IVF -- if you already have kids

Krista - posted on 04/25/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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The Kate Gosselin discussion got me to thinking: most people have sympathy for a childless couple who cannot conceive and use IVF or fertility drugs in order to do so.

But, what if they already have kids? In the case of the Gosselins, for example, they already had twin girls. If they wanted another baby, and were having a hard time, do you think that it was wise of them to go through fertility treatments, risking multiple births (which is obviously what happened for them)? Or so you think they should have explored adoption instead?

Do you approve of couples with kids going through all sorts of medical gymnastics in order to have more? Or do you think that they should adopt (or accept the fact that they're only meant to have the number of kids that they already have)?

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Mary - posted on 04/25/2010

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That's a funny question actually, because recently our province (Quebec) has just approved the government subsidizing IVF as a medical treatment for couple who cannot conceive naturally (up to 2 rounds of IVF treatment). I'm against that 100%, because I hate that my tax dollars go to fund someone elses fertility treatments.




I can tell from that statement that you are someone who never experienced infertility, nor are you very close with someone who has. The rest of your post leads me to believe that you don't have an in-depth knowledge of how these treatments work, or the difference between them.



As someone who DID go through years of infertility (without success) I do understand just how all-consuming, isolating, and heartbreaking it can be. I know better than to be dismissive of another's couple's hopes and dreams when it comes to parenthood, or to be too judgemental of the choices they make when they do not know what the outcome would be.



I did not conceive with any of the 3 IUI's or 5 IVF's I went through with my first husband. It ultimately destroyed our marriage. I was pleasantly shocked when I spontaneously conceived my daughter shortly after re-marrying. I was 38 when she was born. Many, many people ask me if we'll try again. Well, I wasn't "trying" with her. I will NEVER "try" again, but if it happens, that's great. If it doesn't, that's okay too. She is more than I ever though I would have, and she is enough. I wake up every day grateful for the miracle that is her.



But, I'm older, and in a different place in my life. Some people feel strongly about having sibligs for their child. Some people want to experince the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth more than once in their life. (I really get that!) If they are able, and willing to go through that again - good for them. I cannot imagine going through all that infertility treatments entails while having a child or two to care for, but that's just me.



I know that I would have opted for a selective reduction, but I'm an L&D nurse, and I'm only 5'2...my chances of a good outcome with more than twins would have been poor. That is a really hard call to make, and I would never judge anyone for not being willing to abort a child they so desperately wanted, or to risk the entire pregnancy by trying to maximise the potential for a beter outcome for the remaining fetus(es).

Amie - posted on 04/25/2010

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Caitlin Subsidizing is not the same as covering. Which means the patients still have to cover part of the cost. In Canada a round of IVF runs about $10,000 for each try.



The reason it's being pushed for coverage in all the provinces (when did Quebec start this btw since last I heard Ontario was the only one who covered IVF (up to 3 rounds) and only under certain circumstances) is because it should drive down the costs of our neonatal units. A lot of women/couples can not afford IVF so they beg their doctors for the drugs. Which they then use and result in multiple births in most cases since the IVF is not there to protect them from multiple embryo's. Multiples are generally born premature and need to stay in neonatal, neonatal stays are not cheap. So with IVF being an avenue for women/couples to use in turn we will be saving tax dollars in the long run. Since IVF is monitored and can better avoid extreme multiples. Less multiples, less babies in neo natal, less tax dollars being spent. This does not correlate into neo natal units closing either. It means that there will not be so many babies in the units so our tax dollars are not being spent their will go to another area in health care.



I obviously have no issue with people being able to use and have access to IVF. However in cases like Octomom and her doctor, it was a blatant misuse of the procedure. She had more than enough kids already! She couldn't even support those ones! She was selfish and took a huge risk and she knew it! She still did it. I feel for her kids but her I could kick. Of all the people in this world who struggle with infertility and coming up with the money to even try one round... she uses money from a lawsuit I believe (can't remember 100% now) to have more children! She could have bought a house, set up college funds for her kids but oh no.. she had to go and have more kids!



I have had 4 friends suffer through infertility. All of them have children now. I would never say no sorry, the 9% of my taxes that go towards UHC should not go to couples/women who want a child of their own. Adoption is great but it is also expensive as well. If people can't afford IVF who's to say they can afford adoption?

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Terri - posted on 04/29/2010

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I have actually done the IVF program and had my son after doing rounds of IUI and then three attempts at ICSI (lucky number 3 with that one) so I know how hard it is to have a baby.

In saying this we felt blessed to have one child but would have attempted IVF again to have one more. Amazingly we were blessed to conceive naturally with 3 more children after the IVF. IVF can apparently trigger a natural response in your body.

But in Australia at that time you were only allowed 2 embryos at a time and now even that has dropped to only one.

And there is a reason for this because the risk gets greater with the more babies you carry.

I personally think is ridiculous to implant more than 2 embryos and if you already have children you have to think of the risk on your own health because it isnt just about you anymore. If something happened you would be leaving little ones behind. So its more the process of implantation that I dont agree with. You have to be realistic.

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Well why would it be anyone's business if you want more children and the only means to have a child is via IVF? If a couple can finanically afford the procedure(s) and can live with the cost of attempting IVF round after round, then who cares? Yes, the media whores certainly brought IVF to a whole new level but the regular average couple in desperate want and desire for children, it's no one's business except for them and their doctors.

Caitlin - posted on 04/26/2010

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I'm not quite suer how the Quebec program is going to work, they only recently (a few months ago) announcedf their plans. I know they will cover up to 2 treatments, but I don't know what kind of conditions they will put in place for the treatment. It shouldn't be available to just anybody, but I don't know why with the budget issues that we already have, they should be adding more to our already overdrawn medical system.

Amie - posted on 04/26/2010

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That's the thing though too Cathy. As in Ontario's case, they only cover IVF if the fallopian tubes are blocked. If it's a health issue then you won't get covered for it.

It would be just like every other serious procedure under UHC, guidelines would have to be met. For organ donations, you have to adhere to strict protocols to be on the waiting list and receive the donation when you get to the top of the list. I don't see why they would treat IVF any differently. If you're not willing to make the changes to ensure (as much as possible) a healthy term pregnancy then they won't want to waste our tax dollars on you.

Ontario is also set up that if you are approved only 3 rounds are covered. So my understanding is, if you go through it and your first one takes, you still have 2 more rounds that would be covered. If however it took all 3 to have a viable pregnancy then you would have to pay for anymore after that out of pocket.

Sara - posted on 04/26/2010

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Well, I don't really feel that I have the right to tell a couple who had trouble conceiving the first time around "Hey, sorry about your luck, but you've already got one, so..." . I mean, the heart wants what the heart wants, and if people can afford to have more kids, why should they be limited? I do wonder why someone in that situation wouldn't consider adoption more strongly, but then again, I've never been in that situation, so I don't know for sure.

Sharon - posted on 04/25/2010

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Mary said "A HUGE difference with that octo-bitch....she purposefully had all of those embryos implanted. It was ethically objectionable on the part of that doc, and he has come under censure by his peers (that is NOT the norm wih IVF, most responsible docs will not implant more than 2 embryos per cycle). I'm friends with my RE doc, he was aghast, and horrified when this came out. "



I know its a different situation, its not the multiples that pissed me off, its the fact that she had EIGHT kids already, living on welfare, 2 or 3 of them are disabled and she continued to have more.I think after 5 or 6 kids thats it. I'm all for people having the large family they want but not her, not people like her.



I think IVF cost is insane and ought to be regulated.



I also think that universal health care ought to cover at least 4 attempts. Maybe with some sort of partial payment. Not sure about the details about that ....

Mary - posted on 04/25/2010

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Oh, and Caitlin...any idea how much just ONE cycle of IVF costs? Many couples cannot afford that (and still afford any kids that may result). The last 2 cycles we did out-of-pocket in 2004, including drugs, was ~ $18,000.00 dollars (US) a piece. By saying that either universal coverage or insurance should not cover it is effectively saying that you do not think these people should be given a chance to have children of their own. Nice... really empathetic of you.

Mary - posted on 04/25/2010

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A HUGE difference with that octo-bitch....she purposefully had all of those embryos implanted. It was ethically objectionable on the part of that doc, and he has come under censure by his peers (that is NOT the norm wih IVF, most responsible docs will not implant more than 2 embryos per cycle). I'm friends with my RE doc, he was aghast, and horrified when this came out.



IUI is less controlled...it involves stimulating the ovaries, and injecting the sperm into the uterus at the time of ovulation. It's a bit of a crap shoot as to whether or not any embryos will even develop, much less implant. It is a lower sucess rate than IVF, but does pose a greater risk of multiples, since there is less contol as well. (same with clomid and just having sex at the time of ovulation)

Sharon - posted on 04/25/2010

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In the case of the Gosselins - yes, they were having issues coceiving on their own.



In the case of octowhore - HELL NO.

Caitlin - posted on 04/25/2010

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Mary - I acknowledge that infertility is very hard on a couple and it's not fair. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be allowed to get the treatments or have children, i'm saying I shouldn't have to pay for it! All in all, my issue is mostly when they implant too many embryos, I never watched John and Kate plus 8 religiously, but as far as I recall, they were implanted embryos, and all of them took. I know you can't force a woman to undergo a reduction, but to avoid that, the doctor should not have implanted that many embryos in the first place. Carrying 6 or 8 babies to term is crazy (IMO), and can be harmful to the mothers health and the babys health. If I were to find out I was carrying 4 children, I owuld have a hard time undergoing reduction, but in the end it's for my children's health, I don't see why they should be put through all the stress of being born prematurely if they don't have to be (as far as i'm aware, carrying even twins to 37 weeks is a challenge, and the more premature your child is the more they are at risk for certain issues later on in life).



And I DO know a couple that went through a hell of a time to have their son. They tried almost every treatment in the book, they did hormones, and IVF, and failed several times. After 5 years of trying, they finally conceived a son, and she was on bedrest the ENTIRE pregnancy. It was very trying on them, but they managed it..

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My cousin has the same condition (PCOS, maybe?) that Kate Gosselin has. Very irregular cycles and ovulation occurs very rarely.

In college she "accidentally" conceived her first child. She married the baby's father and once they had graduated and were on their feet financially, they decided it was time for another child. Fair enough. Except that is when she was officially diagnosed with her condition. She considered her first child a miracle and decided to educate herself on conceiving with her condition. But was prepared for disappointment.

Good news: she tracked her cycles and made all kinds of charts based on temperature etc. and with the help of a very low dose fertility drug, she conceived! Her baby girl is due early June.

I don't have a problem with couples who want to do like my cousin. I do have a problem with people getting so OBSESSED with conceiving more children that their current children are pushed to the background. Are they not enough? I think my cousin came at it with a good attitude and good head on her shoulders. Much like Mary...thankful for the one she has.

Ez - posted on 04/25/2010

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I believe nobody has the right to dictate to a woman what her reproductive life should involve - it is her uterus after all. Women who don't want children should not be pressured into having them. Women who want 10 children should not be ridiculed for that choice. Women who already have a child, then choose an abortion (for whatever reason) should not be made to feel less of a mother.

But I do think the needs of the existing child/children should be considered in undertaking any further pregnancies that may be 'risky'. This does not just apply to IVF pregnancies though. My own mother suffered from HG (Hyperemis Gravidarum) with both pregnancies. When she was pregnant with my younger brother she was often unable to care for me and spent a lot of time in hospital on a drip. Because my Dad was at work, the task of looking after me fell to my grandparents. After my brother was born, my Grandad went in to visit Mum and begged her to promise she wouldn't have any more babies. This sentiment was echoed by my Dad, and her OB - there was too much risk to her health (HG can be fatal if not treated properly), and it caused too much disruption and chaos for her existing child (me). So when my brother was a few months old she had her tubes done, despite having always wanted 3 children. My Mum made this decision based on what was best for her family, not just what she wanted. She recognised that going through another pregnancy with HG, this time with 2 small children to care for, was just not fair to anybody.

I don't have enough information about the Gosselins (only what I've seen in tabloids - we don't get the show here) to really have an opinion. If she had a 'normal' twin pregnancy I don't see any issue with her trying for another child. I'm sure she didn't expect to get 6! But I do agree that the medical ethics surrounding the implantation of so many embryos is questionable, but that would be the case for any woman.

Rosie - posted on 04/25/2010

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if people want to have more kids, i don't see why they shouldn't just cause they have to go through a different route to get it that way. i wouldn't tell a woman who has one child already that she shouldn't get pregnant again the "natural" way, so why would i think of doing it for someone experiencing infertility, and needing ivf?
i have some issues with adoption for myself. obviously i know it's possible to love an adopted child as your own (my stepfather did it with me, and he didn't even adopt me), but i don't feel i could. i'm sure other people feel that way as well, so why would they want to adopt if they can have their own child? also, i don't really see the point of making someone have a selective reduction if they don't want it. it's incredibly ridiculous to me to even think that we should force someone to have an abortion, whether there's 20 or 2, if she wants to keep it then she should.

Lindsay - posted on 04/25/2010

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I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I was very fortunate (some may say too furtunate) in the fertility department as both of my children were conceived unexpectedly while I was using BC. I honestly don't know the feeling of wanting a child so bad and not being able to conceive it naturally. I can only imagine the emotional toll of wanting something so bad and struggling for success. But if things had turned out differently, I would have done anything and everything physically possible to have my babies, whether that be fertility treatments, adoption, or both. As long as the parent(s) are mentally healthy and able to care for a child(ren), I don't see anything that should stop them.



As far as the Gosselins, I honestly don't see anything wrong with what they did fertility wise. Based on my memories from the show and from reading up on them a while back, they used IUI and successfully conceived their twin girls. When they decided to try again for one more, they went back and did a repeat of IUI. It failed and did not result in a pregnancy. I believe that they went in for one final attempt to conceive. It again it was unsuccessful, they were planning on persuing an adoption. This time though, it resulted in sextuplets. I did look into IUI and the success rate and it averages between 10%-20%.



As far as selective reduction, I feel it is absolutely and totally unethical to force a selective reduction. Just as no one should be told that they can't have an abortion, they also shouldn't be told that they have to have one.

Caitlin - posted on 04/25/2010

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That's a funny question actually, because recently our province (Quebec) has just approved the government subsidizing IVF as a medical treatment for couple who cannot conceive naturally (up to 2 rounds of IVF treatment). I'm against that 100%, because I hate that my tax dollars go to fund someone elses fertility treatments. On the other hand, I have no problems with fertility treatments in general, and if someone has the money to pay for these treatments, then they should be entitiled to use them. I do think that medical ethics have a long way to go with these new treatments though, because I don't feel it was responsible to implant multiple embryos (especially 6 or 8) in a woman who has had previous sucessful treatment. I know people like to increse their odds of success, especially for such an exxpensive procedure, but on the other hand, the ethics kick in when there are multiple embryos that take and 6 or 8 babies result from the procedure and the mother is against having a reduction performed to reduce the number of babies.

I don't believe a couple should be forced to adopt or anything, and if someone has the money to have this performed then they should have every right, but I beleve medical ethics should be updated a great deal and fast to deal with these situations!

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