we didn't take that path. And we don't regret it. We chose against fertility treatments in general, and IVF in particular, with no qualms. In fact when we were actually discussing trying fertility treatments we've always agreed on one thing: No IVF. We wouldn't go "that far." We never thought it was right for us, and in many ways it's honestly hard for me to wrap my head around how it's right for anyone. The cost, the drugs, the risks....
But see, to me blood relation no longer matters. This, I think, is key. There are many out there who cannot fathom parenting a child who is not born of them, not of their blood, doesn't share their eyes and coloring and lineage. And for us we cannot fathom NOT loving any child that comes to you in the same way as one born to you. Oh, sure, you can't act as if you'd birthed a child through adoption. They have unique histories and often unique cultures which must be understood, discussed and celebrated. There is a difference in how you treat a child depending on how they enter your family, certainly, but there isn't a difference in how you love them, how you enjoy them, how you embrace them.
And yet, even as we shuddered at the thought of ever going "that far" to pass on our genetics, even as we happily embraced the life of adoptive parents and all the concessions it entails, I still find myself supporting and defending the usage of IVF.
And sometimes I ask myself... why?
Why, if we were so against it for ourselves, why would we stand up for it? Or I guess it's more of a "why would I" as I don't really know my husband's views on this matter :-)
So yeah, back to that thinking thing.
I've been thinking a bit, off and on, these past couple days about my own views on IVF and why I find negative comments about it so... offensive. Why should I care when I myself wouldn't chose IVF?
I decided that in order to answer this question to myself I must first respond (in private, here on my blog) to the major negative views brought forth by so many pertaining to this subject.
And so, in no particular order....
"But the orphans! By using IVF you've kept a child an orphan that you could have adopted!!! Oh, you cruel, selfish, anti-adoption zealot!"
K, so, first off? Adoption isn't for everyone! Some people have reasons why they CAN'T adopt, such as a criminal history that could be long past, a medical or mental health history that could be kept under control, too young, too old, too many marriages, abuse allegations from a past relationship, large amount of debt due to bad financial planning, etc. Some people may have even attempted to adopt and run up against a brick wall, having fall throughs or scammers. Even beyond that, many people are simply not emotionally prepared to go through with an adoption, to "share" a child if only through genetics. Even when it comes to people "adopting" gametes or embryos, these same people often have it easier in that A) they can know and control the entire prenatal history of their child, and B) there are no home studies, no legal fees, no birth parents expenses, no risk of a fall through or disruption, etc.
To me personally? I prefer adoption. But for most people going through IVF it's just not where there heart is, even if it's where there heart and mind will end up. The vast majority of people undergoing any fertility procedure wish to parent only a healthy infant from birth and the thought of a tantrumming toddler or malnourished preschool or RAD afflicted school age child or teenager isn't exactly appealing.
Are they selfish for this? Uh, NO! Why is it that people who have been blessed with easy conceptions and pregnancy seem to feel that those of us affected by infertility are "chosen" to adopt and that we're somehow selfish if we don't? WE AREN'T ANY DIFFERENT THAN YOU!!! You could just as easily choose to adopt those same waiting orphans but you don't! Single women and sometimes men are often capable from a young age, like 25, to adopt a child or children, old your young, infant or teen or anything in between. Most married couples would be accepted by just about any program. Yet if you can easily conceive then you aren't "required" to adopt? And if you face infertility it's a given that you must adopt? B***S***! The fertile can adopt just as well and the infertile have a right to be blessed with bio children.
In many ways I feel this is why adoptive parents and adoption in general can be seen in a bad light. Too many people thinking we're "special," and outside the norm. We're not. And perhaps if this perception of those in the adoption triad being different were to fade there would be more (ethical and necessary) adoptions.
So to the argument that IVF leads to less children waiting to be adopted I say: BS. If you want to see a child adopted so badly, go ahead and adopt one yourself!
"IFV leads to unused/dying embryos!!!"
Why yes. Yes it does. But are you really going to argue that the children born of IVF should not have been born? That their existence is worth less because they were not natually conceived? And what of embryo adoption/donation? What of the children coming into existence there?
The fact is that a high percentage of embryos created naturally will either never implant or will miscarry at some point, typically in early pregnancy. How can we honestly know for certain that the percentage of embryos going unused is more than the percentage of embryos that are naturally conceived and never reach gestation? We can't. We can't claim that IVF causes more embryonic death than Mother Nature herself allows.
But we can definitely say that there are lives today, 4 million in fact, that would not be here thanks to IVF. And I do think that's saying something.
Argument the Third:
"The world is already overpopulated! We didn't NEED 4 million more people!"
Again, yeah, the world probably didn't need 4 million more people. Hear that, oh ye fertiles? Stop reproducing! Oh, wait, it only matters when it's an infertile reproducing. Because we were "chosen" to be infertile and/or adopt. Yeah. Right.
The fact is that what the world needs more than anything is family planning. We need more free/affordable birth control and family planning services throughout the world, and especially in places affected by poverty. From what I've read such programs have been readily welcomed in third world nations, when available, because Believe It Or Not! most people, even "the poor," care more about taking care of the children they've been blessed with than having large families.
IVF is, in many ways, a big part of family planning. Sure it leads to many more children entering this world, but certainly not as much as just plain ole sex (where are the overpopulation protesters when it comes to anything selling sex?). IVF is most often used by loving families of any type to bring a much loved and longed for child or children into this world. These kids are cared for, typically treated well, celebrated, and raised up right. How can you honestly complain about that?
In many ways, this is an argument for hypocrites. Very few children proportionally will be born due to IVF. Why not protest a porno? A popular teen show glamorizing sex with no repercussions? The Duggers?
"IVF is for the rich!"
Well, yes and no. It's almost like saying adoption is for the rich! In my humble opinion, both cost way too much. But both are worth it, and both are attainable to most people of the middle class. Should it be made available to people of other classes as well? Uh, yeah, most definitely. But the only way to achieve that is to accept IVF as a necessity for some couples to conceive and change insurance to cover it (and then change insurance to cover everyone ever). I hope some day it's more affordable, as well as safer, more standard, less risky, etc. I pray that everyone who wishes to have a child and has the resources to care for one can do so, no matter the means, and for everyone to only have as many children as they can honestly care for.
Alright, no more time to type so I guess I'm leaving off there. I have an overtired 1 year old (!!!) who won't nap and an almost 5 year old (!!!!!) breathing down my neck ready to head to the kids museum.
So let me wrap up with this:
We didn't choose IVF.
But we might have.
If adoption had not worked for us and it looked like we had the resources to do so, and we'd already tried other avenues... who is to say we wouldn't have gone "that far"? How can anyone who hasn't walked that path honestly say that they would never try it? Never consider it? How can someone who has been able to conceive naturally without issue honestly be a fair judge on such a topic? How can people without children or even desire for children really understand the issue? How can anyone judge another's life choices, especially if it doesn't seem to have caused any pain or trouble for another?
Alright, it's go time. Kids museum, here we come!!!
Lily in a loafing barn
4 weeks ago