Not so hypocritical, if you ask me

Without intentionally starting a shit storm here, I’d like to post a few thoughts about the recent sextuplet births.

On the overwhelming majority of blogs that I read, the posts and comments are generally along the lines of outrage. Outrage at the parents, the doctors, the whole works, for allowing these women to try and carry six fetuses.

Just want to say: the outrage at the doctors I am totally with you on.Point blank, medicine let these folks down. That is my opinion. I am guessing the two mothers would disagree.

But an overwhelmingly common sentiment is that the parents are hypocritical for seeking treatment for infertility and then refusing to reduce the number of fetuses “because this is what God gave us.”

While I can understand why people are so upset, and I’m not saying this is what I would do were I to find out I was pregnant with sextuplets, I do not think it is automatically hypocritical to seek treatment and then refuse to reduce on religious grounds.

A common sentiment is: “If they really thought it was in God’s hands, then why did they (fill in the blank: take Clomid / take injectibles / have IVF / etc.)?”

An anonymous comment over at the Perky Ovary says: “When I hear statements like those couples, I ask myself if god gave them the trigger injection with half a dozen ripe follicles.”

With all due respect, I think drawing that sort of parallel is a little absurd. This is as crazy as suggesting that people who really believe having children is entirely in God’s hands need not marry or have sex, because hey, if you really have faith in God, why would you need to do anything to make it happen? These women pursued ART for the same reasons all of the rest of the IFers pursued it. They wanted to have a happy, healthy family.

If you are of a religious persuasion that believes that you get in life what God gives to you* (nothing more, nothing less), then this is what you are meant to have. Meaning that if you are not meant to have children, all the sex, IVF and donor eggs in the world will not get you a baby. Kind of along the lines of a “If it’s meant to be, it will happen.”

Ergo, if you cannot conceive for years and then get pregnant with six babies, that too is what you were meant to have. For folks with those sorts of convictions, getting pregnant through IUI or injectibles varies little from getting pregnant from sex. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. And they believe very strongly that this is what they were meant to have.

* Again, not saying this is me or what I would do, and not saying this is what I believe. But I know people who are of this persuasion, and I am hoping to cast a bit of insight into what they may have thought.

Click here for an update on both sets of sextuplets.


2 responses to “Not so hypocritical, if you ask me

  1. I guess I’m a “where do we go from here” type person. I didn’t even wonder why they chose not to reduce… But, gosh, raising sextuplets…

  2. I understand why they chose not to reduce. And I don’t think they are entirely hypocritical, though I do think that their choices did put their babies at risk… but we never know what sorts of risks our babies are facing no matter how many there are. What upset me so much about the sextuplet stories… both of them… was your initial sentiment: That medicine initially let them down.

    The Masche’s had IUI. Which implies that they had a certain level of monitoring. Why were they allowed to trigger and do IUI with that many mature follicles.

    The Minnesota couple is only noted to have used fertility medicine. My guess is that they used Clomid through their OB/GYN without any sort of monitoring, which is a whole different kind of failure. Either way, medicine failed those women.

    Reduction is a really, really hard call. With my particular health issues, I can’t say that it would have been so hard a call for me, given how close we were to reduction of the triplets with my health issues in mind. But absent those very specific issues? It’s a really hard call to make.

    The Masches were really lucky. The Minnesota couple was far less lucky.

    My biggest, hugest, most enormous problem with these sextuplet pregnancies had nothing to do with the fertiility doctors, the parents, or the births. It had to do with the media coverage. The glamorization of these pregnancies. The way the Today Show made the Masche pregnancy look so easy and great. Because you know what? It was NOT easy. It was NOT fun. She was in the hospital for 11 weeks on bedrest. And yes, she was REALLY lucky. And she made it to 30 weeks, 4 days. And she is the EXCEPTION, but most of America doesn’t know that.

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