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January 04, 2011


Emmie (Better Make It  A Double)

I still struggle with the issue of telling our kids about IVF. We have family on my husband's side who are very NOT OK with assisted reproduction, and my boys are so very verbal and inquisitive - I just feel protective about it, about protecting them from what someone might say to them. At the same time, I don't want to wait so long that they feel we are ashamed somehow when we tell them. I think we're just going to have to do it one of these days, though - it's getting to be time, especially since they know all about the birds and the bees. For now, we're introducing the topic slowly, with more talk about how we needed some help to get pregnant, etc. I wish people weren't so judgmental about ART. Thanks for sharing your experience - we donated ours to research, and feel good about that choice too. It required nothing more than a signature, incidentally.


I've been open with my twins too about IVF and will tell them more as they get older. I do worry that other kids will make fun of them (ie, call them 'test tube babies' etc) and make them feel bad about it.

I think what you and A are doing is so cool.

Husband A

A here -- Emmie, my advice, for whatever it is worth, is this: While you are being honest with your boys about IVF (if you choose to tell them), also be honest with them about the existence of a school of thought, held by sad and ignorant and frightened people, that IVF is shameful and not OK. Help them to understand that the people who hold this foolish and backward opinion, while wrong, are not to be feared or despised, but rather pitied, much as the cavemen who, though freezing under mastodon skins, ran away from their first glimpse of fire.

That may help.


This is intriguing. Thanks for talking about it in such detail.

We haven't pursued ED (on the recipient end) because I assumed that the donating parents got more say about where they ended up, and assumed that no one would voluntarily give their embryos to my Uterus of Doom. This makes me consider it more seriously.


How cool! I've not been part of the ART world in a first-hand kind of way, but have good friends who have. I appreciate that you share your story so openly. It helps those of us unfamiliar to understand and, perhaps, be more sensitive.


Wow, it never occurred to me that someone might be negative to my child about being conceived via IVF. NEVER. AND, I live in the buckle of the bible belt . . . huh. I have not encountered any negativity that I know of, and I am very open about the way we built our family. My oldest son is 5 years old -- he was IVF, high-risk pregnancy, I spent 5 weeks on bedrest, and he was born 15 weeks early weighing 1 pound and 10 ounces. He knows a little of this -- as much as he can understand and ask about, but he's not really that interested. He knows he was extra tiny when he was born. He knows that "we" (he was still in utero) flew in a helicopter to the hospital where he was born, he knows that he was in the hospital for a very long time, he knows (or has been told) that he had lots of machines and medicines when he was born. He does not know about IVF -- I would not even know how or why to broach it at this point, but since I have not been pregnant again, maybe that's why it has not come up. We adopted our youngest son -- he's 15 months old -- and my oldest knows, obviously, all about that. We have told him that babies grow in a woman's body -- he knows that. He knows that his brother is in our family b/c he was adopted -- we wanted a baby, and that God helped him "chose" us is how we say it. Also, that the woman who gave birth to him was not able to be the family that raised him for lots of different reasons. SO, that's just a long way of saying that adoption has been much more relevant in our discussion than anything else, since he was 4 years old when his brother was born.

I want him to know about IVF. I always imagine/joke that when he asks how babies are made, I will say something like, "Well, when two people really love each other, they take lots of medicine, go to the doctor a lot, and the doctor puts the baby inside the Momma's uterus . . ." I guess it will just come up when it comes up . . .


This is so long, but I also have to mention -- we have been paying for embryo storage fees for more than 4 years -- ugh. We have decided to donate our embryos to science. I will NOT tell many people about that decision, b/c I have a feeling that we would get some negativity or judgment for that, esp where we live!

Thanks for posting this.



Do you think that if you hadn't experienced infertility and had to go the route that you did, you would feel differently about the embryo? To me, a person who has had two babies with no outside assistance and no difficulty, I feel like I would consider an embryo my baby and have a hard time with making a choice to donate. Does that make sense? Thank you for sharing this stuff, I know it must be a little risky to be so personal in the internets. (The question is kind of moot because if you hadn't needed IVF it wouldn't be an issue, but I still wonder.)


1) I would love it if someone like you worked in a fertility clinic. Our experiece at ours was bad bad bad (although two of the three nurses I dealt with were wonderful).
2) Thanks for writing about this...we considered looking for donated embyros.
3) Your husband is funny.


I think what you're doing is wonderful and generous.


This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing it.

I know this wasn't the point of this post, but how DID you and A meet and fall in love and get married? Is it somewhere in the archives?


I love the comment "NO! Don't give them to the crazies!" I'm so glad that you are generous enough to donate your embryos - what a wonderful gift some person will receive thanks to you. Although I have not been through IVF myself, as the mom of twins, I have countless mom-friends who have. I also have a very close friend who has a darling little girl thanks to the generosity of a loving mom like you. I also love that you are a family that doesn't keep secrets. It's not always an easy or popular route, but I think it sets the kids up for learning to be truthful as adults.


I can't put a finger on why, but I was in tears for this whole post. (The happy/drama/stress kind.) I'm so grateful to you for telling about this, because I'm so NOSY, I mean INTERESTED in it, and also because this is a life experience I haven't had and won't have, and one I want to hear about from the point of view of someone who is having it. I hope your embryos have exactly the future they would be best off having.


Also, you are doing something that I often feel I would like to do. It seems like such a waste that I'm sitting here with a fertile body that conceives easily and has uncomplicated pregnancies, and I often think I wish I could donate that to people who need it. And you had fertility problems, and yet YOU'RE giving that gift. It makes me feel happy and admiring and glad.


I definitely wanted to comment on this post (even though I absolutely read every single one but often get distracted by something shiny before I can comment). I think it's just so wonderful what you and A are doing, and how much thought and time you put into it. I know there are some people who are against IVF for various reasons, but I am not one of them. Like Erin the commenter, I am in the deep South and I've never heard anyone say anything negative about going through any means necessary to have children. It must be more of a Catholic thing (said with love towards my Catholic friends). I have a dear friend who is Catholic and I love to ask her questions about all things Catholic that I don't know.

But here's something I am wondering, and I hope it's not weird to ask - will the people who get your embroyos pay for them? It just seems like that would be right, as people pay to adopt or do surrogacy. Maybe you've already addressed this and I don't remember?


I also loved this post, and thanks! I wish you worked in my fertility clinic, it takes someone special and amazing to be there! We're about to embark on getting pregnant with #3 and I'm not looking forward to all of the appoinments, needles and trauma that comes from it all. I am looking forward to being pregnant and having a new baby though.
Anyhow I'm grateful for you writing posts like this, because it makes it just a little easier for me to talk about what I go through.


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