Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This has me up in arms. Tell me I am not alone here. I'm like, 5 kinds of annoyed by this.

What does the general public think when they heard this? It's easy to have higher order- multiples? Fertility treatments do this to people? It just misinforms so many people on so many levels.

Media treatment of the story: It's all the "happy ending" crap. No real talk of the risks. No mention of all the other higher-order pregnancies that didn't make it. The fact that these are only the 2nd in history to be born alive should tell ya something about the level of risk. But no, let's just gloss over that.

No mention of how they got pregnant with multiples. Of course, we all assume it was ART but why not say so and what procedure? Not to be voyeuristic but because these are important factors that the public should understand.

Leads to judgment of people doing ART. Ok so 99% of the public will think this is due to IVF. When anyone with any knowledge of infertility realized it was probably an IUI. Again with misinformation. "Yes, I did IVF. No, I am not at risk of having 5 babies at once." I think it does lead to the general public having a bad impression of IVF. There have already been a few state attempts to restrict IVF practices. This type of irresponsible case prompts legislators to get on a high horse against legitimate IVF procedures and the general public to agree.

Medical malpractice. OK this is where I really hit the ceiling. What kind of Dr. goes ahead with an IUI when there are at least 8 mature follicles? He/She should have their license revoked. Unless you are proven to be a person with really low egg quality, going forward with more than 3 or 4 follicles is medically negligent. I realize I do not have all the information to say this. I'm just going on what is the most likely scenario because as stated above, they have not released any information on how the children were conceived. So I feel free to speculate.

Parental negligence #1: As a patient you have the responsibility to understand your treatment. You are no longer making decisions for yourself you are making them for your future children. And right off the bat you made a decision that puts your children at significant risk. Remember, only the 2nd in history to be born alive.

Parental Negligence #2: Ok here is where I get controversial but it's my blog so if you disagree go write your own post. I'm not pro-reduction. That silly. Nobody is pro-reduction but it has a legitimate medical purpose. If one is opposed to reduction then why on earth would you allow yourself to be inseminated with so many follicles? If you don't want a reduction then you should not put yourself in the position of carrying more children than is medically safe.

Effects how people think about reduction: There are woman who have chosen to reduce for various reasons. I imagine all of them were medically necessary and not done as a lark or becasue it was convenient. For each and every one of them it was an agonizing decision. I can imagine that this case makes their decision even harder. I can imagine a couple suddenly doubting their decision. I can imagine the general public judging people who choose reduction based on this one, statistically anomalous case.

I guess that is 8 kinds of annoyed. (I swear I didn't plan that...it's just how it turned out.

I think the RE (or OB) who got her pregnant and the parents themselves are the most at blame but I also blame the media for making this a feel-good story. Yes, they all survived the birth but I find the whole thing socially irresponsible. I realize that the parents have every right to make these decisions for themselves and are under no obligation to explain them to me or anyone else. But their actions have an impact beyond their own family.

Of course, I am happy for the parents and amazed at the Drs. who cared for her and delivered these babies. If I ever have a high risk pregnancy I know who to call. I'll be hoping those 8 tiny babies make it through the many, many hurdles they have ahead of them.

That, to me, is the most annoying thing about this story. It becomes a 30 second news story while these babies have a battle ahead of them. Perhaps a life long battle. Yes, they were born alive and are doing better than expected but anyone who knows anything about premature babies knows how quickly all that can change. I'm certainly keeping them in my prayers.

And I hate to end this on a snarky note but I can't help wondering what their reality show will be called.


Bean said...

I don't have much to add except to say that I couldn't agree more!

Mermaid said...

I totally agree! You are as fired up as I am about this. Only comment I have is that it could have been a case where the IUI was called off b/c of too many follicles, but they took it upon themselves to make it happen anyway, against doctor's specific instructions and warnings. I suspect that is the case because these people are so irresponsible and selfish. It is appalling.

Lorraine said...

It's getting to the point where having "just" one baby at a time is totally passe. Twins are so common nobody really thinks twice (ha!) about that either.

I think the Jon and Kate show, with their six kids who seem perfectly normal, is probably the worst - it's infiltrated into pop culture, there are seemingly no medical consequences and you get to be on TV! Yay!

Elana Kahn said...

I also agree. No matter what, the doctor was negligent. She may not have been follicularly monitored regardless of whether it was IUI or natural w/ meds. There are doctors who will give someone clomid (even high doses) and monitor only bloodwork to see when ovulation will happen. Some doctors might give a prescription for clomid and then not monitor at all (not usually an RE). Who knows what her situation is, but I agree that it was handled inappropriately by everyone involved. My RE almost converted my first IUI to an IVF because he thought there might be too many follicles (like 4). The public needs so much more information about this couple before they make judgements, but we all know that won't happen.

BagMomma said...

I wholeheartedly agree with each and every point.

It all irks me to no end, ALL of it. The Jon & Kate scenario is an exception to the rule when normal people and doctors make very bad decisions.

I can comfortably say this would be a situation in which I would have never found myself. I find it highly selfish, and BOO! on the media for making it seem like a sing songy fairytale ending.


Anonymous said...

As someone who chose to have a reduction of quads in order to try to save twins (the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life), I agree wholeheartedly about what stories like this do to people like me. I was told yesterday, "See, if she had 8 you could have easily had 4"
which couldn't have been further from the truth.

PJ said...

I just want ONE dammit! It's so unfair!

Ophelia said...

Preach on Sista!

Humans weren't meant to have litters! If we were, don't you think we'd all be popping out 3-8 kids at a time?!

The media is all about "8 babies" and what a miracle it is that they all survived... if a few had died, it would be considered this great tragedy... BUT WHO'S FAULT WOULD IT HAVE BEEN?!?!! The media would paint it as this sad event and cite statistics about multiple births and how some babies just don't make it... BUT WHY IS THAT? And how irresponsible are the doctors and parents in this case that they'd even go forward with a fertility treatment knowing that such a high order of multiples is possible? Why would you risk bringing lives into this world that you know could put into immediate jeopardy?! WTF man?!

Think McFly! THINK!

To A T said...

I agree! It's completely irresponsible of both the docs and the parents! WTF is wrong with people?
I am grateful that all these babies made it into the world safely and alive, but I worry about the road ahead for them...

Peeveme said...

Dear Anon,

I will never, never doubt that what you did saved your babies. I hope you are able to believe that.

And my response top the person who said such a stupid thing to you would have been: "Are you fucking kidding me? You did not just say that to me. I'm going to do you a favor and forget you ever said that. You, on the other hand, should be forever haunted by guilt over what you just said to me."

And then I's close with a hearty, "F*ck off you clueless,hurtful prick"

Feel free to use that next time.

Anonymous said...

Next time someone dares say something like that to me, I'm going to use your quote! It's much better than me actually trying to justify to them why I did what I did. Sadly, though, it didn't save my twins. I developed a staph infection from the reduction procedure, which eventually caused pre-term labor. So it's really hard not to second guess my decision even without stupid people's comments. Those who have never dealt with infertility just don't have a clue.
Thanks for your rant. It sure helps to know I'm not the only one who had that reaction to the "8 baby" news!

jodie38 said...

Abso-f'in-lutely. I second everything you just said. And when they're reality show comes out, I won't watch it either.

Peeveme said...

Oh Anon ,
I'm so sorry. The misery just keeps on coming. Sometimes there is no decision that will make it all work out. You just make the best decision yo can make at the time. I don't think carrying quads would have had a good outcome either.

the Babychaser: said...

I had a similar reaction when I saw this on the news (and quickly changed the channel).

You know, it never occurred to me that it was IUI, but that makes so much more sense! When I saw the news bit, I told J that I couldn't understand how someone could have so many embryos transferred if there was any chance they would all survive.

And I'm pro-reduction, too. As far as my personal choices go, any more than three is too many. And I really think three is too many, but I'm not sure the risk/benefit there is in favor of reduction. I'm assuming reduction is risky to the entire pregnancy, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

That's exactly how I rationalize it. I did the best that I could at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I'm one of those lurkers who really enjoys following your blog (and many, many others), but I hate writing so I don't have my own. It helps alot to know that other people going through the same struggles feel the same things. No matter how much your family/fertile friends try to understand, they just can't get it. Thanks for your frankness and your humor!