I hate miracle baby stories. Well, if you were me, you would. After nearly a decade of fertility treatment: miscarriage, biochemical and ectopic pregnancies, surely I deserve a miracle? Yet, as time goes on, I’m getting increasingly convinced it’s never going to happen.
As Jody Day pointed out in her brilliant article on childlessness in the Guardian this week, http://gu.com/p/3y37k/tw December is the month of the ultimate miracle baby story. I’d love to know how Mary managed it. I’ve been having sex for over twenty years and she got pregnant without having any at all. That’s just not fair. I’d like to sit down with her over a cup of peppermint tea and discuss it. Actually, she probably never even gave up coffee, I bet she was a three- shot cappuccino kind of girl.
I’m not asking the press to give up their miracle baby stories – that would be pointless and very un-Christmassy. I can imagine how wonderful it must feel if you are blessed with one of them. But for some of us miracles are maybe just that – miracles. (Dictionary definition: an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers.) And some women, me included, could be only human.
So this week’s question – Miracle baby stories: immaculate conception or immaculate deception?
A repeating theme in the infertility industry is the paternalistic pressuring of patients to accept what the Dr. is selling. Couples with male infertility actually want the doctors to find a way to coax viable sperm out of the husband. Instead, we have had 50 years of substituting an unknown, anonymous sperm donor, at a massive profit for the fertility doctor, while creating hundreds of thousands of offspring who are just as disconnected from their ancestry as if they were adopted. Couples where the female shows infertility get popped onto the IVF assembly line, again a very profitable enterprise, but one with significant health risks to the patient, and one that is certainly not going to correct a gestational problem that is metabolic or immunologic in origin.
Just as orthopedists should not be able to sell the hospital the artificial joints that they plan to install, IVF specialists should not double up as reproductive endocrinologists, nor should they run sperm banks. Conflicts of interest run deep in current medical practice, and they need to be rooted out.