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For the Love of Google

The same google search keeps showing up on my sitemeter: is IVF selfish? I wish there was a way to respond to those people directly–just send them a quick note to set the record straight.

An Open Note to People Who Search About the Selfishness of IVF:

Hey, my name is Melissa, and I just wanted to let you know that IVF isn’t selfish. Why? Um…because at the end of the day, you’re doing it entirely for another person. Yes, you get to be a parent, but being a parent can go in many different directions. You can become someone’s mother and they can grow up and move away and never speak to you again. Motherhood does not guarantee that a child is going to remain with you forever. So…yes, IVF isn’t selfish because the person who benefits the most is the child. Who is being born. Instead of being just another unfertilized egg or a school of sperm.

What? That’s not good enough? You think that it’s selfish to ask other people to help you while you put your body through hell so you can have this child? Do you think people who go through cancer are selfish? Or people who lose a limb in an accident? They go through a period of time when they need help. That’s the beauty of the human race–we can reach out to one another and ease each other’s journey by working together. And infertility is a disease that cannot be cured–it can only be treated. And while it may not be “life threatening” in the same way that cancer is life threatening, it is certainly life-style threatening. And it causes depression. And beyond all that, at a most basic level: it’s okay to need help. There, I said it. And the people who help you will in turn rely on you one day–they just don’t know it yet. But that’s what happens: things happen that you can’t predict. So take the help. And give it back later. It will all come full circle.

What? Are you kidding? You’re still not convinced? Well…IVF isn’t selfish because you’re not wasting money. You’re spending it to (1) treat a disease and (2) raise a child. It’s just that the cost of your child is sky-high before the child is even born. So just consider it an additional child-related expense. It’s the only way to rationalize it or you’ll go crazy thinking about the cost.

IVF isn’t selfish if your partner doesn’t want to try it and you do. It’s not selfish to want to be a mother (or, if you’re male, to be a father). And IVF isn’t selfish if you’re male and you want to do it, but your wife is drawing the line at needles. It isn’t selfish to want to be a father. And it isn’t selfish of her to want to try other routes to parenthood. You both need to be on the same page to get through IVF. Because it is hard. Emotionally and physically. But at the end of the day, it all goes back to your original question: selfishness. And none of these things are selfish–either doing IVF or choosing not to do IVF.

Listen, in a perfect world, you two would go into the bedroom and have some sex and be cuddling a newborn nine months later. But that’s not the way it’s going to go for you and it’s not the way it’s going for me. And you deal. Using some form of ART isn’t selfish–it’s just the path you have to take in order to get what everyone else gets easily.

At the end of the day, no one else is going to be able to convince you. I have a feeling that you know this. But you’re googling it because someone has scattered some seeds of self doubt in your mind. And that’s really crappy of them. And I’m sorry that you’re going through that. But IVF isn’t selfish. It’s actually one of (because there are a bunch of equally unselfish and highly wonderful paths you could take) the ultimate gifts a mother can give: life. And going through hell to give that life. That takes a bold woman. And a strong woman. And a kick-ass woman. Not a selfish woman. There are no selfish women in the infertility world.

So ignore anything that people are telling you and get yourself in the stirrups. You can head over to my side bar and read a bunch of write ups about IVF and how to give yourself a sub-cue or an IM injection. And stop searching the Web for proof to back-up an idiot’s words (choose the correct apology: (1) oh…the idiot was your husband? I’m sorry. All due respect. (2) oh…the idiot was your wife? I’m sorry. All due respect. (3) you’re the idiot who is questioning whether it is selfish? I’m sorry. Maybe go back to the top and read again?). You need to save your strength for the cycle.

Good luck!

Check back and let us know how it goes!



1 Nica { 11.27.06 at 1:04 pm }

I love you. And this post. Thanks.

2 TeamWinks { 11.27.06 at 1:34 pm }

I love you too! Well stated, and I would have to agree. Perhaps this should be a daily mantra. I’m not selfish. Thanks for the reminder.

(Side Note: my word verification was IVFCUNOW)

3 Lisa { 11.27.06 at 3:10 pm }

Seriously? People think that doing IVF is selfish? I can’t imagine a less selfish thing. Having normal every day sex and ending up with a baby almost sounds selfish next to the hell that is infertility and ART.

4 Karaoke Diva { 11.27.06 at 6:25 pm }

Great post! There is NOTHING selfish about going through what we go through to bring a life into this world. You hit that nail on the head, girl.

5 C { 11.27.06 at 6:26 pm }

I will never, EVER understand all of the judgement surrounding IVF. Thank you for writing this.

6 Anonymous { 11.27.06 at 6:36 pm }

That’s the most beautiful blog Ive seen! your a Woman and in nature wich without we would all die!
100% behind what you said and you deserve “thatbaby” 101%

7 Anonymous { 11.27.06 at 6:56 pm }

Selfish? To want something that others can have without even trying? Nope. Was I selfish to engage another woman in an egg donation cycle because my eggs were dead? I think not. It takes a selfless person to raise anothers child as her own. Not all those “selfish” people who would not consider ART or adoption, but mostly because they are so amazingly fertile. I consider IF patients to be less selfish than the norm. We must work much harder to achieve what is a given in society today. We struggle for our children, and therefore are more hopeful for them. For how they will influence this world. And therefore, how we did.

8 My Reality { 11.27.06 at 7:50 pm }

Beautifully said. Thank you.

9 Celeste { 11.27.06 at 9:00 pm }

lovely. compassionate. true.

thanks, mel.

10 Cibele { 11.27.06 at 10:13 pm }

Great post. How can somebody think that IVF is selfish? Somebody once told me that “these people” that do IVF are trying to play God. Are we really? CRAZY! isn’t it a selfish comment when she is pregnat and has 2 kids already?

11 Gil { 11.27.06 at 10:32 pm }

God. Love. You. This entry is absolutely cathartic. Selfish? Good Lord no. Not in the least.

12 Lyrehca { 11.28.06 at 5:40 am }

I honestly never thought anything about the words IVF and selfish until I read this post. Selfish? Is it selfish to treat a medical problem with medication? To have surgery for a medical problem? To choose how to spend your own time, money and resources to get what it is you desire? Please. People do what they need to do to get what they desire. If it takes finances, shots and drugs to have a baby through IVF, so be it. I’m just grateful an option like IVF even exists for people like me.

13 Beagle { 11.28.06 at 8:50 am }

Great post. People do google the oddest things.

Apparantly adoption is selfish too, maybe I ought to address that one. (referring to my annon commenter who slammed me for my selfish wants).

14 Meg { 11.28.06 at 9:18 am }

Great post. In all honesty I think this is the least selfish thing I have done. We are dealing with male factor – my husband has 0% morphology. I am healthy (old but healthy 🙂 ) My eggs are fine, tubes fine etc. My husband is the problem but guess what… he cant get pregnant so I have to put my body through the shots, the stirrups, etc for us to achieve our goal. I could most likely get pregnant with someone else naturally BUT….I didnt marry that person I married my husband who happens to have a sperm issue. And he married a person who is willing to put their body through all this crap so we can acheive our goal of raising a family. And we did it the right way – I bought a house, we got married and then tried. Now this. Whats selfish is to be that ignorant that you think a 16 year old getting pregnant the natural way is ok but this isnt. Ok I am done venting.

Thanks for the post!!

15 Anonymous { 11.30.06 at 12:08 am }

you tell ’em sister!

16 Anonymous { 08.21.08 at 1:17 pm }

Wow. I googled that exact thing and came exactly here. Yup, I’m searching the ether for moral guidance. 🙂 Just found out that IVF is the only way to make it happen, and $20,000 is the only way to make IVF happen. Thank you.

17 ak_sapphire { 02.11.09 at 10:40 pm }

very well said! you should log into oprah's website and share your point of view here:https://www.oprah.com/plugform.jsp?plugId=1433594&referer=http://www.oprah.com/index. it would be wonderful for the world to hear the real truth about infertility. and your book could be in oprah's book club!!!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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