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Oh, It’s Tuesday: Punishing the Infertiles While Octo-Mom Thrives

invitroSo while the the Octo-Mom supposedly has a new house, a new reality show in the works, and now round-the-clock infant-child care, valued at $135,000, IVF continues to get slammed for her actions.

Apparently, some Georgia pols have introduced a bill that limits the number of embryos that can be inserted in a woman and would prevent the freezing of additional embryos. This bill would also put limits on how many embryos could be created in the lab for transfer.

Though the bill is supposedly sponsored by several Georgia legislators, so far I haven’t been able to find a quote from any woman in support of it. Only male legislators seem to be talking to the media about it. I also highly doubt that any of these bill sponsors did any real homework about IVF.

Here’s the thing, Nadya Suleman is a huge exception to the general rule of IVF. Even though your chances of having multiples are higher with IVF, most doctors are unwilling to insert 6 embryos into spouseless, unemployed women.

If lawmakers really wanted to prevent multiple births, they’d be better off putting limits on IUI (artificial insemination). Usually when you hear about a woman have anything above twins, it’s b/c she has been given drugs which increase the number of eggs that she produces in her normal monthly cycle. Then she was shot up with donor sperm from her husband, partner or another source, and that sperm has fertilized more than one egg. This is what happened with Kate from Jon & Kate Plus 8, and that’s why most news outlets assumed that Suleman’s children were the product of IUI before TMZ really started  digging.

So to sum this up: if IUI had worked for CH and me, I would’ve been more likely to get pregnant with multiples than with IVF. I produced 5 eggs the second time we tried IUI — all 5 of them, had conditions been different for us, could have been fertilized. With IVF, my doctor put in one embryo. At the most she would have put in two. So the chances of me having multiples was actually a lot more controlled with IVF than it was with IUI. If states wanted to prevent most over-2 multiple births, they would have to start messing around with IUI, too — which wouldn’t be wise as this is the first, most effective and cheapest diagnosis in most infertility cases.

As for limits on how many embryos you can create, well that’s just insane.

You have to fertilize an egg in order to see if it’s viable embryo. Of the eggs that are retrieved only a few go on to be viable embryos once the donor sperm is brought into the mix. Sometimes none of them go on to be viable embryos. But if there are limits on how many embryos you can create, then how do you know which ones will fertilize properly?

Also if you’re not attempting to create embryos from more than two or three of the eggs, I wonder what doctors are supposed to do with all of the extra eggs – which technically belong to the couple who has produced them. It would be unsafe to leave all of those eggs inside the ovary and I can’t see pro-lifers or the eggs-for-sale industry being okay with doctors just throwing those eggs out.

Which brings us to the not being able to freeze embryos bit. Though I can understand that there are ethical dilemmas associated with freezing — I have them myself and will discuss them in a future post — I also understand that it would cost Georgian couples a ton more money for IVF if this went bill went through. Basically this would mean that you would have to start over from scratch every time they wanted to conceive a kid.

And again, I wonder what they would do with all the extra embryos? Say you have an ethical IVF doctor like mine who only wants to implant one or two eggs in a woman under 35. Even if she’s only created two or three embryos, that would mean that there are still one or two leftover embryos. Do these viable embryos get thrown out — even if it’s against the IVF couples wishes? Donated to other women? Donated to stem cell research?

This Georgia bill would cause way more ethical and financial dilemmas than it solves — and even if it passed, it wouldn’t prevent most over-2 multiple births. So really how much money would Georgia save with this bill? In fact, they’d actually be guaranteeing that IVF doctors and clinics got paid even more money. That’ll show ‘em, right?

I understand that people are angry about Nadya Suleman, but punishing women who really do need IVF in order to get back at her is not a good idea. Also, the MSM keeps on pointing out that there are much tougher IVF restrictions in European countries. Guess what European countries also have. Universal healthcare.

If lawmakers really want to be prevent another Nadya Suleman, then they should do what most European countries do — fund IVF. Then they can regulate it all they want to. But until they’re willing to do that, pols should just stay out of IVF matters, unless they really want to go on record and say that infertile couples and women don’t have the right to have children through scientific means.