« Now let us never speak of it again. | Main | And the winners are... »


Imagine, if you will

Salon's new blog, Broadsheet, reports that Houston's Baylor College of Medicine is performing a study that will allow 200 couples to undergo IVF with PGD for sex selection, to determine "whether using this technology for elective non-medical reasons is a good idea," says the director of Baylor's ART program. The study will be open only to couples who already have a child and want another of the other sex.

As someone who turned to IVF because of infertility and who knows how punishing it can be, I was initially shocked by the idea of doing it voluntarily in pursuit of what's called family balancing. How many women do I know who would take any baby gratefully, regardless of sex? How many who do PGD in the simple hope of having any child at all? How many start off energetic and hopeful, and end up tired and broken?

I think about how many cycles we did, how much money we spent, and how grueling it's all been — and our experience was not at all unique among infertiles — and I feel incredulous. People are volunteering for this? Crazy.

I can't even allow myself the luxury of imagining sex selection, since I'm such a crappy responder. The very idea of subjecting the single eight-celled embryo I've had on each cycle to a biopsy makes me feel a little frantic. Yeah, um, see, the thing is...doesn't it need all eight of those?

And yet my shock lessens when I consider this: the stakes for a fertile couple are necessarily very different. The couples in this study can afford emotionally to try IVF as an experiment. Fertile people who do IVF for elective purposes can stop anytime, and still have another baby regardless. Now, that baby might not be the sex they desire. But then again, it might be. They may feel they need IVF with sex selection to create exactly the biological family they've dreamed of — but they don't need it to create a biological family, period.

So maybe, if the pursuit of a child isn't going to make them crazy, it's not so crazy after all.

What do you think? Be honest — and that's hard! I know because as I said, I can't allow myself even the luxury of imagining...but then I do.

What if I were fertile and already had a child?

Okay, that's too great a stretch for even my bendy brain. I'll try this instead: what if I were infertile but had a gigantic clutch of embryos just ripe for PGD?

If I didn't have a child already, I'd say it was outright lunacy. But given that I do?

I don't think it's outright lunacy. But I couldn't dare to chance it.

Your turn.