Friday, September 08, 2006

Apparently thirtysomething women are being advised to freeze their eggs, if they think they're going to want children in the future. Given that this only has - I think - a 10% chance of success, I'm uncomfortable about encouraging more women to do it, at a greater cost. Whilst I wouldn't say I was anti-IVF, a lot of the arguments in favour of it make me feel uncomfortable.

Being infertile for whatever reason, does not mean that you cannot have a family. I'd rather see all this money and time being invested in boosting the profile of adoption and fostering, rather than having expensive and potentially unhelpful treatments provided on an already underfunded and overworked NHS.

I also have a problemn with the media portrayal of infertility as an exclusively female problem - if science has come up with a 'cure' for male infertility, then there hasn't been anywhere near the same attention focussed on it. I'm discounting things like viagra, which I have issues with as well, and sensible research into the causes, obviously. It's the alledged fact that women who cannot have children biologically are somehow ill that bothers me - I don't regard infertility as a disease, although I accept that it is frequently caused by it.

It feels like the NHS is pandering to a specific feminist elite - I'm all for choosing when, how and if a woman gives birth, but if we're concerned with improving women's reproductive choices then I think we have bigger priorities.

If you want children and can't have them biologically then adopt, foster, or get the hell over it. Motherhood is not the be all and end all, and if it is for you then give a home and a family to an already existing child who sorely needs one.


At 10:18 AM, Blogger Girl Politico said...

For once, we are in agreement :)

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Erika said...

I think this issue is also about telling women when they have to have babies. There is too much intrusion into the choices of older or younger mums. Women’s bodies are immediately thrust into the public domain as soon as you talk about children. There is sell-by date printed on our ovaries apparently and presumably on the rest of our ‘useful’ parts.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, totally agree, there is blatant toffee-nosed bias going on in this department.

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Lauren O'Farrell said...

To some extent I do agree with you. I do think that advising any old person to go through IVF as a 'just in case' is a bad idea. Not only for the pressure it puts on the NHS moneywise but also because the process is quite hellish for all involved. Also I agree there are kids who need families.

However, I have been battling cancer for the last two and a half years and am now finally in remission. When I was first told I was ill my instinct was to save myself, as there was minimumal risk of the first lot of chemo making me infertile. We thought long and hard about it (in the 12 hours we had to decide) and despite the fact I could have been made infertile I went without IVF.

The first chemo didn't work and since then I have had five lots. I have always been all for adopting if you can't have kids, but things are ever so very different when you are actually there. When the doctor told me "You will almost certainly be infertile after your high dose" my world fell apart for a second. I come from a close family, closer since the cancer, and to suddenly be told that my boyfriend (sitting beside me, holding my hand so tight and wishing me cured) and I will never be able to create a child threw me. We had talked so much about it, his blue eyes or my brown, taking them to football matches, reading bedtime stories, a musician like dad, or a writer like mum. We created our future without a thought as most people do.

I went for the IVF before my high dose because I want to be a part of the future and give a whirlwind adventure of a life to someone my partner and I are a part of. Not to say that we would not be happy to adopt if it came to it, but I have been through all the injections, interior scans (not fun), egg harvesting (not as easy as it sounds), tears, fears and hormones for something we want to create. A family of our own to see life with.

My father died of the same cancer I had 25 years ago, my sister and I are all that is left of the wonderful man he was. I think that is an amazing thing, for his family and for his daughters.

When the doctor rang to say they had successfully created 12 embryos I cried. In that moment, facing an unknown future of fighting cancer and painful, intrusive, humliating procedures I knew that I would have to get through it. After all I had 12 shots at a new life to get through it for. And for everytime I felt like hell we all had those 12 little popsicles to keep our chins up. The adventure was still there.

I am now in remission and proud I have fought, and proud I will one day have children who will do amazing things in this world too and be taught that they are little miracles and that anything is possible. It is something I won't 'get over' unless I really have no alternative.

So to your "adopt, foster, or get the hell over it" I would like to say that facing death makes you see that life is all there is. And you live it to be happy and to make others happy. I want that for everyone and for my future children. Creating kids would make so many of us happy, after all we have been through to survive and have a family would be a wonderful thing.

If science helps me be able to have what I shouldn't have: life and kids, then I think that is wonderful. So maybe IVF is not something to be toyed but it is important. And perhaps having kids is a selfish thing for some, but to me it is all out of love.

I intend to swim in life and make a difference and so will my kids. Cancer has taught me that life is all about life. If you don't grab it now, maybe you never will. However you choose to do it. Do it.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Faith said...

"Being infertile for whatever reason, does not mean that you cannot have a family. I'd rather see all this money and time being invested in boosting the profile of adoption and fostering, rather than having expensive and potentially unhelpful treatments provided on an already underfunded and overworked NHS."

Bingo. On something of a side note, you might want to check this out. It seems Christians are now freezing embryos for later implantation into other women...



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