I haven't written about the subject of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before today, but it's been on my blogging back burner. Thankfully, two of my readers e-mailed me to vent about the subject and their eloquent letters (which they permitted me to reprint below) raise some very interesting questions and I'd love to hear your thoughts:
Is in vitro fertilization in line with "God's plan"? (assuming one believes in God)By the way, thank you to ALL the readers who contact me with blog post ideas or forward links to me. I save them in a little file called "Blog Post Ideas" and my folder is getting pretty big. I plan to dip into it on a regular basis. Please continue to send me your ideas, letters, links and vents. You can reach me at firecracker_mandy(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Is IVF an act of selflessness, or selfishness?
Is having children an entitlement? Is the capacity to give birth a medical necessity? Should health insurance companies be required to cover IVF?
Are those who pursue IVF (and the docs who perform this procedure) "playing God"?
And now to the letters of our esteemed readers, HawkMom and Shrodinger's Kittens (thanks, ladies).
I'm a mother (obviously) but I just love reading your Childfree blog. I've been to other places that just rant about "greedy moos". I don't take it too personally, though, as I've heard from some childfree acquaintances that parents are often self-righteous and arrogant towards them. All of what you say is spot on. When having children, you gain a lot emotionally and spiritually (if you're into that), but you give up a lot more. If kids were adults, we wouldn't put up with them. It's all take, take, take. I adore my girl to pieces, though, so I don't mind being temporarily insane for the next 18 years, which is basically what parenting is. I'm okay with that. : )
Anyway, I was about to write a post on my own blog about IVF and fertility treatment. I've written about it before and commented on forums, but I was charbroiled beyond recognition. These ladies are brutal. I'm in a weird place, as I am unapologetically pro-choice. However, fertility treatments in general make me uneasy. I'm one of those natural birth loons, so forgive me in advance, but I do find it offensive that many of the same women pumping themselves full of hormones and graded embryos are rallying against gay marriage and abortion as "against God's plan". Hypocrisy much? I lost a friend over this recently, when she found an old blog entry of mine. As diplomatically as I could, I explained to her in an e-mail back-and-forth that her twins (formerly triplets) were more the result of her selfish desires, that her PCOS was not a life-threatening disease comparable to cancer, and I just couldn't sit back and pretend that she was selfless and brave, no matter how many treatments she went through. She had "no regrets" over the fact that one of her babies died before the end of the first trimester and another one almost died in utero, spending the first few weeks of his life on breathing machines, clinging to life. She said she would do it all again, because I "wouldn't understand" what it's like to want something so many other women can have. The jaw drops when I think about this. I did apologize for offending her, if that helps. I thought you may understand my perspective, because those of us who have biological children or don't want any altogether are forbidden to have an opinion. I was actually searching your archived posts for something about the topic. I have to go run some errands now, but I was wondering if you could link me up to an old entry or if you were interested in writing about it in a newer post. My interest in all of this has been piqued even more with that recent mix-up in
Every time I see an article that argues assisted reproductive technologies should be covered by insurance I can't make a coherent argument. It makes me too angry. Covered by insurance? It should be illegal. Nobody ever died from not having a baby. And then you get a situation like Jon and Kate--note in the article when they started trying for another baby she told the doctor she would not selectively reduce. This is the thing I hate most about assisted reproduction: for some reason your body is not able to sustain an embryo or bear a child, but we can chemically torture it into doing what it shouldn't, all because society says you are a failure as a woman if you don't pursue every possible option to get a baby, no matter how impractical or expensive or detrimental to your health. Look what Science can do for you! Oh, so many beautiful babies! It's a miracle!
Then a few months later the doctor sits them down and says, "You have to think about selective reduction. There are too many embryos," And mommy and daddy say, "Oh, teehee, I can't play God!" Guess what, you got into the god business when you started this chain of events. Everyone screams about their right! to have a baby, but nobody wants to take the responsibility. So God, in the guise of the taxpayers, pays for their defective litter that's plagued with physical problems and learning disabilities. Because no sacrifice is too great for a baby, especially if other people do the sacrificing.
So where does it end? Thanks for letting me rant, I apologize if I got wordy, but I thought you might have something (more coherent and less ranty) to say about this article if you hadn't seen it already. Take care.