Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Very Definition of Irony

tradition, traditional, octuplets, ethics, ethical, medical, prop 8, religion, religious, conservative, christian, ivf, embryo

The bigotsphere has been running around like my dog with a bag over his head (see above) concerning the woman who underwent IVF resulting in octuplets, even though she already had 6 children and was single.

At first, it was "look at this brave warrior for life who refused selective abortions". Then, "oh wait, she's single . . . that's bad."(see the comments section in the very same post. these people will turn on you like rabid wolverines on meth.) Now that the media is questioning the ethics of implanting that many embryos into a single woman who already has 6 children, it's "how dare you deny some poor woman a medical procedure?"

First of all, this isn't really our business, now is it? I think it is unethical to implant that many embryos into anyone because of the very real medical dangers involved. Also, the only reason anyone ever implants that many embryos is because they think most of them won't take- this is reasonable in the case of an infertile woman, especially an older, infertile woman.* The woman in question here was not older, and, given that she had 6 children already, 2 of them twins, she was certainly not infertile.

In this case, IVF was not a "medical procedure" we had no business denying her. It was entirely unecessary. Clearly, all she had to do in order to get pregnant was have sex. IVF is a very necessary procedure for a lot of women: women who can't get pregnant the old fashioned way. To compare their very real need for IVF, and their tremendous suffering if they are denied it, to this other woman's . . . well, who knows, but she sure didn't need IVF . . . is offensive.

In conclusion, for people to celebrate this woman while simultaneously castigating and mocking her is, well, this time it is irony.


*Doctors who practice IVF still don't implant that many embryos as a general rule, because even in the case of an infertile woman close to menopause, you're still risking high order multiples. Btw, if you are currently struggling with infertility, I wish you all the best, and I repeat: IVF is a necessary medical procedure for you.

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