Flash forward several years . . .What do you tell your son or daughter who was conceived with some sort of technological assistance about where babies come from, specifically about where he or she came from?As IUI seems more and more to be indicated for us (at least from our layman's perspective) we've been thinking about this question and are in fact having second thoughts about it for this reason. Alethea in particular is troubled by this. She read a poem a mother had written to her child that was a prenatal loss that included the line, "conceived in love," compared that in her mind to, "conceived in a doctor's office" or "conceived in a test tube" and really didn't like the connotations. I myself am wondering where the line between what one can do and what one should and should not do is, much of this technology sure feels like trying to do God's role ourselves.I know we aren't the first people to wrestle with this and would appreciate hearing your experiences and perspectives.Thanks,- Joe
What do you tell your son or daughter who was conceived with some sort of technological assistance about where babies come from, specifically about where he or she came from?As IUI seems more and more to be indicated for us (at least from our layman's perspective) we've been thinking about this question and are in fact having second thoughts about it for this reason. Alethea in particular is troubled by this. She read a poem a mother had written to her child that was a prenatal loss that included the line, "conceived in love," compared that in her mind to, "conceived in a doctor's office" or "conceived in a test tube" and really didn't like the connotations. I myself am wondering where the line between what one can do and what one should and should not do is, much of this technology sure feels like trying to do God's role ourselves.I know we aren't the first people to wrestle with this and would appreciate hearing your experiences and perspectives.Been there, done that. My kids are 12, and when they started to ask about where babies came from, I always asked if they wanted to know where most babies came from or where they came from. They have, in fact, wanted to know both at different times. I have been very upfront about how babies are usually conceived, and I have given them more and more detail over the years depending on their age at the time and what I thought they could understand. Sometimes they have asked additional questions, and sometimes they have stopped at the first one.And then we have talked about where they came from. How Mom and Dad couldn't make a baby the regular way, and we had lots of help. They clearly know how much they were wanted, and they know the details of their conception. They know that Mom had to have lots of shots daily, and that Dad gave some of them, and Mom gave some to herself. They know that there could have been 3 of them because when the GIFT was done, 3 eggs went back. So they pretty much know it all.They also know how they were delivered. I had the first twin naturally, and the 2nd twin by C-section, and no, I don't recommend this particular combination.But as far as the point about 'being conceived in love' vs. being conceived in a doctor's office, I cannot think of any greater love than all that we went through to get them. The mechanics of the actual conception have nothing to do with whether or not we did it in love. Clearly, we did. And as my kids also know, we have always told them that having them is the best thing Mom and Dad have ever done.And by the logic around being conceived, what would you tell an adopted child? They weren't conceived by their parents, but I am absolutely positive they are not loved any less than if they had been. And this is true, I think, whether or not you personally decide to adopt.Sometimes, you have to think a little outside of the box and not be quite so literal.
I dunno, I may get flamed for this; but, here goes. Re: Rosie O'donnell, IMO, God doesn't make mistakes, so I really, intensely dislike that comment!
I myself am wondering where the line between what one can do and what one should and should not do is, much of this technology sure feels like trying to do God's role ourselves.I think this part is intensely personal - something where your own feelings, values, religion, etc, will tell you what to do. But if you decide that more medical intervention is (morally) okay with you, then I don't think there should be a problem sharing this with your children. It's not like telling your kid that you lied, cheated, and stole to get them. 2gift's response to this was great.Obviously, I decided that high-tech assistance was not a moral problem. I'm not worried about what to tell my children, but I admit to being undecided about how much to tell our families. On the one hand, I think this sort of stuff is private. I wouldn't share any details about lovemaking that resulted in conception, so why would I share details about what actually happened? On the other hand, I'm not interested in being or feeling secretive about things, and if we expect to tell our children (which feels right to me), I don't want them to think this is some big secret.The other aspect of this for me (and I feel like this is a delicate subject here) is that IVF results in extra embryos that end up being discarded. The ones that didn't mature enough to warrant freezing probably weren't viable in the first place and shouldn't cause so much upset, but it's entirely possible that some of our frozen embryos will be discarded. This is something that will upset some people - not in my family, but in my husband's family (particularly my MIL). I don't know how much this will come into play when we decide just how much information to share.- Parkway
Wow Parkway! That's a tough one - and new information to me. I bet that is why the Catholic church isn't supportive of ART for the most part.Let me share something that hopefully will help you decide how much to tell and to whom: My nephew (now 22) unfortunately got his teenage girlfriend pregnant and they chose to terminate the pregnancy, which is their business.But my brother (his father) and SIL felt the need to "share their pain" with my mother, who is a devout Catholic who attends church daily and revolves her life around the church, her priest friends, etc. The psychic pain they caused my mother was just so horrible - I still don't know why they let her in on this piece of their private lives. I think they wanted her to finance this, which makes it even worse in my view.Anyway, life would have gone on with no one the wiser if they had kept this to themselves. The pregnancy would have resulted in my mom's first great-grandchild - a loss which only added to her pain. But since they live in the deep South and we live in the Northeast and haven't seen this nephew for 5 or 6 years there was NO NEED to let her in on the details. This was something best kept private or left unsaid.(Please note: I in no way feel that not using your frozen embryos is the equivalent of terminating a viable pregnancy. I am sharing the story to show that your MIL may be pained far beyond what you would expect if she was forced to confront this information.)And since I feel I can share freely on this board - it horrifies me to no end that my stupid, stupid, stupid greedy nephew was too dumb to figure out that MANY couples would have happily paid all the expenses and then some for a healthy white infant.
Thanks, mrsDJB, for the thoughtful and supportive post. That sort of pain is exactly what I'm thinking of when I talk about keeping the IVF side of this private. Although my MIL is pretty much at the opposite end of the religious and political spectrum from me, we share many values and we get along just fine. I am respectful of her point of view, but I normally choose not to raise topics that will end up being divisive. I certainly do not want to cause her pain with this.Because of where everyone lives, I'm not as close to DH's family as he is to mine, and in this particular situation I've told DH that it's up to him how much we share. Of course, it took him over a month to call his folks (whom he dearly loves) to tell them when we got married, so leaving this to him means it's a pretty sure bet that nobody will even know we're pregnant until we show up one year with a baby!BTW, when I signed all of the consent forms for IVF, I OK'ed all of the items about donating extra eggs and extra embryos. However, when I asked the RE's office about it, it sounded like they weren't really in the business of matching donors to recipients. I didn't really dig into it at the time, but there's some overhead to the donation process (physical and psychological tests for the donors), and without the RE office's active support for coordination, I figure this is unlikely to happen.For those who have ethical issues with IVF, I belive GIFT is a great alternative. With GIFT, eggs and sperm are placed into the fallopian tubes and fertilization occurs there, just as it would if all the pieces got there the more usual way. Although there will be extra (unfertilized) eggs that are not transferred back into the woman's body, there will not be leftover embryos.- Parkway
MJ, when we were doing artifical insemination (I think the IUI type), we planned to not discuss it with our children. But then, we didn't discuss it with anyone--no one knew we were doing it except the people at the doctor's office, so it wasn't like anyone else would accidently tell the kid. It was only after we were all done that we started telling people we had done it.On the other hand, IUI still is conceived by Mom and Dad. And it's highly unlikely conception will occur in the doctor's office. The same is true of typical conception--it can occur anywhere for up to 72 (24? some number) of hours afterwards. So it's not like the child couldn't have been conceived at home. How many of us actually know the whole story behing how we were conceived? Frankly, I don't recall my parents ever telling me anything about the moment. At some point in time, I was told how men and women have sex, and how pregnancy occurs. Much later, I began to learn about the other ways sperm and egg can get together. Would it make any difference to know my parents did it one way or another? Probably not. (Excepting, of course, religious reasons, which actually in my case do apply as my religion forbids such medical intervention in conception, but that's a different story.)Selphiras