Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fertility message boards

(originally written on October 10, 2008)

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while, but I've held back because I believe some readers might consider me b1tchy and judgmental. Today, though, I finally decided f$&* it! What's the point of my having a blog if I can't write about the things that are on my mind?

I've mentioned before that I regularly visit the message boards on the site where I do my charting. I first visited the boards out of curiosity and in search of others who were on the same journey. I still find them interesting and enjoy the support. . . . but I'll admit that one of the big draws for me is what *I* perceive to be the craziness.

Example: a woman posted this morning that she got a positive pregnancy test. "We finally did it!" her post read (among other things). Cool. We should all be happy and excited for her, right?

Except that once I read her signature line. . . . the woman already has 8 children. (This is the part where I come across as b1tchy and judgmental.) I'm sorry, but it is a little hard for me to get excited about someone's NINTH pregnancy! Who even *has* nine kids these days? How can two people adequately parent nine children?

And her use of the word "finally"? Her next-oldest child is not even 2 years old! In my opinion, "finally" should be reserved for use by people who have struggled with trying to get pregnant with their first child for at least a year. I get that a month seems like forever when you're trying to get pregnant--believe me, I get that--but please.

I also thought--again, uncharitably--why does this woman even need to use this site? Clearly she has been able to conceive and carry a pregnancy EIGHT previous times!

There are actually quite a number of ladies posting on the message boards who have at least six children. Personally, the most anyone I know in real life has is 5. . . . and I thought that was a lot!

Another post from a few weeks ago was from a woman who was lamenting the fact that she and her husband were having to borrow $25,000 to go through a second round of in-vitro fertilization. The woman had three children under age 8: two were adopted, and one was her biological child conceived through prior use of IVF.

Those responding to her post were full of support and commiseration: "isn't it awful that insurance doesn't pay for this?" "so sorry for what you're going through," etc. But all I could think was "What the f$%^ are you doing?!"

It is one thing to spend money on IVF (or anything else) if you have the money to spare. Clearly that was not the case here, as the poster was having to finance the procedure. It is something else entirely to spend money on IVF when you already have three children for whose care and futures you are responsible. (As a footnote to this woman's original post, I will mention that I recently read that IVF #2 was unsuccessful, and she is getting ready for IVF #3.)

I get the desire to have a biological child. I do. I also get that people might want more than one biological child. But isn't there a point at which using expensive procedures to achieve this becomes a bit selfish? Where is it written that each of us has a right to have as many biological children as we want? We all certainly have the right to TRY, but shouldn't that be tempered by reason and common sense?

I recently read where someone wrote that paying for IVF is akin to buying a raffle ticket, with the grand prize being a successful pregnancy. Despite what many people think, IVF is NOT a guarantee of pregnancy. In fact, the odds of success with IVF can be quite low, depending upon the age of the parents and their specific infertility issues.

I just don't understand it. I have no children of my own (yet), and *I* wouldn't be willing to go $25K into debt for a CHANCE to have A child. . . . let alone a fourth child.

In addition to things like the two examples I've shared, the boards also have all the usual interpersonal drama that one might expect of any online community.

Is it any wonder why I find them entertaining?

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