Michele, mother of triplets conceived via IVF tells all in her blog “Four Times the Fun.” What does “all” include? Michele takes the uninitiated behind the scenes of IVF to discuss how hastily and under what pressure-cooker circumstances decisions are made about the number of embryos get transferred in an IVF procedure. She confesses that given her and her husband’s own seat-of-the-pants decision making on transfer day, she might have become the mother of more than triplets, herself. Here’s a sneak preview:
“[My husband] looked at me and said, “We’re already in to this thing 40 grand and it isn’t going to work, and we aren’t freezing any again. I’m not shelling out another 5000 bucks to do IVIG on frozen crappy 4 cell embryos.”
Then he looked at the doctor and said, “Put them all in. If two are really bad and not going to make it, then we aren’t freezing them, so let it play out.”
At no point when I was laying on the table with my bladder ready to explode did the doctor say to me, “Guidelines were issued in 1996 by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, with the intent to cut down the number of multiple births, particularly triplets and higher, that can result when many embryos are implanted and more than one takes. Big multiple births can lead to disastrous, life-threatening complications, lifelong disabilities such as cerebral palsy, and crushing medical costs.”
No. He said, “Okay. That sounds great. Sorry about the wait. You’ll be able to use the bed pan in just a few minutes, Mrs. S.”
Michele also casts some helpful light on the subject of fertility specialists and regulation in a post about the ethics of what Nadya Suleman’s doctor did. (The post was written before everything was known about Suleman’s case, and has some inaccuracies, but her point is unchanged, regardless.)
Perhaps most interesting and useful for those of us who haven’t undergone any fertility treatments or the difficult decisions they can entail, Michele’s commenters are largely high-order multiple moms themselves, with their own IVF or medicated IUI stories to tell.
All in all, this blog adds a lot to the conversation about fertility medicine and drawing lines about and around it.