At what price conception?

by wasasister 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • wasasister

    A young woman I work with, and her husband, have been trying unsucessfully for three years to conceive a child. She first took fertility drugs and then went for artificial insemination. Those methods have failed and now they are proceeding with in-vitro. They have spent, or will spend, over $10,000 on trying to become pregnant.

    Her situation points out more than a few moral dilemmas, in my opinion, and I'd like to hear your comments. (Usually, I reserve my opinions, but in this case I'll state mine up front.)

    Moral issues: In-vitro quite often produces more than one fertilized egg for implantation. Do you freeze or dispose of the "extras"? If a few are implanted and several survive the process, it is likely a multiple pregancy will be unhealthy. How do you decide which embryos to "remove"? How does a couple justify spending thousands of dollars to produce a new life when so many infants and children are without parents and need homes? Why not adopt an already existing life?

    From my personal view: I like this woman very much. She has confided in me several times and I feel close to her. She has needed to take several absences from work, and when it comes time for reviews, she may well lose her job. While I sympathize with her, I also can see (from management's perspective) why she would be less valuable than an employee who is not inconveniencing others because of her personal family priorities. Dispassionately stated, she is placing a burden on those who must carry her work load while she is away. While I respect her right to reproduce a child who looks like her and her husband, I wonder why they could not become parents to a child who is already alive and needs a loving home.

    My questions to you: What are your views of taking extraordinary means to conceive a child? Is it worth the risks, moral choices, financial costs??

    Medical ethics are a tricky area. Think of the Duke University transplant fiasco - two sets of organs now garbage while a young woman has died. I'm very grateful to have had two children without needing such heroic measures, but I wonder if any of you have faced these choices.



  • Elsewhere

    This is something that can be a very difficult situation for some. For some the moral dilemmas are more pronounced than others.

    My opinion is this... Offer support and a caring ear... but don't judge or condemn her moral decisions. It is already a stressful situation as it it, they last thing she needs is someone standing there poking her in the head with questions or judgments.

    She is trying to create a new human life.

    I hope this helps.

  • TresHappy

    OK, I have become an unwanted expert on the price on getting pregnant. All last year, I spent thousands of dollars in an attempt to become pregnant but had difficultly due to having PCOD. I underwent several rounds of Clomid, was able to ovulate, but did not conceive. Then after that they wanted to do AI (artificial insemination), which costs approximately $1000.00 Then I was only given a 17 percent chance of pregnancy. Then if that failed they wanted to do IVF, which costs $10,000, but then was given only a 30 percent chance of pregnancy (these statistics that the fertility clinic give you are really misleading, they may get you pregnant but they don't tell you 1/3 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.) My insurance paid for 1/2 of the initial treatments (no telling what my cost would have been if I didn't have that), but didn't pay IVF or AI. The financial costs are one side of the issue, the emotional side is REALLY disturbing. I was going crazy, going from work to the clinic to have a sonogram to see if I had ovulated, etc. I saw people whipping out the credit card to pay for these treatments. I mean, this infertility stuff is a money making venture for the doctors who run this clinic. Of course, if you have success with it, it's worth every dime you paid, but if not, you're out tons of $$ and paid for that doctor to live in a really nice McMansion with controlled access and everything!

    I decided that I coudn't handle the emotional aspects of this. I was getting suicidal (think it was the medicine that had something to do with it, I mean these hormones they give you make you do crazy things sometimes.) I decided to try alternative herbal remedies such as Vitex (to make me regular) and natural progesterone (to help with the estrogen dominance.) It's a whole lot cheaper than sinking your money down an infertility rathole.

    Has your coworker thought about adoption? For the price of 2 rounds of IVF, your coworker can adopt a kid. Your coworker though, may be really into having her own kid, despite the cost. That's what a lot of these clinics prey upon - I remember meeting one lady in the waiting room who wanted her child to look like her - which is why she hadn't tried adoption. Mind you, she had spent $30,000 at that clinic and had failed to become knocked up.

    Pardon my venting, but there are two sides to every story. Mind isn't negative, just telling the truth about a money making venture known as infertility!

  • Xander

    [quote]1/3 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage[/quote]

    Actually, it's much, MUCH higher than that. *MOST* pregnancies fail within the first 4 weeks (it was like 75% or so), so the 'mother' never actually knows she was pregnant - no missed period or anything.

    [quote]They have spent, or will spend, over $10,000 on trying to become pregnant.[/quote]

    Which is very little compared to some. A JW couple we knew (when 'in') tried to do this route. I think they are in the $50-$60k range spent now. I mean, they are DESPERATE. Funny thing is, they really don't make that much money. They've spent more on *trying* to get pregnant than their house. If I understand correctly, they are so far in debt they couldn't afford to raise a child if they had one...but they keep trying. Almost pathological.

    [quote]Has your coworker thought about adoption? For the price of 2 rounds of IVF, your coworker can adopt a kid.[/quote]

    This seems a more reasonable alternative to me. Of course, 'reasonable' used very loosely here. I can't imagine anyone actually WANTING a child anyway, so going to such lengths or cost for one just baffles the mind, even adopting.

    The *real* problem with adopting isn't just a simple matter of going out and finding a spare child somewhere. We can't grow babies outside of a womb yet, and if the adopted child is by an American, odds are very, VERY good that 'womb' will come looking for the child someday. Even in the best cases, the child, when grown, may look for their biological parent. In many ways, an adopted child never has as complete a connection to their adopted parents as their biological ones, and that thought may trouble an infertile couple looking for a kid.

    OTOH, you have the option of adopting foreign children. This obviously significantly reduces the odds of the birth mother coming looking for their kid later, but then you have all the potential mixed-race family prejudices that, unfortunately, still manage to plague our society.

    (Again, though, I'd see being infertile as quite a blessing, so I'm speaking more from seeing others go through all of their and their thinking/reactions than my own thoughts.)

  • happyout

    I am speaking from the perspective of a parent who lost their first child ( her heart stopped beating when I was 8 months pregnant). I was blessed to get pregnant again very quickly with my second child, who is now a healthy two year old. My second pregnancy was difficult, and included hospital stays, special diet, and bed rest. My husband and I decided that if we were not able to have our child "naturally" we would immediately sign up for adoption. Our viewpoint was, we want a child to love, and we will go through whatever to have that child. We did not care if the child looked like us (although, to be honest, we did want the same racial background at first). However, one of my close friends says her husband doesn't want to "raise a kid that's not his". I really believe it's your motivation that determines your decision. If you just want a child to love, you will find a way, either through adoption or some other means. If you are set on a child with your genes, then you have limited your options, and may have to face the fact that this cannot / will not happen.

    We are actually discussing foster care and future adoption, because we feel there is enough love in our hearts for at least one more child. That's just our feeling, though, and I really try to understand the other viewpoint.

    I will say, business is business. When I lost my daughter, I took the standard 6 weeks after childbirth (since I did deliver her) and then went back to work. There were times I had to go to the ladies room to have a cry, but I did my job. I don't think it's fair for someone to expect others to pick up their workload because of emotional issues that they are dealing with. We all lose people we love, we are all dealing with some sort of stress or emotional issue, we are not special in that aspect, and the world does not come to an end because of it. I hope that doesn't seem cold, I am just a very responsible person, and often wish other people were the same.

  • teenyuck



    You are both kind and sensible.

    I don't have children and now that I am pushing the upper limits for safe childbirth, it is out of th picture. I take epilepsy medication and the birth defect rate goes up with age and with the meds. It is not worth it for the childs sake.

    We decided that if/when we are ready to have kids, we will adopt. I worked at an insurance company, approving is incredible how much it costs to try to conceive. You are lucky when/if your insurance will pay all/some of it. I know we routinely denied claims that were new. Let the doctor try 3-5 times to submit before paying. Then if the doctor gives up the patient will more than likely pay the doctor...they lose track and hope of getting their claim paid. It is very ugly.

    When I quit, I wanted to spit at the building....

    I don't understand the need to "have your own", however, I would be hard pressed to deny someone who wanted to try. (insurance being a separate issue). What a hard thing to go through and deal with.

  • Mulan
    I don't have children and now that I am pushing the upper limits for safe childbirth, it is out of th picture. I take epilepsy medication and the birth defect rate goes up with age and with the meds. It is not worth it for the childs sake.

    We have friends, who had two children. The wife developed a seizure disorder, and was on Dilantin. It negated her Birth control pills, which no one told her might happen. She got pregnant at age 40. The doctors recommended abortion because they felt she could "stroke out" during childbirth, and the baby would be affected anyway, by all the drugs she took for the seizures. They went ahead with the pregnancy and she delivered, by natural childbirth, a normal boy, who is now about 10.

    It isn't always a horror story.

  • Mulan

    Another woman I know, who was about 35, had tried for years to get pregnant, doing all the fertility drugs and expense of those clinics. After several years trying that, they gave up. Five years later, she started using natural progesterone cream (wild yam cream) for PMS, and got pregnant three weeks later. I could have put this in the Iridology thread, but thought this was a better one.

  • joannadandy

    Everyone has brought up some intresting points, and touching personal stories.

    I struggle with the ethical delimia myself. I think the thing that angered me the most was the McCoy family in Iowa who had the septuplets. Both of them were low income earners(not that this excludes you from having children by any means-but when you are faced with that many!), and they decided to keep all the babies because it was "God's will" that they have seven babies. That idea of divine intervention bothered the hell out of me. If it was God's will they have seven babies why did they have to go to a doctor in order to get pregnant? Couldn't it easily have been said it was God's will for them to not have children at all, but because they stepped in with man's medical advancements they had tampered with Divine will.

    It also bothers me because there are SO MANY medical health risks to the babies and mother, and most high multiple births the children can end up with learning disabilities. It just seems scary to me that you can know there will be so many hardships and go ahead a sense it seems selfish on the part of the parents, when as others have pointed out there are so many children who need good homes.

    And yet, here I am. The product of three years of trying to get pregnant by my parents finally spawned me. They didn't have the medical treatments today, that they did at my time of conception, so my parents just had to stick with it. I sometimes wonder if the treatments had been available if they would have utilized them. My fathers small salary, and my mom's not working at the time wouldn't have stretched far. AND GOOD LORD...WHAT HORROR IF THERE WERE SIX MORE OF ME!!! Hee hee!

    I dunno. Since I am not in a position, nor have ever been in a position to want a child so desperately I guess I can't be a fair contributor. Like I said the thing that bothers me most about this is this idea that God has a master plan, and it involves you being in debt for the rest of your life...

  • berylblue

    I really can't answer that, for I did not have a problem conceiving or carrying a child full term. I do not know the anguish of remaining childless, or repeated miscarriages or stillborns.

    My sister and her husband did have that problem; eventually they went through the in-vitro process. They now have a beautiful daughter. I am so glad she is alive and blessing our lives.

    It's so difficult to say what is "right" or "wrong". At least, for me.

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