Slate has short reviews of two books that deal with the unspoken or unregulated implications of fertility treatments: Liza Mundy's Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World and Peggy Orenstein's more experiential Waiting For Daisy, which has a subtitle too long to print here. Even if I keep typing randomly right here, it still takes up less room than the subtitle. Still. Even still. Eve- anyway.
The gist of Mundy's book seems to be regulation, research, and objective, informed counselling are needed in the IVF industry. Orenstein, meanwhile, sheds light on the distorting effects of the TTC process:
(One doctor tells Mundy that fertility patients are more motivated than cancer patients.) Therein lies the complication: It's not easy to be clearheaded about life-altering decisions—and ask hard-nosed questions of your doctors—when the emotional stakes are so high. Then there's the financial calculus, which pushes patients toward wringing the most out of every fertility treatment. IVF cycles typically cost about $12,000, and only a handful of states mandate insurance coverage. So, when a doctor asks a patient, 10 minutes before the embryo transfer, whether she wants to implant two or three or four embryos—and she's recently taken out a second mortgage to fund her pregnancy attempts—it's pretty tempting to choose the greatest number of embryos, thereby upping the odds of pregnancy, but also the risk of twins, triplets, and quadruplets.Hmm. If that's the way these things really go down, then there's a huge problem. But it would seem to me that a lot/most people who pursue fertility treatments would discuss it for months and do piles of research and thinking about it beforehand. And that decisions about harvesting and transfer [not implanting, Slate, that's different] don't happen on the fly. And what decision would you take anyway? To NOT increase your chances of implantation? Especially if the next step is deciding about selective embryo culling.
Where was that article about the mom going ahead with triplets, who said that she saw twinges of regret in the eyes of every parent of twins who looked at her because they went the easy way and culled, but she'd toughed it out and kept all the embryos? Maybe what needs more counselling is the fertility industry book industry.