Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Two Cents on the Octuplets

The more I hear about the mother of the octuplets born last week the more upset I get. Now don't get me wrong I don't think she is entirely to blame. There is a "fertility" doctor out there just as much to blame in my book.

Here is my background and why I feel the need to voice my opinion here. I had fertility trouble with both my children. Shortly after I got married in 1999, my husband and I decided that I would go off the pill and we would see what happened. We were so busy at the time with working and grad school that we didn't really notice that I wasn't getting pregnant. Around 2001 I started to get concerned and so at my next OB/GYN annual I brought up the fact that things weren't right. Long story short I have PCOS and it finally diagnosed a few months later. I then started seeing an Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility specialist. My son was born in 2003 with the help of some oral medication that helped me start to ovulate (not Clomid). I always knew I wanted more than one child so soon after my son turned 1 we started working on child #2. I started with the oral medication I took with my son. A year or so went by with nothing. So we went back to the fertility doc and he upped the dosage on the meds I was already taking. More time went by with nothing. We then started to talk about other options since the meds were not working. My doc had 4 different plans of attack. We started with the least invasive and least expensive which was oral clomid (which makes you ovulate several eggs at a time). Several rounds of this and still nothing. So after about 8 months we went on to the next plan of attack, 2 different ovulation meds that had to used as shots in the abdomen. I got really lucky and on the first round of shots I got pregnant. I had my daughter in November of 2007. But there were 3 years of unsuccessful treatments and emotional torture. Yes I do mean torture. I am not being overly dramatic. Unless you have felt the agony of hoping it will work this time and the crushing disappointment when you are not pregnant ... well you just don't have a clue. It's hard to describe how awful it feels to have a female body that simply does not work. This is what our bodies are supposed to do ... it's nature and when yours can't you just don't feel female. It's overwhelming to say the least. Now all this said you know I have a background in infertility and I know all the terms and what normal procedures are.

So here are my issues with the mother and doctor of the octuplets. First she is SINGLE and has SIX other children. One of those children is Autistic too. Oh and I was a special education teacher before I became a stay at home mom. I have the support of husband and things for me are still hard. I don't have a special needs child either and things can still get rough. I know very well the kind of time and patience that needs to be put in with a child with autism. Her fertility doctor had to know all of this (they do histories on their patients -- or at least responsible ones do). I can totally understand her wanting more children. I feel that no matter how many I have I will always want another. But I know logically that it just can't happen. At some point you have to be able to afford your children. I would love a 3rd but am so worried about having enough money that I just don't think we will.

I also know that when I was taking all the meds to increase my ovulation that they did ultrasounds to determine how many eggs I was going to release in a cycle. Now they did NOT want me to have sex if I had more than 5 eggs release in cycle. My very responsible doc felt it was too much of a risk. That is why I just can not believe the dr. to the octuplet mom put in 6 embryos. It's just crazy. My doc also strongly recommended selective reduction (in fact really pushed for it if it was going to be necessary) meaning if there were more than 3 fertilized eggs they would go in and reduce it to 2 or 3. Now this is hard to deal with but I am fully aware of the problems premature babies have being that I have a Masters in special education. SO the choice of having 2 or 3 healthy normal babies vs. 4 or more with special needs might not be a bad idea. I never had to face this choice but I completely understand where my doc was coming from on this.
I just can't believe the doctor to the single octuplet mom let her have 8 babies at one time and with 6 already at home. Not to mention the kid she already has with special needs. It kind of makes fertility procedures seem extreme and they are not most of the time. I am almost angry because now I see restrictions going into place around fertility procedures. And I am afraid this will also effect legitimate women from having children. Why is it always one person who spoils it for the rest of us???

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