"Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say."
"Always look on the bright side of life?"
"No, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.'"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Ripped from the headlines..." L & O: SVU

I will admit, I have a few guilty pleasures when it comes to television. I love Law and Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, Numbers, Without a Trace, Medium, and the like. One of my favorite things about the police/legal shows are the "ripped from the headlines" episodes. The poetic license is so funny sometimes.

Anyway, last night SVU was a bit painful to watch. There was a theft of a cryogenic tube that houses 100 frozen embryos. One of the comments made was, "If there ever was a special victim, they are it."

Unfortunately, the show ends badly and the tube is found a few hours too late. The couple who stole it wanted to be charged with murder (extreme right-to-life group that advocates adoption only of frozen embryos) instead of grand larceny. The lawyer wanted it to be petty larceny because there is no way to sell human cell and say they are worth thousands of dollars. Of course the argument was that these women and couples spend $10K on these eggs. It was countered with, the procedures are $10K not the embryos.

This got me thinking, how would I feel if I spent my life savings on those little embryos and someone destroyed they for a political message? Would I too want to take their life since they took the life of my child? Better yet, was it child? (I say yes, but it is a fine line and hairy debate). So I ask DH, is is murder?

  • DH: "It is a slippery slope. If you say that life happens at conception, then yes. If you believe that life starts at the heart beat or at first breath, then no."
  • Me: "Well what do you think?"
  • DH: "Life starts at conception.
  • Me: "What constitutes conception? A women can have an egg fertilized every month and it never implant. HCG doesn't show up in your system until it implants. So are the dividing cells conception or is implantation conception?"
  • DH: "I don't know. That is why I say it is a slippery slope. I am still not sure that IVF isn't playing God, hun."

Well, I guess I know where we stop then. I don't agree with him that IVF is playing God. How many egg do not fertilize or grow passed a certain point in the petri dish? Is that not any different then an egg not implanting? Now, I do have a bit of an issue when it comes to taking out what a doc considers a genetic dud (example: The RE on SVU refused to implant an embryo in a dwarf couple even though genetically it was perfect, except for it would have been a little person. He said it wasn't right to scar a child by being disabled. The mother, a LP, said that height is not a disability.). At the same time, a couple that has to genetic mutations in there system may choose differently. But then, if a dear friend's parents has done IVF and found out about a congenital disease, would they have chosen not to keep that egg? Then the world would have missed out on a beautiful, sweet, and caring person. (I know my life is blessed to have them in it.)

There are so many questions and I don't have answers. I know if I had the money, I would move on to IVF in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. I know in my heart that I want to do all I can to have a child. I have to respect my husband's desires, too. And that is where I will struggle if we are not able to conceive.

So, I have a question, has anyone else gone through this, what did they do to overcome it or did they just resign themselves to no children? I am just trying to weigh all my options passed IUI.

Thank girls.


VA Blondie said...

Here is how we arrived at our decision for IVF...

We had about two rounds of IUI, a couple of months apart. Through the IUI we discovered how serious our male factor issues are. He has poor morphology (0-1% normal forms.) After the first IUI, our RE told us that IVF with ICSI was our best chance at getting pregnant.

In dicsussing our options with Hubby, he was hit very hard with the male factor infertility we have. It was diifficult for him to talk about, at first. But he did say something which, I think, decided us. He knew that with IVF I would end up with most of the poking and prodding. He felt like most of the reason we were not getting pregnant was probably him. He would understand if I wanted to do IUI with donor sperm, but he told me that it is very important for him to have to have a child of his own. I can understand that. He wanted to pass on his genetic legacy to the next generation. So we are not doing anything until we can afford IVF.

Donor sperm would likely be cheaper, but IVF allows hubby to pass on his genetic legacy. IVF is something I can do for Hubby.

I mourn the loss of a natural conception. Our child will likely be concieved in a test tube in an andrology lab. We will not love our child any less, but I will miss out on concieving in the bedroom, an dbeing surprised at a missed period. I have learned to separate sex from making babies. I see sex now as a connection to Hubby, not as a way to make babies. In some ways that is very freeing, we do not have to worry about timing sex, we can play again, it does not have to be serious.

For the time being, I have put away the BBT thermometer, and waiting. I hate waiting, but that seems to be where I am at right now.

andrea_jennine said...

We did 3 rounds of IUI, and then two cycles of IVF/ICSI - but we only chose to have a few eggs fertilized because of those same concerns about when life begins and freezing embryos. It was a very hard decision for us, so I understand where you and your husband are coming from. I won't go into all the details here, but e-mail me if you have questions about the specifics of our thought process and procedures. andrea_jennine AT yahoo.com

xavier2001 said...

After 5 iui's (one ending in m/c) we just knew in our hearts that we could not do anymore. In terms of moving to ivf, I wrestled with it more than DH. We ended up discussing our concerns (mainly regarding the use of embryos, moment of conception, etc.)with the RE and made a few modifications that helped things to sit a little better with me ethically. We decided that we would do a 3 day vs. 5 day transfer so that any embryo would have a fighting chance vs. fizzling out while waiting to become a blast. We also insisted that the RE freeze anything that fertilized and made a commitment to ourselves that we would go back and transfer any frozen embryos that we have left. We have 7 (but only 2 good quality) that we will someday go on to use. It is a tough decision, and ultimately you have to feel in your heart what is right for you.

And as an aside, I was very frustrated with that episode, it showed all the "out there" and "absurd" facets of infertilty vs. the regular, ordinary couple, which gives the general public the wrong idea about what infertility truly is.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to your dilemma Tammy...I grew up as a p.k. (pastor's kid) and dh is a youth minister, so God is very important to us. I remember like it was yesterday the day we met with the urologist and he said ivf was probably our only option and we needed to find an re, and thinking--can we do that?? Dh and I talked about it alot, because we both believe conception starts the moment the egg and sperm start dividing, and knew that we had to be careful about what we did. We decided that we would move forward with ivf and make sure any embryos would be given a fighting chance at life. All frozen embryos will either be put in me, or donated to someone who needs them. Our clinic automatically donates them to science if something happens to both us, so it will be put in our will that my sister will retain guardenship of the embryos if that were the case, so we make sure our wishes are carried out. This is getting long, so one last thought, last night at Bible study we were talking about the passage in Jeremiah that God talks about knowing us before we were formed in the womb, and I have to believe that God knew each and every one of our embryos the moment they were created in the petri dish and was taking care of them from that point on, just like what would happen naturally in our bodies.
Sarah (chuckandsarah)
P.S. We were due last Weds. and set to induce on Monday. Thanks for asking...it seems like it has been forever :)