Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In case you didn't know, the infertiles are overpopulating the Earth

First order of bussiness:  MrH, if you are reading this post, I have to let you know that we have completely run out of candy, hence it's time for you to go grocery shopping.

Now, on with the rambling.
I just read Julie's post at and laughed so hard I hurt like hell.  She can really say it so well!  I then took the time to not only read the New York Times article

but also what people had to comment at the end.  It was downright scary.  I did not think that in today's society, normal people who can read and type are still thinking Middle Ages' worthy thoughts.  I also wonder if any of these people ever took the time to think about what they are saying. I mean please, to accuse the infertiles of being responsible for overpopulation is such a contradiction of concepts that it makes my mind spin blank.  We are usually lucky if we can have one child out of the whole affair.  Maybe two if we are enormously blessed.  That is hardly enough to replace the two people that will eventually die, namely the parents.

And I didn't know that people still refer to babies conceived via IVF as "test-tube babies."  (I would agree with calling them "test-my-resilience babies".  It makes me wonder if, when my hypothetical children will be in school, this might be a topic of discrimination or harassment.  My guess is, however, that as time goes on, and infertility rises (as it is currently doing), people will start to become more aware of the fact that having reproductive difficulties is painful, and they might develop some compassion.  They might be able to empathize with the fact that, just as they wanted and loved their children, women like me want and love their children before they are even conceived.  One can only hope...

In case anyone out there thinks that we ignore our embryos and leave them to rot in the freezer, that is not the case.  Embryos in an infertile woman's mind are little potential babies, and we love them to bits.  The best part of IVF is getting the daily phone reports from the embryologist, who tells you how your little embryos are doing, how many cells they have, how they are dividing and progressing.  I cried when my first frozen embryo did not survive the thaw.  I felt sad.  I felt very sad for every embryo that did not implant.  I felt it like a little death.  I have the picture of my last blastocyst, the one that ended up in a chemical pregnancy, in my photo album.  I...named it.  Yep, slightly insane.  I even talked to the blastocyst, and read about what stage of development it was going through every day.  And so did my husband.

I cannot see a couple that went through the trials of IVF taking lightly the decision of what to do with leftover embryos.  This is usually an agonizing decision, one that I know I will spend countless hours trying to make if I ever get there.  There is no question in my mind that we, infertile and reproductively challenged people, respect life in its early stages, that we protect it fiercely as it is developing, that we revere it after birth.

Ultimately, IVF is simply a form of treatment for infertility, the same way that penicillin is a form of treatment for infections.  Saying that infertile people like me should remain childless as it is nature's way of selecting the fittest genes would be akin to denying people antibiotics to allow the strongest immune system bearer to propagate their genetic material.  IVF is here to stay.  It will become increasingly less feared, more accepted, more recognized as legitimate medical treatment for a DISEASE called INFERTILITY (nope, it's not a life style choice).  And when it does, hopefully the insanely expensive treatments will be made more accessible to the patients the way tubal ligations are made available free of cost (and by the way, permanent sterilization is a choice, but here where I live it is paid for by taxpayers money, while as infertility treatments are not).  Go figure.

Lastly, I can only admire from the bottom of my heart the tenacity with which Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe kept on going through 40 unsuccessful attempts before they got to a baby.  Couples kept coming to them and going through the treatments, knowing that no one before them got pregnant.  Can you imagine being couple number 39, and knowing that everyone before you left without the desired pregnancy, and yet still agreeing to go through IVF?  These people were resilient and determined to the core!  It only goes to show how deep the desire for a baby can run.

Sadly, I am afraid all of these details were wasted on many of the commenters for the New York Times article.  It is such a pity!  if only they paid attention, they could have learned something about their fellow humans, they could have been inspired.  Instead, they simply chose to waste electronic ink.

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