Babies Don't Care How They Were Conceived

Rant 14

baby shoesBy the time I got to the end of Adrienne Arieff's memoir tracking the months she spent in India with the surrogate who helped bring her twins into the world, I was tripping over myself to get to a computer and look for an update on those sweet little bundles of cuteness. I almost wish I hadn't bothered looking. Because in my naive celebration of another mother's joy, I'd forgotten the new American obsession with invading the womb and ripping a woman to shreds from the inside out.

As technology has upped the chances for beating infertility, it's somehow become acceptable to respond to news that a woman is pregnant with the words "is it natural?" Attention, America! All babies are carbon-based lifeforms. That's as natural as it gets.

And I'll go one further. Babies aren't "just" natural. They don't give a fig how they got here.


Their mom could have taken Clomid. She could have had IUI. She could have had IVF. She could have used a sperm donor. She could have used an egg donor. She could have traveled halfway across the world and paid a woman whose womb wouldn't suddenly reject an embryo for reasons unexplainable by medicine (Arieff's heartbreaking reason for going the surrogate route).

The result will be the same. A baby who coos up at his mom and/or dad and would really like someone to change that stinky diaper right now, please, or he's going to start screaming!

Want to test my theory? Go ahead. Throw the vile "rent a womb" insult at a mom like Arieff. Now ask her if the fact that she had the misfortune of having to have her eggs and husband's sperm mixed in a clinic and implanted into another woman's womb to get what many of us get through a little fun in our own bedrooms means her child doesn't poop in diapers like the rest of the kids at mommy and me. Does she have sore gums like the rest of the teething set? A tendency to cry just for the heck of it sometimes? A sweet smile? The ability to transform into an angel just by falling asleep?


Babies don't know how they got here. They don't know that when Mom proudly announced to the world that she was expecting triplets some bonehead hijacked her Facebook thread with a rude comment about how that could have happened (true story, by the way). They don't know that mom lost one baby at 28 weeks, and then one at 14 weeks, and then another, and finally just could not take it anymore.

Babies just know when they're wanted, when they're loved, when their diaper is being changed, when their tummy is being filled. Is there really anything else that matters?

What's the worst thing someone's said to you about your baby's "origins"?


By the way, if you want to hear about Adrienne's babies, the book I was reading on vacation so I didn't pay attention to my husband's driving (yikes) was The Sacred Thread. Trust me, you'll want to know about her babies too ... and it won't matter "where" they came from.


Image via smoorenburg/Flickr

baby health, bonding, infertility


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chigi... chigirl1228

Who the hell says that? I guess I'm one of the few lucky women who never been judged or asked ridiculous questions about how I came to be pregnant. Or maybe (probably more likely) I am oblivious and don't care. I don't care if someone give me the stink eye over my parenting, I don't care about dumb advice, and I surely don't get asked (or would even answer) stupid questions. Seriously, some people need to grow a backbone and stop being sensitive. And some people need to quit being so nosey.

nonmember avatar kristy

I don't really think that its appropriate to ask details of conception period. Its not like I expect to know that a "natural" baby was conceived on the kitchen floor, so why should I know if the baby was conceived in a petri dish?

Marilynn Dawn Cameron Huff

n't really think that its appropriate to ask details of conception period. Its not like I expect to know that a "natural" baby was conceived on the kitchen floor, so why should I know if the baby was conceived in a petri dish?" Oh my gosh! Your funny. No. They are not concerned with whether the conception was natural or not (as in sex or ivf or insemination) - who cares about that? What they are asking about is whether or not the child is someone else's offspring. They want to know if she just gestated and delivered another woman's offspring. Was the pregnancy natural as in did she have to get permission from another woman to carry that other woman's embryo and have her permission to raise the resulting child, or is the child actually hers, is the child related to her and her family or does the child have maternal relatives somewhere who are not going to get to meet the child for a while. People want to know who the child is related to not how the child is conceived. 

H.Unger H.Unger

I was asked if it was a mistake.

She was planned and even if she wasn't, she would never, ever, ever have been a mistake.

mandy... mandybimama

Im no longer pregnant but actually just got asked yesterday how I conceived my daughter because according to this one girl I went to hs with and ran into while out running errands, Im too ugly and weird for a guy to willingly have sex with me. I know Im not the prettiest girl alive but that was totally uncalled for especially since she has never even attempted to get to know me.

Amand... AmandaSnyder

Its sad how people judge and then get mad wen judged.  I hope the joy for the new family is completely and totally awesome.  I was told by a stranger I should have an abortion and enjoy being 24.  I looked at her and smiled sweetly and said," Look lady I am enjoying the age of 24 just fine pregnant," that shut her up real quick.  People we need stand strong as mommas and help our fellow mamas to be happy and elated over their babies created the sex way or the petri dish way.

Darcie Heitmann

When I was 13 weeks pregnant with my 2nd, our daughter, someone asked me at a friends babyshower if she was planned... Um. What the hell difference does it make to anybody? Im 22. Our son is 3. Daughter is 5 months. We've been together 3 years, married 2. I'm used to the looks and ignorant questions.

Destinee Jenkins

Worst reaction was being told because their father and I aren't married that our kids are going to Hell for being "illegitimate" (who uses that word anymore!?) and that their father and I are going too, and we should give the kids up to a "good, God-fearing, Christian household" where they will be taught how to "behave properly and maybe save themselves." Um, thought that idea died with the Renaissance?

Kmakk... Kmakksmom

I have never been asked anything like that.

Samantha-Brian Franklin

Where is your brain?  More and more research shows that babies DO know when they are separated from their real mothers after adopted.  They also grow up and should have the same right as every other American citizen to their own dna/genetic/birth origins/genealogy/identity.  Assisted reproduction, donor conception, surrogacy, and adoption have not caught up with ethics, and violates the civil right of the very person they create.  Laws should be enacted to ENSURE every citizen an ACCURATE birth certificate and access to that birth certificate, before these "methods" are used.

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