Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The IVF backlash has begun

From Tim Rutten's Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times today:

"When the Nadya Sulemans of the world say, as she has in interviews, that they undergo these extreme, invasive, unpleasant, uncertain and expensive medical procedures because they "want children," that isn't really the case. If what people want is children...there are tens of thousands of children in our country and perhaps millions more abroad waiting for adoption. Thousands of others in our country are waiting for foster care.

The impulse that has made fertility medicine such a large and lucrative specialty in American medicine is about something other than children; it's about the narcissistic assumption that one is "entitled" to "the experience" of childbearing and, more to the point, the notion that, somehow, if your particular strands of DNA don't live on into another generation, the species will be poorer for it.That sense of entitlement and its enabling delusion are about a lot of things -- but none of them really involve children."

Now, I cringe at Nadya Suleman and her situation, but reading this op-ed, equating her actions with those of every woman struggling with infertility, infuriates me.

Infertiles, what say you about Mr. Rutten's words?

Feeling selfish? Entitled? Chock full of narcissistic assumptions? Because really, if we can't conceive children without medical assistance, we should just adopt, right?

Please leave your thoughts below - narcissistic, entitled, and otherwise.


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  1. Just adopt? There are millions of kids? Where? In the 1970s we had 4 children and decided to adopt a child who needed a home. We went through the adoption home study. We were approved. We told them we were willing to take a child who was bi-racial and/or who had medical issues and/or who was up to age 10. Guess what? No children who matched that description were available either in Tennessee where we lived nor were any available through the interstate compact. Most of the targeted population was born before Roe v. Wade therefore there should have been a lot of kids. There weren't. They offered us sibling groups where more than one of the siblings had disabilities like mental retardation. We felt we could not burden our other children and in the end did not adopt.

    And yes, the article you quoted makes my blood boil.

  2. I despise this view point, as if it has anything to do with narcissim - do they have any idea how hard it is to adopt? I have friends who have been through not 1 not2 but 3 attempts to adopt AND the birth mother backs out after all her expenses are covered.


  3. Why are we any more selfish than people who screw their husbands and have a baby naturally? I would argue that those folks are just as selfish as us. They could choose to abstain from sex and adopt as well.

    And, by the way, adoption isn't that easy. People aren't just giving babies away...

  4. WOW.

    From the LAT website: "Rutten is married and has two children."

    Unless both of these kids are adopted, I don't want to hear it.

  5. He obviously knows nothing about the difficulties of adoption. I have walked the path of international adoption - they don't make it easy for prospective adoptive parents. I had to forfeit my adoption after 13 months of waiting so that I could marry. If I hadn't done that, I'd still be waiting as the wait has grown to three years in China.

    He is a jerk. He doesn't know what he's talking about at all.

  6. P.S. I loath the LA Times. Cancelled my subscription last year, and they still call begging me to resubscribe. Only thing it's good for is lining hamster cages!

  7. After weeks of letting this whole octuplet fiasco get my blood boiling, I am now thinking about contacting every single journalist I know and begging them to do a piece on the thousands of sane rational women that use ART or perhaps the thousands of accredited and reputable health care professionals that are REs and Fertility Specialists. I am so tired of the sensationalism that has gone unchecked.

    AND I am also adopting (pun intended) the stance that unless you are adopted, have adopted children or are attempting to adopt, I refuse to have that "just adopt" conversation with you. Like Elle said, I don't want to hear it.

  8. Oooh! Oooh! There's a baby McDonald's? Can I get one through the drive through? I had NO IDEA IT WAS SO EASY! And here I am, all those years of fertility treatments, heartbreaking miscarriages, and timed (and let's face it, not super fun) sex. Multiple HSGs, multiple IUIs, multiple IVFs, blood draws, blood draws, blood draws until my left arm is so scarred it has no usable veins for b/w anymore.

    Damn. And I still don't have a baby. Just a broken heart. I feel so narcissistic. So stupid. Who knew it was so easy all the time? I just had no idea....

    Thank god that asshat is around to enlighten all of us narcissists.

    - J

    PS - I'm not a violent person - quite the opposite - but sometimes, you know.... I think if I met people like this in person, I really would just haul off and slap them..... Just sayin' is all.

  9. This is sickening! How about all the fertiles who pop out babies when they wish to (and even TIME their conception to suit their own fancies) - don't they act in an entitled, selfish way!

    Sometimes it's just best to ignore crap like this because there is no way we can make the general public understand what it is to be in the shoes of an infertile person - desperate enough to be willing to poke her body with hormones again and again and again for that one hope of having her own child some day.

    Just adopt - yeah right! Why don't fertile people adopt? Why is it our responsibility to adopt those "millions of children" out there. Come on!!

  10. Ok so my DNA is inferior when I have a JOB, a phd, I am normal weight and otherwise healthy when an jerk can get knocked up (ie crack whores?) Do I have inferior DNA to crack whores!? Wow the person who wrote this is an idiot. We are all not crazy and on welfare like the octuplet lady... sorry I don't want to go through the process of adoption which is expensive and invasive to get a chance at a cast off. To me not adopting is a money (it does work out cheaper for me to do IVF since I had insurance for a while) and PRIVACY and knowing what my child was exposed to from the very beginning so I guess control too.

    Wow. We should all stop reading the news. There was a thing on newsweek about the history of high order multiples and they were noting that each couple used IVF when they in fact used IUIs and have said so. No research just wildly inaccurate statements.

    When I am fabulously wealthy I am going to start an off the grid commune for infertile people.

  11. Blech. Disgusting.

    I'm taking my entitled selfish ass straight up to the clinic in the morning and cancelling this whole shebang. I'm on my way to pick up one of those free and readily available adoption babies after all.

    Pu-leeze. I'm amazed at the ignorance in the world.

  12. i saw this article earlier today. so upsetting and so oblivious to the world of infertility.

  13. Oh yea like adoption is so quick and easy. Anyone can do it...This just makes my blood boil!! I knew this was going to happen as soon as the info came out about this woman. Now everyone that struggle with IF is equal to this looney toon. It is RIDICULOUS! Why is it selfish to want to have your own child? This could only be a though from some person that has no trouble. Like a previous commenter...Why don't they adopt? Isn't it selfish for them to have their own baby when so many need to be adopted. STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!

  14. This article infuriated me- on so many levels...I cringe each and every time I read an article about that women's desire for "more children"....SIGH!!!

  15. Excuse my language:
    But Holy F#ck.

    That's all I've got to say.

  16. I am stunned, disguisted and without rational words.

    What is even more disturbing were all the "amen", "spot on" comments to this asshole's article. I had to stop reading.

    My jaw is still dropped.

  17. My comeback: because I'd rather have a dr up my crotch than a social worker up my ass.

    Okay, I've never actually used that comeback, but someday ...

  18. I wrote the following comment for the New York Times article, "Questions Grow for Fertility Clinics"

    I totally agree with #14. I think the journalists who write articles on infertility are clueless about reproductive sciences. The comments also show the lack of sympathy and ignorance that most people have when they think of infertile couples.

    American health care is the most expensive in the world. According to the WHO, per capita health care expenditure in the United States was $6347 in 2005. The best way to reduce health care cost is to make sure everyone is born with the perfect health. But then nobody should ever be allowed to be born at all, because no one is born with the perfect genes. Even someone who is born with the perfect genes, it does not guarantee that person will never be sick. In science, we know how unpredictable life is. The fact that genotypes do not equal phenotypes, meaning that sometimes a patient has the gene for that particular disease, but that patient can be perfectly normal and has no symptoms for that disease. We can never know for sure which baby is going to be healthy.

    Obviously, Ms. Suleman’s case is bizarre. I think most infertile couples are not like her. If you have not gone through infertility, you have no right in judging the decisions made by infertile couples.

    I know how crazy infertility clinics are. In a lot of these clinics, the doctors are not even certified reproductive endocrinologists. Therefore, there is a huge gap in the quality of care and treatment outcomes between the best infertility clinics and the average clinics. For anyone seeking infertility treatment, please check out your clinic’s success rate on the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology’s website -

    Some of you may not believe this, but the best infertility clinics truly have the most gifted and caring physicians and scientists in the world. I don’t think a qualified reproductive endocrinologist would transfer 8 embryos in a mother to increase the success rate. The success rate depends on the experience and training of the reproductive endocrinologists and embryologists, and the patient’s prognosis. Putting in a lot of low quality embryos does not always result in pregnancy.

    I do agree with a lot of you that infertility clinics should be more regulated because a lot of them are not following the protocols and guidelines for the safety of the mothers and babies.

    Let’s hope that there will be more progress in terms of ethics, regulations and scientific advances in reproductive sciences.

  19. I think some of you should share your thoughts online with other fertile couples, such as leaving a comment on "Questions Grow for Fertility Clinics"

    It is not fair that the society has these wrong stereotypes on infertile couples who seek infertility treatments, and we should speak up.

  20. Hi. I had a creepy interaction today and needed to change blogs. Transitioning to a new site that I don't want to publish on my blog:


    i know! don't get me started!!! arg.

  21. Maybe Mr. Rutten wants to find a way for each of us to raise the $30,000 and navigate the variety of complex paths of adoption for us. He is clearly such an altruist, having come up with this naive fantasy in which each of us somehow eliminate our innate desire to have children (which he clearly couldn't do himself, not that he tried) and save the world instead (apparently by going to steal a child since he never mentions lawyers and the exchange of money involved in this "selfless" process). I think his extrapolation of the Suleman story to apply to every single woman who goes through infertility is clear evidence of a small and simple mind. Too bad newspapers are going out of business -- I don't know who else on earth would care to pay him for his baseless rants.

  22. I wonder if the author of this article is himself a father...and, if so, did HE adopt? Or was he narcissistic enough to want to have his own genetic child.

    Just sayin'

    BTW I am an adoptive-mother and it's not "JUST" adopt.


  23. People who have not coped with infertility have NO clue how it feels!!! I for one had decided not to pursue IVF, but that was a personal choice! Why is it so bad to want to be pregnant? If science provides a solution, why should'nt we use it? So i guess people taking treatment for cancer feel entitiled to LIVE?

  24. That piece was complete and utter crap, pigeon-holing everyone who has ever suffered infertility!!! Yes so maybe we do feel "entitled" to procreate and why shouldn't we? Just because we cannot get ourselves free babies like most of the world does not mean we are simply self-centered narcissists. It means only that we desire to have what so many people enjoy, which is the joy carrying a child and later parenting that child. Adoption is a wonderful, honorable, admirable option for so many but it is not for everyone. How dare Mr. Ruttan judge us for wanting the experience of having a child? Who is he to decide which path is right for us?

    Ms. Suleman has really screwed all those seeking reproductive assistance but that doesn't mean anyone has the right to judge all of us as a whole.

    Thanks for letting us all vent about this infuriating article!!!!!

  25. this reminds me of that NY times article and drives me just as crazy

    I blogged about it

  26. He's lucky he's already got children of his own, because what he needs is his balls cut off so he too could "just adopt." What a presumptuous ass.

  27. Blaaaaaagh!

  28. These types of comments are a dime a dozen, always made by someone who has never experienced infertility and usually has biological (note not adopted) children of their own. I doubt that any of folks ever put aside their narcissistic tendancies and sense of entitlement prior to having their own children and instead elected the "easy" choice of adoption. It's probably not worth pointing out that the "Nadya Sulemans" of the world can be counted on one hand.

  29. I know I felt so entitled to several injections a day. Bring it on!

    I wish people would stop equating adoption with other infertility treatments. They're not the same, they never were the same, it's an entirely different emotional investment.

    I hate that octuplet mom.

  30. Suleman is giving all infertile women (and couples) a bad name. Yes, there is something romantic about the idea of mingling my genes with my husband's. But the reason I want to be a mom has little if anything to do with that. And has Rutten ever researched the costs of adopting? Not just the financial costs, but the emotional ones as well when you consider birth-moms who change their minds and the competition among wanna-be parents over newborns, or the emotional issues that an adopted child deals with in their new family? If insurance covered the cost of adopting, I'd move it up the list... before egg donation or surrogacy, probably. But I don't see how wanting to nurture and care for a person from before they take their first breath can be construed as narcissistic. It's always a right-wing fertile who seems to have the loudest opinion about reproduction.

  31. Oh my gosh! He got it right! I've been wondering about these feelings, and now I know what they are.
    I think I'll just forgo an acutal adoption, and just get one of those kids who lives in a garbage dump--only $.55 a day! Think of all the money I'll have left over to indulge my narcissistc vain wishes!
    Asshole. Jeeze. Why dont' they ask some real IVF paiteints and then form an opinion.


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