The Line Between Fetus and Child From an IVF Father

Categories: Random Ephemera

fetus1.jpg
I have the ultimate baby picture on my fridge. You can see it above. That's the Daughter With One F when she was just a zygote in an in vitro fertilization doctor's Petri dish. You can actually count how many cells she was at that point. I'm thinking about getting it tattooed on my chest when money is less tight.

In the wake of Wendy Davis' amazing filibuster and the temporary stoppage of Texas Republicans' plans to severely damage the availability of abortions in our state thanks to, for want of a better term, a politically charged flash mob, I spent more time than was strictly healthy debating the nature of abortion with those of my Facebook friends who hold views opposite of mine. My views, by the way, are that abortion should be safe and available, and hopefully rare.

None of those who hunt-and-pecked out emotionally charged comments at me seemed to want to talk about anything but what they considered "baby killing." They even brought up films like 180 Movie (Which compares abortion to the Holocaust) or the old propaganda flick The Silent Scream. To them, a person is a person once semen hits egg and that's that. There is no middle ground.

This is a sore spot for me because this type of thinking would mean my impossibly wonderful miracle of a daughter would just be plain impossible under their rules.

Hair Balls
UPDATED: Wendy Davis's Abortion Filibuster Brings Laughter from Republicans, and History to Capitol

Infertility isn't a fate I would wish on my worst enemy. It's agonizing. It makes you question your worth as a man or a woman on a basic biological level. My wife and I spent three years and more than $10,000 out of pocket trying to overcome various physiological barriers with tests, surgeries, tests, injections, tests, diets, tests, supplements, tests, visits to specialists, tests, and oh yeah tests.

You learn a lot about your reproductive system when it's crap. Here's what I learned. It's all an odds game. Nothing more. Nothing less. Everything is odds. You have to face that reality if you're going to succeed.

The first goal is to get an embryo, and preferably more than one. Odds, remember? The woman spends two weeks stabbing herself in the stomach with a follistim pen, injecting enough hormone into her body to try and get the follicles in her ovaries to drop some eggs than can be fertilized. In our case we got just one, but often you get more.

Then you add semen and see if they fertilize. You try this with all of them in hopes that you'll get enough to work with. If science and nature high-five each other just right, you may have two or four or eight or more little potential children to try and implant.

We only had one, so this question was irrelevant to us, but what do you do with all these lives you've just spent thousands on alchemy to create? You could just ask them to throw the whole lot in you as Nadya Suleman did with her eight. She said she couldn't bear the thought to part with them, though you're not likely to find a doctor that would risk that insanity these days.

You can freeze them if you want to try again down the road, though this has a host of problems. Not all clinics offer the service, and it's expensive to do. Then there are other concerns. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to argue over the ownership of these embryos in divorce court? It's happened.

You can donate them to infertile couples, and that's a noble thing to do. Be prepared to spend the rest of your life looking for mini-you in a crowd of children if you do that. It's really no different than adoption. That's assuming anyone wants the embryos, of course. Other couples are doing the same thing you are for their own biological children, and you may not fit any of the criteria that they want if they fail.

Donating them to science is helpful. They will die if you do that. Ditto if you dispose of them of course. Regardless, this decision will not be made any easier if one day some senator's obnoxious personhood bill gets passed because my point is that even starting the IVF journey means that at some point the basic genetic material of your child is likely to be written off as a loss, even if successful.


My Voice Nation Help
36 comments
endiazherself
endiazherself

I had no idea so much was involved with infertility procedures. Thank you for sharing something so deep and personal. ~E.N.Diaz

ms.melissahunter
ms.melissahunter

Thanks, Jef, for both the science and emotions behind your journey. Definitely get that tat!

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

Thanks for sharing Jef with One F.  Sounds like we were going through the IVF marathon/rollercoaster around the same time.  My son will be 5 in a few months.  There were two feti to begin with.  Unfortunately, one did not make it past 12(?) weeks.  It was awful at the time, thinking of the loss of one and fearing of the loss of the other.  But to look at my son is to forget what was lost.  Thanks again.

Andy Gerard
Andy Gerard

My statements are on morality not legality ,Becci . There is No such thing as safe sex outside of marriage ! Marriage : a Holy union of a Man and Woman , Period !

Andy Gerard
Andy Gerard

I said ," sex outside of marriage is the leading cause of unwanted pregnancy " I did not say it was the only cause ! I know exactly what I talk about and I am very well qualified to speak on the subject because I have No bias from perversions . Because I am not a Woman or a Doctor you think I know nothing of the subject ? If the pregnancy was wanted , then there would be No abortion ! Period ! Every single reason for abortion is based on Lack of Moral Values ! Period ! People have used birth defects as an excuse for terminating already unwanted pregnancys . Some truth is harsh , especially when you try to show it to a carnal minded pervert ! Brandon is not an idiot and your attack on him based on a choice of wordage is just ridiculous ! Especially when you went on to do the same thing . You called pro-life anti-choice ! Why is it okay for you and not for him ? Why do you even speak when you obviously call your self an Idiot ?

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

Further, sex within marriage is also the cause of plenty of abortions, as is rape and incest, danger to the health and safety of the mother, or birth defects of the fetus. Abortions happen to wanted pregnancies too. You're not a woman or a doctor, Andy. And you have no idea what you're talking about. That's why you're an idiot. And so are you, Brendan. Anyone who uses the word "pro-abortion" is an ignorant child. No one is pro-abortion. Anti-choice legislation is anti-woman. You should go do some real research about the true abortion statistics, the effects lack of reproductive choice has on women, the abortion rates in countries with strict abortion laws, and the effects of available birth control and comprehensive sex education on abortion rates. Only when you actually know what you're talking about should you have the right to join in the discussion. Go research all the lies your "pro-life" politicians have told you in order to further their misogynistic agenda too.

Becci Himes
Becci Himes

Andy, if you believe that sex outside marriage is the cause of abortions, then you should be advocating birth control. Sex outside of marriage is not illegal no matter what you think of it. Birth control is more effective at dropping abortion rates than abstinence class.

Amy McMullen
Amy McMullen

It's when you meet it with sperm and it starts to develop!

Andy Gerard
Andy Gerard

To mearly say that I'm an idiot would not make sense even to the speaker without evidence . From where do you get your offensive opinion of me ? Kathy Stable

Bren Ke
Bren Ke

That's kind of a harsh way to put it Andy.. I wouldn't disagree, a really horrible number of abortions happen simply because the father doesn't want to pay child support and he pressures the Mother into it, and then dumps her later.... leaving her with a ton of guilt. That would qualify as a carnal pervert safeguarding his lifestyle in my book. The harshness though isn't the best strategy for helping the women who have had abortions, and then feel trapped, and unforgivable. A lot of people on the Pro-Abortion side are there because they feel that way, and see the Pro-Lifers and judging them. www.HopeAfterAbortion.com reaches out to post abortive mothers. Helps them forgive themselves.

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

Brendan, the article addresses that. Try reading it!

Andy Gerard
Andy Gerard

Conception / Life begins in the womb . You cannot birth / incubate a child without a womb . Abortion advocates do not seem to realize that all abortions happen to unwanted pregnancys . Sex outside of marriage is the leading cause of unwanted pregnancy . The abortion issue is an attempt of carnal minded perverts trying to justify and safeguard their perverse lifestyles .

Jef Withonef
Jef Withonef

I can't believe how many people are willing to share these stories with me. Thank you.

Lea Brice Hougland
Lea Brice Hougland

I've been through two unsuccessful IVF's. The first with two embryos and the second with three. On my second IVF, I got a positive on a home pregnancy test and then that positive turned into a negative a week later. My husband and I had one embryo that was still frozen and decided to have it discarded. It was very difficult but we moved on and adopted a beautiful newborn boy from Louisiana. He is now 4 years old and we love him dearly. Jef's story hits close to home and I understand everything he is saying on a very personal level. It is so very eloquently written. Kudos to you, Jef!

Jessica Byerly
Jessica Byerly

Andy...so since God is omnipotent...dont you think he has enough sense not to put a soul into a body He knows will abort the child? God knows everything. We dont...so all we can do is look at odds whether we believe or not...noone knows Gods mind...even though many like to pretend they do.

Andy Gerard
Andy Gerard

When you put God out of your life everything becomes as Jef Withonef said of himself , " Here's what I learned. It's all an odds game. Nothing more. Nothing less. Everything is odds. You have to face that reality if you're going to succeed. It's odds. Painful, but inarguable odds.It's important to remember that behind every roll of the dice is a story. " To the Carnal Mind , Life is a Game of Chance !

Traci Rogers
Traci Rogers

I guess I'm in the minority hair but congratulations on your baby girl.

Laura L. Jolly
Laura L. Jolly

Congratulations, I wish there were more people that realized that not everything is black and white. This is an inspiring story.

stinapag
stinapag

Thanks for this. I just went through a miscarriage of very wanted twins at nine weeks pregnant. I know all too well how much the first part of pregnancy is potentiality.  


Lori Pire
Lori Pire

Thanks for this article. And congrats on your miracle :-)

WriteBrainer
WriteBrainer

Thank you for sharing this. After countless tests, injections, 14 eggs, nine embryos, three IVF cycles, and eight years later, I am finally expecting my first baby. Infertility takes a major toll on a relationship. I'm glad you and your wife were able to stay together through it. My ex and I were not as fortunate... Thank goodness for the embryo disposition agreement that allowed me to keep them as my "property." Ethical choices may be debated, but the heart and love I have for my child cannot.

Stephanie Davis
Stephanie Davis

Okay if I attend as Mary Jane? I already have red hair. LOL. Sounds like a great kid.

Jef Withonef
Jef Withonef

She'll be four this August, and has decreed that all will attend her birthday party dressed as Spider-Man ;)

Stephanie Davis
Stephanie Davis

Congrats to Jef on the birth of his daughter. Sounds like a hard life to live there for a while, but I'm glad it worked out. Thanks for sharing.

trayharrison
trayharrison

My daughter was just born 4 weeks ago as a result of our 3rd IVF cycle.  After 10 years of trying to conceive and 2 failed IVF cycles, i could relate to your story all too well.  Thanks for sharing.

AwesomeMargie
AwesomeMargie

Thank you.  It's not about baby killing but rather given the choice in case something happens.  Those first 3 months of pregnancy are agonizing.  They were for me.  I prayed and prayed that, if something was wrong, (I was a high risk pregnancy) that I have the strength to make the tough choice of whether to spare my child or decide to raise them with all the challenges.  I don't think I relaxed those 12 weeks.  It was only after everything came back fine and with the go-ahead from my OB did I share my news.  My son will be 1 in a month.  

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

Jef, I'm left speechless by your story. Thank you for sharing it.

Every time the anti-choice crowd starts ridiculing Davis about how she must love killing babies, or ridiculing women who "can't seem to decide before the 20 week mark" I want to scream. My best friend would be dead today if she didn't have the choice to safely abort in the 2nd trimester. The baby's fatal heart defect + her auto-immune disease left her few choices; the fetus could not survive, and if she continued her risk of death increased with every week. She made the hardest decision I've ever witnessed another person make (along with her husband, utilizing medical--not political--advice), but she's alive today and her now 7-year-old daughter is, I am certain, grateful to have a living mother.

Everyone wants fewer abortions. But "our" way--safe, legal abortion + education + affordable, accessible contraception/health care--means healthy mothers and children; their way means more Dr. Gosnells. It's a sad state of affairs.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard Per my comment above, I am of the opinion that legislation like this increases, rather than decreases, the chances of a Gosnell situation.

Further, while it's obviously preferable that women don't use abortion as birth control, it's none of my business--or anyone else's--if they do. "Medically necessary" becomes more ideal the further along in the gestational cycle, however no one needs to be involved in a medical decision outside of me and my doctor. That goes as much for 4 weeks as 8 or 12 or 16 or 20.

"Medically necessary" is "always the excuse"? Plenty of women have had medically unnecessary--i.e., no danger to fetus or mother--abortions and haven't felt the need to throw out an "excuse" to justify their decision. Nor should they feel the need to do so. In the case of my friend, she'd already almost died once as a result of her auto-immune disorder, and then risked her life to have her first child. I was grief-stricken when she was faced with the decision she made, but ultimately relieved that she made it.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Health & Beauty

General

Houston Event Tickets
Loading...