Thursday, May 12, 2011

INCIID interviewed by NPR: IVF Scholarships and Other Family-Building Issues

Carla and her husband CJ are one of many couples INCIID has helped with their family-building efforts. We have a host of stories from couples who have genetic problem, cancer recovery multiple pregnancy loss - you name it, we've heard it. We were pleased that NPR asked us about our IVF Scholarship and that we were able to share what we do with consumers who might be looking for help.
Building a family is a very private and personal endeavor. We live in a democratic albeit an arrogant and self-serving society. There are no laws in our country that mandate how many or if a couple is allowed to become pregnant and have a child. No one needs permission from the government when they want to start a family - or special paper work from the government in order to keep their job if they get pregnant. I mention this because if you of the mindset that thinks limiting the population is a good idea, you only need to move yourself to China where they do have a one-child policy and a significant preference for the male gender.

In China, you need to get permission from the government to conceive and carry a pregnancy and you are limited to one child. One of the results of this policy is abandonment of millions of babies. These abandoned orphans are routinely subjected to severe abuse and neglect in orphanages throughout the country. In fact China has turned this into a business putting a $3000 price tag on each of the orphans (which are sometimes found to be trafficked children). So while IVF is not everyone's "cup of tea", thankfully we live in a society that allows its citizens to make their own family-building choices.

Most couples we see and interact with have made a very careful decision to pursue treatment, adopt or live childfree. INCIID considers all carefully thought our decisions on the part of educated consumers a success. There is no one right answer. There are as many answers and sides to an issues as there are consumers and questions. The right answer for Carla and CJ was to pursue treatment. The right answer for another couple may be treatment and adoption, or making the decision to live childfree. I find it to be amazingly arrogant, completely clueless and sadly unintelligible of John Q Public to use cliché's like, "Just Adopt" Of all the arrogant utterings, I find that one to be the most ignorant.

Adoption is absolutely not for everyone. Adoption is a hard process with many, many intertwining issues that a perspective adoptive parents needs to think about. Agencies generally do NOT prepare consumers to consider the many facets of the adoption process and the integration of the child into a family. This country is sadly - sadly lacking in support of adoption and post adoption services. When a perspective adoptive couple comes to the process, the thing I most often hear is the joy of adding a child to the family. These couples need to be taught (and often are not taught) that as happy a union as this is for the couple looking to build a family in this way --- there are two other parts to this triad; the birth mother /parents and the child. The child in an adoption is experiencing loss - loss of the only family she has known - the only mother. Sometimes there is the loss of the birth country and an entire culture. Many adoptive parents (usually those new to adoption) have no thoughts about how serious this loss is to a child.

Children coming out of a post-institutionalized situation like China (mentioned above) are automatically a product of trauma starting inside the womb with the stress of hiding a non-government approved pregnancy. Children from China are routinely abandoned on a city street, picked up by the police and shuffled off to an orphanage. For those who want just a taste of what that means to a child, I suggest reading "Silent Tears". by Kay Bratt. "A child being dangled from a third story window. A boy tied to a chair. Children sleeping in layers of clothing to fight off the bitter cold. An infant dying from starvation. Some things your mind will never allow you to forget."

Many parents (myself included) are living the ramifications of a child with trauma integrated into a family. However, I consider both treatment and adoption major successes in building our family and the children I was meant to parent. Our older daughter is going to do great things in her life - in fact although she is still in high school there are many special needs children whose lives she has already touched through her volunteer work with them. My younger daughter will probably never be independent thanks to the damage caused by the neglect, starvation and abuse in an orphanage. Does this mean she shouldn't be here. I am sure there are some people who believe that is true. Just look at the history of special education. There are still many ignorant people who believe children who are damaged should not have a place in society.
How utterly arrogant, ignorant, self-serving and just dead-on wrong it is to even suggest or intimate that Carla and CJ's beautiful son doesn't deserve to be here because he came to his family through treatment.


  1. Thank you for creating this and for sharing all that you wrote! Infertility can be a lonely struggle and it's nice to know that there are others out there who support us like we would support them. INCIID is a true gift to us and to anyone who knows someone struggling with infertility!

    First, I would like to say that all of us should be more aware of and sensitive to the fact that there are many more people who struggle with infertility then we may realize. They do it in silence because they don't want to be judged by others. But that silence can sometimes make it even more difficult for them to deal with all the emotions that surround infertility. I, personally, take huge offense to those that assume that if you need IVF it's because something is "wrong" with you. Or that the person "at fault" is always the female. Nothing is "wrong" with anyone, and not being able to have a baby without a little help doesn't mean that "signs" are telling you that you shouldn't have one at all. I believe that our stuggle to have a child was all part of our journey. We grew as individuals and as a couple and will probably be better parents now because of it. Although it is often hard to see at the time, the best lessons are often learned through adversity.

    Infertility can be caused by many different reasons - both male and female - and can even have no explanation at all. To assume that the female must carry the brunt of "the blame" is sexist, especially when "to blame" someone is so wrong to begin with! None of us had any say in who we were born to, what our genetic make-up would be, or what illnesses may have befallen us. How can you be "at fault" for something that you didn't create or ask for? All of us are lacking a skill or ability that we wish we had and all of us have something that we have to work for. For some of us it happens to be having a child and no one should judge us negatively for that. Just because one person has chosen to live their life childfree doesn't mean that they should ridicule someone who doesn't also feel that way. I believe that we should all be more compassionate to others and realize that what may be simple to us is an emotional struggle for someone else. We're all just trying to get through this life the best way that we can. Wouldn't it be so much easier for all of us if we treated each other with more repect and understanding and less judgement and anger?

    I have more to say, but not enough room, so forgive me for making another post....

  2. I agree that IVF isn't for everyone and that adoption is a wonderful option. We did consider adopting, and are still talking about going that route one day. We just wanted to exhaust all opportunities to have our own child first. That may sound selfish to some, but we knew that not having a child would create a hole in our lives that nothing else could fill. I believe that we all want to feel like our lives are meaningful and important. Some people measure the success/worth of their lives by what they've done, where they've traveled, how far they've advanced in their career, who they've helped, what kind of car they drive, or how much is in their 401k. There's nothing wrong with any of that. It's all about who you are and what you value in life. For us, we felt that our lives would be so much more meaningful if we could experience having a baby, and then try to raise him to do his part to make the world a better place. I also wanted to know that I was giving my husband the greatest gift that I could - the biggest sign of my love and commitment to him - a child. And he felt the same way about me. Maybe that sounds silly to some but we both instinctively knew that there would be no bigger joy then experiencing a pregnancy and the birth of a child that was part of each of us. We were sooooo right!!! Anyone who says that our baby, or anyone's child, shouldn't exist because of the way he came about or because he will be one more person on an overpopulated planet should think again. How ludicrous for someone to actually think that he/she can ever begin to decide who has "the right" to exist and who doesn't! None of us are God, and I don't believe that we'd have the capability of IVF if it wasn't ok with that higher being. Besides, that baby could be the one individual who will grow up and create or do something that makes all of our lives better. Who knows, he may just find a solution to some of the problems our world encounters due to overpopulation! Or he just might find a "quicker fix" to the problem of infertility!