If you were told that conceiving a child through IVF would increase your odds of having a baby born with a birth defect, would it deter you? A recent study found that the risk was 37% higher for those babies, although researchers aren't entirely sure if it's because of the actual technology involved, if it's the hormones, or if the issues that may have led to a couple's infertility are responsible.
Regardless, this study isn't going to stop couples, desperate to have a family, from pursuing every option available to them. I needed help getting pregnant myself, and I can tell you that even in light of information like this, I would still have done everything possible to have a baby. Luckily for me, it worked, and I ended up with two healthy little guys. I say, thank God for the miracles of fertility treatments.
It took us a couple of years to finally get pregnant, and every month that went by, every time I got my period, it felt like little pieces of my once-happy soul just kept chipping away. I had never been someone who wanted a lot in life -- I just wanted a family, I wanted a baby. Why was this so much to ask?
When it became clear that this wasn't going to happen the old-fashioned away, we sought out medical help. Any risks involved were explained to me, the various procedures were explained to me, but all I wanted to hear was, "Don't worry, you're going to get pregnant." And though the doctor couldn't say definitively, he was pretty optimistic, and therefore, so was I. Had he said, "Oh, by the way, there is this increased chance that your baby may be born with a birth defect," I probably would have shut it out.
And it really wouldn't have been like sticking my head in the sand. The odds of having a child born with a birth defect are 3 in 100 for couples who conceive naturally. The odds for couples who use IVF or ICSI are 4 in 100. That's still an incredibly small number!
Anyway, I did whatever the doctor told me to do, took the drugs he told me to take, got severely depressed, shut out my friends, gained 30 pounds. And, in the end, I ended up with identical twin boys (the identical twin part was a fluke, ironically enough). As hard as it was, I would do it all over again for the gifts I have in these two beautiful boys. For their smiling faces and bright eyes and edible cheeks, hey, I would do it ten times over again!
Now, would I have felt the same if one was born with a limb not fully formed or an organ that wasn't quite what it should be? If it allowed them to live happy, relatively normal lives, absolutely. Of course, maybe that's easy for me to say, but I know and love several adults who were born with birth defects, all doing well, and the world is a better place with them in it.
Besides, let's be honest: No matter how you conceive your child, there is always a risk that something could go wrong. The vast majority of the time, our babies turn out just fine, more than fine, but it doesn't mean the risk isn't there. It doesn't stop any of us from wanting to hold our own newborn baby in our arms, nuzzle his nose, kiss his sweet cheeks. If you let fear stop you from fulfilling your dreams -- whether it's having a baby, pursuing a career goal, or moving to a new city -- there's so much you miss out on.
Did you conceive your child through fertility treatments? Would this information have changed your plans?