News Abortion

The “Elective” Selective Reduction

Robin Marty

In general, I have no issue with selective reduction during IVF.  But this article even made me pause for a moment.

Anyone who spends a lot of time researching infertility and its treatments has at some point waded into the controversy surrounding selective reduction.  Whether it’s the doctor who implants three or more embryos during in vitro fertilization, just hoping to improve the odds that one will implant, or the over-stimulation of eggs during an intrauterine insemination that results in the cases of sextuplets or octuplets that never make the news, any woman undergoing treatment knows about the possibility of more embryos or fetuses than she hoped, and the likely need to reduce via abortion in order to make for a greater chance for a healthier pregnancy that will result in full term, healthy babies.

The possibility of needing abortion, just like the possibility or failure, or of miscarriage, is always in the back of a woman’s mind.

So it doesn’t bother me per se to read an article about a woman who is choosing to abort one twin, despite both fetuses being healthy and the result of round after round of fertility treatments.

That is, until I read this section:

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“Things would have been different if we were 15 years younger or if we hadn’t had children already or if we were more financially secure,” she said later. “If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.”

If she had gotten pregnant on her own, she would have been willing to keep both twins, but since it was already “so consumerish” she didn’t feel like the same “rules” applied?  I find it hard to wrap my head around the idea that someone would abort a twin just because of the way the pregnancy was conceived.  If you feel that it was somehow part of the “natural order” for twins without intervention, why would medical assistance change that mindset?

Am I overreacting?  Maybe I’m alone in this?  Let me know in the comments.

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