Dear Twin Kids, One of You is “Extra” According to the Atlantic
Eeny meeny miny moe
One of you is extra though
Fertility treatments made it so
The Atlantic told me
to pick the very best one
and you are not it.
A tiny favour, all magazines. When you are talking about human beings, unless you are referencing the phrase “the heir and the spare” when speaking about historical land and title arrangements, please refrain from calling certain people “extra.” It’s a little offensive and reeks of eugenics.
Now specifically to the Atlantic:
Your title “There Really Are So Many More Twins Now” has a golly gee willikers aspect to the phrasing, one that makes the average American scratch their head and say, “Woo wee! That’s a lot of twins. I sure do wonder what made this twin dump in the population.”
Here’s the thing. You call these humans “extra” because there is an increase in the twin rate. But do we call years “extra” because we’ve increased the average life span? Do we call all those additional murders “extra” since we’ve had an increase in gun-related deaths? Where is that headline? “The Gun Effect: How the US Got Millions of Extra (!) Deaths.” No, we don’t. Because we don’t hold collective disdain for assisted family building. Whereas socially, there is more reverence and protection given to guns than there is to building families. Unless someone is trying to stop themselves from building a family. Politicians like to get involved then.
The author, Alexis C Madrigal, plays super-sleuth, finding the definitive reason for the increased twin rate: fertility treatments. He is absolutely certain of this. Better medical care hasn’t increased the live twin rate, even though we now have many more options for ensuring that twins live than we did twenty years ago. Environmental factors are not increasing twinning. The only reasons he gives is old ladies and their old ovaries and young ladies and their rabid love of fertility treatments.
Believe me, finger-pointing-without-actually-addressing-the-clear-solution-to-this-problem Atlantic, we all want to solve the issue of multiple births when it comes to fertility treatments. There is a simple step American lawmakers could take that would greatly reduce the number of multiple births, lowering the risks and medical costs associated with multiple births — if you really want to address this problem and not just whine about it:
Mandate that insurance needs to cover fertility treatments.
Many more people would opt for eSET (elective single embryo transfer) if the costs of IVF weren’t astronomical, encouraging women to increase their possible success rates by transferring more than one embryo. Many more people would opt for closer monitoring with lower-end fertility drugs such as Clomid if the full cost for monitoring wasn’t passed along to the patient, cycle after cycle after cycle. Many more people would take a slower and more conservative route, even with the emotional costs, if the financial costs weren’t such a burden on the family. Mandate insurance coverage and eSET except in doctor-decided cases, and you will see a twin rate that mirrors that of other countries that provide fertility treatments to patients who need it.
So… instead of just pointing out the problem, you are a news source, Atlantic. Why don’t you continue the story and state the solution?
Awaiting your next article covering insurance mandates.
P.S. Madrigal: you’d sound a lot more knowledgeable if you used the correct term — “transfer” — rather than the impossible term — “implant” — when referring to IVF.