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Infertility: It’s Just Science

Finally, an article on a mainstream site that marvels in the reach of science instead of instilling fear in the public.  i09 published “The Beautiful Strangeness of Conceiving Through Science,” a really interesting (albeit long) piece this week from a person who has conceived twins after an IUI.

Starting with the surprise of infertility — like many people, she comes from a family without fertility issues and therefore always assumed it would be easy to get pregnant when she wanted — she states, “Humans have a tendency to take our biology for granted, which is a mistake. Infertility changes everything, and so many people, including myself, never see it coming.”

She explains her own situation and also goes through the “otherwise.”  Instead of people walking away from a single experience believing they understand the norm, she describes what happened for her as well as the other ways it could go in terms of diagnosis, insurance, and procedures.  She touches on the emotional side of infertility from time to time.

But what I love is the literal refrain of “because of science.”  Fertility treatments are just science; not something to be scared of or to stand in judgment of, unless we’re going to apply that brush to the rest of science.  People are not looking for an abnormal or extreme outcome; they’re not looking to do something destructive.

Fertility treatments are about wanting a child, a pretty commonplace desire, in the same way that using irrigation devices is about wanting to turn an arid plot of land into something fecund.  See, not so scary.  The end goal is something that naturally occurs.

Perhaps my favourite part of the article is when she discusses the limitations of science:

Which is the most remarkable part of conceiving by science – despite all the extra insight, the technology that has made conceiving and giving birth more exact, life is still incredibly unpredictable.

That as much as we want to believe we’re in control, it’s all still a game of chance.  And some will roll double sixes.  (I’m writing an analogy I don’t really know — double sixes are good, right?  If double sixes are good, go with that.  If they’re bad, replace those words with something that is very good in dice.)  And some will not get to roll at all.

So… um… offering up my own thank you to science.  Thanks, science, for all the large and small ways you get me through the day.  Thank you for the glasses to correct my imperfect vision, for the medication that keeps me from having a heart attack, for the machines that keep my house warm, for the microwave that makes cooking easier, and yes, thank you for fertility treatments and obstetrical science that aided me in conceiving the twins and carrying them (uh… mostly) to term and then keeping them alive in the NICU when my body couldn’t support them anymore.  In another time and place, there are two people on this earth who would not exist without science.  So, yeah, I’m pretty thankful for all the work that brought us to this place.

Thank you, science. (Even though I’m aware the words “thank you” are inadequate to really sum up my gratitude.)


1 Valery Valentina { 01.14.15 at 9:32 am }

yeah science, keep up the good work!

2 Keiko { 01.14.15 at 9:56 am }

My husband and I maintain that the geekiest, nerdiest, most tech-gadget-y-est thing we could have ever together was have a child through IVF.

3 deathstar { 01.14.15 at 11:09 am }

Thank science on behalf of my friends and fuck you, science on behalf of me. But generally, thank you for the microwave and medicine.

4 Sharon { 01.14.15 at 11:28 am }

I have often thought about the fact that, but for advances in science, my sons would have never been born. So I am very thankful for those advances that allowed for that to happen.

5 Rebecca { 01.14.15 at 12:20 pm }

The first clothes we bought for our boys, well before they were born, were onesies that said “Made with Love… And Science!” (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e74b/?srp=7 out of stock now, though). I marvel at science every day. I also teach science and try to get everyone to marvel at it. Thank you science!

6 Persnickety { 01.14.15 at 8:28 pm }

Hmm, that post was on GT before it was shared through io9 and I have been avoiding it- it’s really hard to know whether it will be a head desk or a positive.
But yes, science is what is making the difference. One popular shirt when my sister was an mining engineering student had “ban mining” on the front and ” let them freeze to death in the dark” ( or words to that effect, it has been 15 years) making the point that mining is what enables people to live in relative comfort. A similar quote for science deniers is probably needed- I think people forget that most of our comforts are aided by or as a result of science and experimentation.

7 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.15.15 at 11:59 pm }

Science brought me all my Internet friends.

8 Another Dreamer { 01.16.15 at 10:44 am }

I actually have onesies for the kids that say, “Created with love (and science!)” I often marveled at how far we’ve come… I mean, so much of this is still so new, and we still have a long way to go, but we’ve came so far already.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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