Friday, May 8, 2009

Tough Topics - first try... IVF

Sometimes i feel like i want to address some of the really tough topics that there are out there... but i'm afraid. i'm afraid that i'll hurt and wound where i only want to speak Truth. i'm afraid that i'll say more or less than what the Truth is, and be misleading. i'm afraid that i'll misrepresent Truth. But i'm also afraid that if i say nothing - that i'm being a coward. i'm afraid that my silence is construed as support & that possibly... maybe... a tiny bit... if i let truth shine a little brighter, that maybe a heart or two would be softened to Truth.
So, i'm going to take a teeny bite today & talk about one tiny bit of a topic that makes me squirm.
i'm not biting off the whole topic of IVF... i'm taking a tiny teeny morsel - & that morsel speaks to *millions of lives*.
i'm talking about 'leftover babies'.
When we talk about IVF and infertility - it almost seems crazy to be talking in the same breath about superfluous life. We remember our friends and family who have struggled to have a baby - (i read one stat that suggested that nowadays the number may be as high as 1 out of 10 couples struggling with infertility) & the many that we know who have resorted to IVF, knowing that there was no other option for parenthood.
i talked in a previous post about my views on embryonic stem cell research - it led to this post about good from evil... but i was left wondering *why are there left-over embryos anyway? Where are the mothers and fathers who yearned for a baby & are now leaving these little ones to destruction?*... i remember someone once laughingly saying to me, 'i wouldn't take a million dollars for one of my kids, but i wouldn't pay a nickel for another one!' That seems to be the popular attitude when we feel that our families are complete. Is it different when the life is already created and waiting on ice for a momma's womb?
i guess i know it's uncomfortable to talk about things like this when i have had no experience with infertility treatments, but as a human being living in this age of disposable humanity, i feel like it's time to start talking about it.
A friend of mine who has struggled through infertility and miscarriages sent me this & i think it so beautifully states the logical answer to the question of what to do with leftover embryos:

To me, there is no other choice. Before **her husband** and I threw ourselves (emotionally and physically) into IVF we were faced with the "what if's". What if we had left over embryos? What if one of us died - what would happen to our little ones? What if we divorced? All these things that most people never think about. I have thought and thought and the only logical choice that my heart and mind arrive at is that these are *my babies*. They are tiny living *embryos*. Already fertilized eggs. Part me. Part (dh). They deserve a chance at life no matter what the circumstance. No matter how many embryos were left, who died, or if we divorced - we both agreed that they would be given life. It's funny but I actually think about them every day.....tucked away in their frozen home.....waiting for mama to come and get them ....and I will ....very soon.

i believe that life begins at the moment of conception - when even science has to back up that brand new DNA is created and a new little life that wasn't there before in the 2 halves of his parents genes is suddenly there & new life has begun. i know it's inconvenient... i know you might have your mind and hearts set on a set number of children children & having leftover embryos might put you in the uncomfortable position of choosing whether or not to go back for more, even though you thought your family was complete...
i know that the thought of giving up these babies for adoption might make you uncomfortable. A child that is genetically your little one, roaming the streets calling someone else mama? & yet, why is it that leaving the babe there to die, to be experimented on, or destroyed is somehow less uncomfortable? i think we need to look this little morsel - this tiny side effect of IVF in the face... & think through our decisions to their logical end.
*If* these are my babies - new dna formed at conception - carrying traits from my parents & their parents before... *then* i will treat them with the respect and love that they deserve.
IVF mamas, (& daddies...) don't leave your little ones behind. i can't even imagine the process, the pain, physical, the emotional trauma of going back when you didn't anticipate 'doing it again'... but if you don't stand up for these little lost ones, no one else can...

& that's sad.


Molly said...

This may be totally naive, but I've never even *thought* about this before.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that it's a sticky, uncomfortable topic, but one that shouldn't be ignored.

Jen said...

Thanks for speaking the truth Paige.

deborah said...

Paige, I wholeheartedly agree. And, true, it is such a tough topic to discuss. I am still amazed at the advances in science and the ability of embryos to 'live' on ice....

Lisa said...

You speak such great words Paige. I love you eloquently you are able to discuss such a difficult topic.

Erin said...

That *is* sad. And such a hard topic. Thanks for writing about it.I'd like to learn a little more about IVF so I can understand and speak intelligently about it. I have a friend who will attempting it soon.

Erin said...

oh, and I love the kim walker song on your playlist! I had to turn it off so I could concentrate on the post instead of the song!

Mindy said...

Thank you for shining the light on this. I too hadn't really thought of it...I guess I haven't had to. But I should have.

Prvbs31Mama said...

Awesome post Paige!! I totally agree. I've thought about it a little bit...wondering what does happen?! But naively assumed that they only fertilize a certain amount of eggs at a time and that they were used right away!! Leaving just the eggs frozen...sigh
anyhow, loved your post!

mamazee said...

paige, here is an awesome article about this subject (not even a Christian perspective, but incredibly compassionate, well researched and even handed)

if that doesn't work, here is a tiny url that will :)

one tiny thing that popped out to me this time (i've read this article a few times... )

Over time—as fertility drugs have gotten more powerful and lab procedures more efficient—it has become possible to coax more and more embryos into being during the average cycle. Moreover, as doctors transfer fewer embryos back into patients, in an effort to reduce multiple births, more of the embryos made are subsequently frozen.

Good start!

mamalena said...

That single mother (forgot her name) who recently added octuplets to her family (I think she already had know who I'm talking about.... I heard her interviewed on TV....and that was what she was thinking and why she had all the remaining embryos implanted. (In that case, I guess the question would be why should a single woman be doing this)...

Rochelle said...

Your post brings tears to my eyes. Ironically the first time I really looked into "snowflake adoption" was when I first found out I was pregnant with Caroline. I don't know if I will ever do this sort of adoption, but I really appreciate you writing about it!

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