Politics, Religion, and IVF

As I've mentioned at least a few times before, infertility sucks.  It makes so many aspects of life much more difficult.  I feel fortunate, however, that when it came time to decide whether to move forward and how far to go, we were able to make our decision without any personal conflicts, such as religious or family objections. I know a number of couples who belong to religious faiths that prohibit use of ART (assisted reproductive technology).  While some of the couples elected to abide by that prohibition, others decided to move forward.  Some spoke with their clergy members, others did not.  Ultimately, decisions about fertility are uniquely personal.  Each couple makes the best decision they can based on their own situation.  And, regardless of the decision they make, they deserve to be supported.

This doesn't happen in the real world.  In fact, even when couples are successful and achieve their heart's desire--pregnancy--people sometimes still give them crap about the choices they made because it ran counter to the decision that person would have made.  For example, there was a woman at my workplace who told me that both my pregnancy and my child were "an abomination."  Now, I'm no expert in other people's faiths, but, at least as I understand it, children are always considered a gift from God, regardless of the manner of conception.  Even children conceived by rape or incest are beloved by God.  How anyone could judge a child based on how it was conceived it beyond me.  But, my personal experience very clearly illuminated to me that people do make such judgments.  Sadly, it is people like this who keep those suffering from infertility in the closet, preventing them from receiving the support they desire and deserve.  Infertility is hard enough without being berated every step of the way.

However, difficult as this may be, there are people who are attempting to make it impossible by making IVF illegal.  Now, I understand advocating for your own personal beliefs.  What I have a problem with is politicians, who are supposed to represent everyone, including those who hold different beliefs, who, instead, seek to impose their personal beliefs on everyone.  If a couple feels strongly against using IVF, then they should not use it.  They should not, however, be in the position to make that decision for other couples.  Making IVF illegal will destroy many couple's only hope at having a child.

Now, there are those who believe that adoption should be utilized, rather than IVF.  Here's the thing.  Adoption is not the fix-all panacea that people make it out to be.  This is not to say that it isn't a wonderful thing.  I know many people who have successfully adopted or placed children for adoption.  It is absolutely an option for becoming a parent.  However, it is neither equivalent to, nor a replacement for, IVF.  Prospective adoptive parents have to first jump through hoops to prove that they are better than many parents out there before they are even given the chance to be considered.  You can't do it, you're out, regardless of how amazing you would be as parents.  Then, they have to sell themselves to birth parents, hoping to be picked.  If they can't convince anyone to give them their child, they are out of luck.  Once they have been selected by the birth parents, they spend thousands of dollars on medical care for the birth mother, but still there is no guarantee.  Sometimes, birth mothers decide at the last minute to keep their children.  Now, the couple is out thousands of dollars and yet, remains childless.  Worse, there are women who deliberately mislead couples in order to receive medical care during pregnancy, although they actually have no intention of giving up their child.  This happened to a friend of mine, twice, and she was working with a reputable agency.  So, I reject the proposition that adoption is an adequate or acceptable solution if IVF is made illegal.

Furthermore, there are people who are just unwilling to raise a child that isn't biologically theirs.  I don't see any reason to deny these people the opportunity to be parents by outlawing the only viable method they have.  In light of the increased politicization of this issue, it will certainly inform how I will vote this election.  And I urge you to get informed about the positions advocated by your candidate of choice and make sure they align with your own.

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