The April 2009 issue of Self magazine features a four page article about the difficult decision to “selectively reduce multiple embryos.” The problem is, the author left out the voice of those who would never choose that option.
Roxanne Patel Shepelavy wrote the health article titled, “When fertility treatments become frightening” about the risks of multiple births from implantation via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). She included the stories of two women who chose to “selectively reduce” (abort) a few of their embryos in order to protect their own health and the health of the babies they did want to keep. But Shepelavy didn’t include any interviews with women who chose to keep all of the implanted embryos.
To its credit, Self addressed the issue from a moral perspective in telling the story of Kristina. “But it wasn't that simple to Kristina,” Shepelavy wrote. “The daughter of devout Catholics, she had always been pro-life, determined, if she ever got pregnant, to see it through. ‘Abortion was never an option,’ she says. ‘If I accidentally got pregnant, that was it. I'd be the one who put myself in that position and I'd have to go through with it.’ Yet here she was, pregnant by choice and contemplating what, in her mind, amounted to the same thing: getting rid of her babies because they were a health risk and a life unimagined.”
On the advice of doctors, Kristina did abort some of the embryos.
A fully balanced and honest treatment of the moral dilemma would have included the story of a woman who did, because of her beliefs, bring all her babies to term. Shepelavy wrote, “Like Kristina, many equate multifetal reduction with abortion and insist it's wrong to sacrifice one fetus for the sake of another.” If many do believe that, why not produce one to give her perspective?
Again to Shepelavy’s credit, she doesn’t pretend that Kristina’s decision was without consequences. “Three years later, Kristina still wonders what could have been,” Shepelavy wrote. “She never knew if her other babies were girls or boys, never had the chance to name them. But the grueling months spent at the hospital with [her son] finally made one thing clear to her: She did the right thing. ‘To this day, if I knew I could have six healthy babies, I'd have carried them,’ she says. ‘But seeing how sick [her son] was made me realize how tough it could be. I have no regrets.’”
There must be women who chose to give birth to all their babies that also had no regrets. They should have had a voice in the Self article.
Photo via deliberateengagement.wordpress.com