'I Only Wanted One': Selective Twin Reduction After IVF Is Just Wrong

Bettina Paige is a very good writer, so good and honest, in fact, that I almost forgot that her piece in the most recent issue of Elle was about the selective reduction of her pregnancy from two children to one.

Paige and her husband are in their early and mid 40's, are already parents to one three-year-old child and want only one baby. And yet, they make the inexplicable choice to go through IUI, knowing full well that it might result in more than one pregnancy.

She explains and rationalizes the decision -- She was older and needed the treatment to get pregnant, but twins were out of the question.

But no matter how many reasons she gave, I just could not believe that she would make a decision like that even knowing that there was not room in her life for more than one baby.


I wanted not to judge, but I struggled so hard as I read of her decision even knowing that if two implanted, twins were not a possibility. I struggled and I struggled and then I judged.

Yes, I judge her choice. And that fact makes me question the very fiber of my pro-choice being. I think women, even Paige, should be allowed to make these choices, but I strongly, strongly disagree (and judge) this one.

In fact, at one point in her piece, Paige says that had they been "natural" twins, she would feel that she could not selectively reduce because, according to her husband:

"Our twins weren’t part of God’s plan, he reasoned (or rationalized?). They were the product of artificial insemination." 

Wait, seriously? He said that?

I actually think she had more of a responsibility to these embryos, to these lives. Because she chose to make them and she chose to put them in her body. This was not some accident of nature, or some "oops honey, we forgot the condoms moment." This was a conscious choice on her part and I find it staggering how little both she and her husband regarded the lives the created.

Talk about playing God.

If this had, indeed, been a "natural" twin pregnancy, I would not have judged the decision to selectively reduce as harshly, but it was upsetting to me to read the story, written well by a seemingly loving and intelligent woman and hear how she rationalized choosing to create a life knowing that she would terminate it if it came to fruition.

I have to draw the line somewhere and apparently, this is where I do it.

What do you think of Paige's decision?

*Editor's Note: The headline says IVF but the writer went through IUI to become pregnant.

Image via surlygirl/Flickr


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