Last week my contact at Momversation.com sent me a link to an article that ran recently in the New York Times called “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy.” The article discusses selective reductions in in vitro fertilization pregnancies – women who are reducing their IVF-babies from twins to a singleton for non-medical reasons. In short, these women (and their partners) feel strongly that they can only parent one child, not two, for varying reasons (that, again, are not medical).
The Momversation crew was interested in my perspective on this, as a twin. I told my twin brother the gist of the article and he didn’t want to hear any of the details. He didn’t even want to think about it. My mom wanted to read the entire thing and was appalled. As a twin, I can’t imagine NOT being a twin. My brother is my only sibling and even though we are fraternal and very different, we are part of a set. I am one of two – it’s a crucial element in my identity. So, as a twin, the article freaked me out.
The report touched me on another level. I have mentioned in the past that when I was pregnant with Madeline and my water broke, the doctors reminded me that termination was an option. There were a lot of medical factors I was told to consider when making my decision, the biggest being that the doctors didn’t think it was likely she’d ever be able to breathe. I wanted to be a parent, and Mike and I were going to be happy with whoever and however that baby came out. The doctors couldn’t tell me that she 100% would NOT be able to breathe, and I personally could not live a life where I’d always wonder if I’d made the right choice. That, however, was me and my choice. Other people make other decisions based on their own sets of guidelines. We all have to live with our choices, whatever they may be.
The thing about the article that was hardest for me to wrap my head around was the IVF element. The women in the report had all come by their pregnancies with money, pain, and tears. I have friends and family who’ve undergone IVF after loads of turmoil and sadness. When they became pregnant, it was joyous. So…I can’t imagine wanting to have a baby so badly that you go to extraordinary measures, and then when you get what you want (doubly!), you then go to extraordinary measures again. Although, I do realize that these couples only wanted one baby, so they aren’t getting what they want…but the odds of multiples with fertility treatments are well established…AHHHH.
I still can’t wrap my head around it.
This whole topic is intense. What do you think? Is it all just another mechanical step in a mechanical process? Are reductions for non-medical reasons acceptable to you? Will I ever stop asking questions?!