Monday, January 16, 2012

Pulling the Higher Power card

There has been a facet of infertility treatment that has always been ironic to me.  I have always been intrigued by how people can use religion to justify or condemn infertility treatments. More so, I am really intrigued when people may use religion to justify or condemn portions of infertility treatments. Religion and the treatment of infertility have one thing in common, they are filled with grey areas that can be open for personal choice.

Why the religious focus today?  Today, I am grappling with choice versus higher power.

When Mr. T and I envisioned our family we always looked at 2 kids/2 parents. It seemed like a good fit. Occasionally, I thought about 3 kids/2 parents but never felt strongly about it.  So, we fell into the idea that we would be a 2/2 family. Man-to-man defense as opposed to Zone Defense. It worked for us. When we started meeting with Dr. Specialist, he assured us that at my age coupled with the current standards of care in IVF, we would be looking at a single embryo transfer. This made sense. 2/2 family and we are happy. Then, the cycle was cancelled, my AMH was ridiculously low for a girl my age and I've been labeled a 'poor responder'. Dr. Specialist changes his recommendation and talks of a 2 embryo transfer.

This is where everything gets murky.

Twins run in both our families. I even joked when I was pregnant with Toddler T, that it must be twins. I looked like I was carrying quads. But, no.. just one little/big boy. After he arrived, Mr. T and I felt relieved that we had been given one at a time. But now, I'm that much older, we are paying out of pocket and I hear myself saying things like "Lots of people have twins."

Now it is murkier.

I believe in religion and faith. I do believe that there were lessons to learn this past year. Perhaps, Mr. T and I are going to be better parents if our children are further apart in age and someone up there knew that.  This belief has made the past year bearable. But then, I got off the higher power train and met with Dr. Specialist. IVF is medical and scientific. From a religious standpoint, you could argue that God provided individuals with the talent, intellect and determination to become a doctor who specializes in infertility.  Therefore, we are just taking a detour to get to the final destination in God's plan.

But how much is too much? How much control should we have?  Because I am in the middle of what I have always found to be ironic. I have heard Infamous Multiple Moms say the same thing over and over and over.  Usually something like, "Well it was god's plan for us to have 8, 6, 5 kids at once."  But really, was it? Did God plan for us to have this much control?  

How can an individual talk about the unpleasant sides of IVF (read: selective reduction) with religious fire?  How can one claim that reduction is immoral or not God's will, when many religions teach that birth control or any type of infertility treatment is immoral? So, it is ok to break religious views to get pregnant.. but not ok to really struggle with carrying multiples?

If I were to have gotten pregnant, on my own, with twins or above. It would have been what it was. It's not like I would have left the other at the hospital and said, "No, sorry, we didn't sign up for two."  But here, we are being asked to do just that. Sign up for something that we had always wondered if it was too much.

I'm not sure I have any answers. It is a challenging discussion to have internally, let alone with other people. I have always thrived in a black and white enviornment and have struggled in the grey. I know that while I don't know the total plan or how much say I'm supposed to have in it,  Mr. T and I will try to make the safest and most reasonable decisions for our family.  And whether we continue to use man to man or make the switch to zone defense, we'll be just fine.


  1. I personally believe God gave us free will and a brain for a reason. We treat sickness because we know that God gave us medicine for a reason. With that in mind if a person became pregnant with more children than is healthy for either the mother or the children I would have to say that the person would need to use the judgement God Gave them. While I don't really like the thought of "selective reduction" If a person is pregnant with more than 3 the chances of them loosing one or more of them goes up exponentially. Better to take home 2 or 3 healthy babies than leave empty handed because of beliefs. We all hear the happy stories, but just as often in multiple pregnancies one or more of the children don't make it. I couldn't live with myself if I lost all of my babies when I could have saved some of them.

  2. I think where it gets sticky is when couples choose to transfer more embryos than they are willing to accept as real live babies. I feel like REs should be more responsible in this department too. Tricky stuff... but I know God gave you a great head on those shoulders too, Meliss. You'll know what's right.

  3. Keep in mind that your doctor has the same goal as you: one baby. He is suggesting that you transfer two embryos with the hope that at least one will implant and grow. And you can decide to transfer only one. He's just working the odds as he sees them and wants you to have a baby with the least number of attempts.
    You are strong, wise, and will do well come what may! There isn't anything that is too much for you if you think about it.