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10/12/2009

New rule: Don't read comments, ever

New rule!

Every time someone declares that infertile people should accept their lot in life and adopt, they should be required by law to adopt a child themselves.  To put their money where their mouth is.  Shouldn't be a problem, right?  I hear it's a piece of cake.

And every time someone says that infertile people should not-just-plain-adopt, but special-needs-kids-from-foster-care-extra-special-bonus-just-adopt, they should have such a child deposited on their doorstep within, oh, let's say an hour.  Sign here, and here, initial here, fingerprint here, notary seal here, aaaaand done.  Congratulations!  You're a parent!  Hey, let us know how it goes.  I'm sure you'll do a bang-up job.  Really, how hard could it be?

And every time someone who's had no fertility problems of their own says it, someone with as many children as they'd like, conceived and delivered without difficulty, they get the full package.  The adoption, the special needs and the adjustment issues, and a stiff electric shock where it'll do the most good.  What?  Oh, you don't like those repeated high-voltage jolts?  Sounds like a lifestyle issue to me.  I know you'd like for them to stop, but it's not a matter of life or death, sooooooo...

This morning I read the comments on the articles about ART that ran in Sunday's New York Times, then spent the afternoon wanting to set things on fire.  I should know by now never to do that; every time the Times publishes such a piece, the comments run 89% in favor of consigning infertile people to a crumbling ice floe inhabited by leprous armadillos in the shark-infested waters just off the coast of Monster Island; 10% in favor of forbidding insurance coverage of any kind for pregnancies and babies resulting from ART because we chose to take the risk, like, thanks for that, Mayor Marlboro Bacon McGoddamnCheese, oh, and by the way, congratulations on your triple bypass, happy to pay for your "lifestyle disease"; and a bare 1% in favor of everyone who's never faced the situation shutting the fucking fuck up.  My stomach sinks as I see "482 people recommend this post" under every one of the 89%ers.  And there I am avenging myself, repeatedly clicking RECOMMEND for the shut-the-fuck-uppers, my finger stuttering on the mouse button as if it made a difference.  As if my anger and despair and urge to shout down the ugliness made any difference at all.

The articles themselves, if you haven't read them, are worth a look.  They're part of a package called 21st Century Babies — I presume because creating designer technosupermechabionic cyberbabies is what we'll all be doing in the fyuuuuuchurrrrrrr — and they raise some interesting issues.  A quick rundown, because it's late:

The Gift of Life, and Its Price focuses on the risks of carrying twins after IVF, bookending some discussion of the financial costs of prematurity with two scary anecdotes about twins born early.  The writer manages to ignore almost entirely the notion that insurance coverage for IVF, and the single-embryo transfers that would consequently become much more prevalent, could dramatically reduce the incidence of preterm birth after ART.

Grievous Choice on Risky Path to Parenthood deals with the problems of high-order multiples, profiling Thomas and Amanda Stansel, a Texas couple who conceived after IUI.  On an earlier cycle, Amanda had conceived and lost twins due to incompetent cervix; on this cycle, having refused selective reduction earlier in the pregnancy, she delivered sextuplets at 23 weeks' gestation.  Four of the six babies have died.

The Trouble with Twin Births is a roundup of educated opinions — hear that, commenters? — on whether the U.S. should regulate the fertility industry and whether IVF transfers should be limited to one embryo at a time.  Opinions break down pretty much along the lines you'd expect, with a rueful-looking Zev Rosenwaks — I love that picture — pointing out that a single rule applied indiscriminately across a varied population of patients would make him weep tears of bitterest regret.  Silent, manly ones.  (I admit I take certain interpretational liberties.  But doesn't he look so sad?)

I have more to say about these pieces, and I'm guessing you will, too.  Check them out and let me know what you think.  But don't read the comments, okay?  They may well move you to your own wanton spree of arson.  I have to go to bed, and I don't want you having all the fun without me.

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