After several years of trying to conceive and after some basic fertility treatment, my doctor suggested my husband and I try in vitro fertilization. Thanks to folks like Celine Dion, I had heard of it but was always intimidated by it. I wasn’t sure exactly what it entailed and was saddened that it seemed like I would never be able to get pregnant on my own. I expressed this to my doctor and after a moment of thought, he said to me with the utmost sincerity, “Honestly, you should be grateful it exists. It has helped so many who wouldn’t have otherwise have been able to have children.”
Eventually, it would be my third round of IVF where I would conceive my son, who is now 3 years old. On that cycle in particular I had 13 eggs retrieved but I only had one embryo. For those of you who don’t know, these are not the ideal results. With that amount of eggs (and money spent), one would hope for perhaps four embryos to store and/or transfer. I realized then that I was in fact extremely lucky to have this technology to assist me and was even luckier that the lone embryo implanted and grew into an adorable, sweet, loving little boy.
My experiences inspired me to become an active infertility advocate and one of the things I now say at least 10 times a day to couples dealing with infertility is that sometimes, it’s not a question of IF you’ll become a parent, it’s more of a question of HOW you’ll become a parent. If you have excellent insurance coverage, the financial resources and/or the necessary support, you can explore so many different options ranging from insemination, IVF, donor eggs, surrogacy or adoption. Infertility is so intimidating and overwhelming that I find many are comforted by this: to know that they have several avenues they can explore on their journey to becoming a parent.
This is why I find it so particularly painful to read about Dolce and Gabbana’s comments. Infertility is difficult enough without others sitting in judgment of it and of the beautiful children treatment has helped produce.
Yes, I’m fully aware that there are many who feel fertility treatment is against God’s law; that if you’re meant to be a parent, it would have happened “naturally.” However, there are also many in the infertility community who are also quite religious who believe that God has given doctors the gift to help couples build a family. Who is to say who’s right or wrong? Certainly not a pair of fashion designers who, as far as I can tell, have longed to be parents.
It’s downright nauseating that anyone would refer to any child as “chemical offspring.” It’s also ignorant and irresponsible to say that procreation “must be an act of love.” You don’t think going through fertility treatment was an act of love? You have no idea what I had to endure physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise to go through IVF. Women who do so are often called “Womb Warriors” because of what they willingly put themselves through to have a child. I’ve connected with so many women in the infertility world who have had multiple miscarriages, stillborns and treatment after treatment in order to have the children they now hold in their arms. To them, perseverance, luck, resources and technology have made this possible. What can be accomplished by shaming or judging them?
I would hope these two people would have more compassion and sensitivity for those who stray from the conventional way of doing things. I would also hope that given that their target audience is primarily either wealthy people in general or celebrities, many of whom have gone through treatment, surrogacy or adoption, Dolce and Gabbana would consider keeping their personal feelings to themselves.
At the end of the day, I’m not saying you have to agree with anyone’s decisions to pursue their fertility options. If you feel it’s wrong, that’s your choice and means that you should not go through treatment. But to impose your beliefs on anyone, to dismiss children that are already here on this earth, should not be tolerated.
When I hold my son in my arms, I feel exactly when any other mother feels. When I look into his eyes, when he hugs me and tells me he loves me, I don’t feel anything less than any parent would. I love my child, I’m grateful for in vitro for bringing him to me and he will never be anything but a miracle to me.