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A 3-Person IVF Article That Will Make You Scream

I know I shouldn’t let it get under my skin, but I really can’t let Jezebel’s post about 3-Person IVF go.  For those who haven’t heard, there was a recent ruling on the ethics of 3-Person IVF in the United Kingdom, hence this obnoxious article on Jezebel.  3-Person IVF is different from donor egg (sometimes confusingly called third-person reproduction) and is meant to circumvent certain genetic illnesses instead of using preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD (or when PGD isn’t finding useable embryos, which is what happened to my friend recently.  She created many embryos, but when they tested them with PGD, they all carried the fatal genetic illness she and her husband were both carriers of and none could be transferred).  3-Person IVF replaces the mitochondrial DNA inside the woman’s egg.  So there are three sets of DNA — it’s your egg with someone else’s mitochondrial DNA.

So let’s start with the irreverent title.  I always think it’s sensitive to harken a sexual proposition in the title of an article about a life-saving procedure, don’t you?  How about New Procedure Gives Hope to Parents Who are Carriers of Fatal Genetic Illnesses instead of calling it a genetic ménages à trois?  You know, just to be thoughtful.

Next, while 3-Person IVF is only utilized by those with the financial means to do so, 3-Person IVF — and IVF in general — isn’t “very, very rich people problems.”  Genetic illnesses can affect anyone, and the only thing that’s a problem here is the fact that we have a system where the wealthy can afford to treat their medical issues and the poor can’t.

This — “And as long as all parties agree on genetic penetration rules beforehand, amirite? Sex joke! High fives for everyone.” — is what makes you an asshole.  Thanks for belittling the incredibly difficult decisions that those who need to utilize IVF face whereas the rest of the population never need to worry their pretty little heads.

Wait, I thought that line made you an insensitive asshole.  I was wrong.  This is the one that really makes you an insensitive asshole:

The 3-parent IVF method takes one mommy egg and one daddy sperm, but intervenes in the fertilization to replace the mitochondrial DNA of the original maternal egg with the mitochondrial DNA of a donor’s egg (“daddy’s pretty friend Stacey”). That’s because many inherited genetic diseases — liver failure, heart disease, and probably Norman Bates-ism — are carried in the mitochondrial DNA and only passed along to offspring via the maternal line.

Before you then go on to belittle it further, pointing out how infertility and the passing on of genetic illnesses isn’t on par with fistulas and malaria, you mention how 3-Person IVF “will give couples who would otherwise have to adopt other options.”  Apparently you weren’t aware that there already are other options including DI, DE, and PGD.  You may want to do a little research into IVF BEFORE you write about it.  Just saying.

And just when I thought you were getting close to wrapping up your garbage coverage, you hit it out of the park with this ending:

Any chronically ugly couples rich [SIC] who were hoping to pull the genetic equivalent of copying a smart person’s homework and turning it in as their own are going to have to hope that eventually an unscrupulous doctor acts totally unethically in order to cash in.

Let’s not pretend to be a real news outlet and cover pieces such as medical ethics.  In the immortal words of John Bender in the Breakfast Club, Jezebel: “So you just stick to the things you know: shopping, nail polish, your father’s BMW, and your poor, rich drunk mother in the Caribbean.”  You can replace “poor, rich drunk mother” with any number of celebrity fluff pieces you run daily.

This is EXACTLY what I meant when I wrote this yesterday.  Jezebel, you love to voice your uninformed opinion.  But actually listen to the reality of 3-Person IVF or the need for IVF at all?  Not so much.


1 Devon { 06.12.12 at 1:56 pm }

Wow. Just wow. It must be nice to never have to make a difficult decision concerning building your family. This kind of BS makes my head spin. I’ll take being infertile and making the hard decision, over being the asshole who wrote this any day.

2 a { 06.12.12 at 2:15 pm }

But that was hilarious! Don’t you get it? Oh, you just have no sense of humor…

*eye roll*

(Actually, the comments were much more entertaining than that nonsense. None of the usual trolls, that I noticed.)

3 a { 06.12.12 at 2:16 pm }

Is it my imagination, or is this your third post today? I’ll call you butter, because you’re on a roll…

4 jjiraffe { 06.12.12 at 3:33 pm }

“This — ‘And as long as all parties agree on genetic penetration rules beforehand, amirite? Sex joke! High fives for everyone.’ — is what makes you an asshole.”

Major side-eye of death to this stupid story. The Jezebel take is actually WORSE than the normal “infertility is only for the rich and whimsical” view of the NYT. I didn’t think that was possible. But, adding snark to that assumed viewpoint is just the extra slap in the face infertile people everywhere (most of whom can’t even afford treatments) don’t need.

This is infuriating, and the second time they have written a story like this. Keiko covered the first one, comparing infertility treatments to cosmetic surgery. Yes, I’m fucking serious as a heart attack. I wish I wasn’t. http://theinfertilityvoice.com/2012/05/buy-buy-baby/

Jezebel, you and I are so, so done. And I used to adore you.

5 Heather { 06.12.12 at 4:15 pm }

Ugh! My pet peeve in this world is when people mis-speak when it comes to talking about infertility treatments. Everyone that knows me knows I’m open about my OI/IUI daughter and my IVF twin boys. Whenever I hear the media use the term “implant” instead of “transfer” when talking about IVF, it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. I think I’d say it out loud even if no one was in the room, “If it was implanting I’d have three more kids by now.” Don’t even get me started on people with even more crazy discussions on what we have to go through to have our children and ensure they are healthy. I’m so sorry if it seems like it’s rich people that need IF, as it seems any drunk redneck 17yo crackhead can get pregnant when she sits on a dirty toilet seat. I’m sorry should I have deleted that part of my comment. I’m really not bitter….

6 Betty M { 06.12.12 at 4:48 pm }

Another good reason never to go to Jezebel again. I don’t care if the writer thought they were being funny but to so monumentally miss the point is really poor journalism. Be “funny” if you must but at least understand the issues.

7 Elizabeth { 06.12.12 at 7:50 pm }

I was starting to get tired of Jezebel anyway – now I’m done. Forever.

8 Mali { 06.13.12 at 12:19 am }

Why didn’t I actually listen to your title, realise I didn’t feel like reading something that would make me scream, and sensibly walk away? Why?? Why did I read that? Because now I really really REALLY want to scream,

9 Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse { 06.13.12 at 3:21 am }

I used to think Jezebel had funny and clever takes on news stories, but either I was wrong or else they’ve changed. Stories like this just repulse me even more. Yeah, I know their spin is supposed to be “snarky.” But come on.

Love the John Bender advice.

10 Chickenpig { 06.13.12 at 7:48 am }

OOOOh!! I’m so mad I can actually feel my blood boiling. Right now. Grrrr….

11 Io { 06.13.12 at 9:19 am }

I feel like Jezebel has gotten worse over the past couple years. The stuff that is supposed to be witty is often just…dumb.
However, you know what this article means? I am doing IVF. Only super rich people can do IVF. Ergo, I AM SUPER RICH!!!

12 Sushigirl { 06.13.12 at 11:23 am }

I thought the bit about the cost of treatment was taking the piss out of fertility doctors charging way over the odds for treatment, rather than belitting people with genetic problems. The bit about the Royal Family made me laugh.

I agree it’s cackhanded and unkind in other parts though.

13 Tara { 06.13.12 at 1:46 pm }

Thank you for reading Jezebel so I don’t have to. It’s particular brand of pseudo-feminism turned me off entirely somewhere around the time that Tracie dropped her pseudonym and Moe found work elsewhere.

14 Tara Dawes { 06.13.12 at 2:17 pm }

Just informed my husband that we are “super-rich” now! Can’t wait to vacation on our yacht this summer – oh wait no the electric bill still needs to get paid and I have to return those pants I bought because I really don’t have the money for them. Seriously though, I hate people like this – I hate them so much that I am so full of hate for them that I have leftover hate that I need to put somewhere else. Why these vapid morons feel the need to talk about subjects they have NO clue about I will never understand. Don’t even get me started on the whole “adoption” bullcrap – I don’t want to adopt I want to give birth to my own child – it doesn’t make me a horrible person it just makes me someone who wants to give birth to my biological offspring. Why are all these people always trying to sign up people going through infertility to be the great adopters of the world – if they think it’s such a great idea why didn’t they adopt? Why is it only the go-to for people who have issues getting/staying pregnant? grrrrrrr frustration!!!!

15 JuliaKB { 06.14.12 at 11:08 am }

So, as a completely random occurrence, last Sat. I attended a panel where the writer of this piece was one of the presenters. It was on using funny in feminism. Which, in light of this piece? Hi-larious. What’s more to the point is that I happened to ask a question at the end of the panel about whether the presenters have had a fail in trying to be funny and how they have reacted. I have to say that the writer’s answer to that question makes me hope that if she was called out for this, she’d react in a mature and respectful ways and maybe even say something outloud on the topic. Wanna take a crack at it? (I didn’t read the comments, so didn’t see whether you’ve left a comment there.)

16 jill { 06.19.12 at 2:05 pm }

Thank you, thank you for this post. My husband and I had just sent our blood away for testing possible genetic causes of recurrent miscarriage after IVF when I read Jezebel’s article. The “very, very rich people problems”assumption really bothered me. It bothered me just as much as the NYT continually publishing articles about infertility in the ‘Style’ section.

17 prilly { 06.25.12 at 6:36 am }

Can I just say, “what we have to go through to have children and ensure they are healthy” – look up the definition of natural selection. I’m not saying I wish everyone to have unhealthy children, but what makes the human race so spectacular is the use of natural selection to better our race. But if we all CHEAT nature, cuz’ that’s what we’re really talking about here, then everyone will be exactly the same because really everyone is after a ‘perfect’ child.. and with science moving on so quickly it won’t be long until we have a blonde-hair, blue-eyed race!

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