Picture this. You're having trouble conceiving. You start undergoing fertility treatments. You finally get pregnant! You're happy. You're elated. You're going to be a mom! But then three months into your pregnancy, you find out that you were implanted with the wrong embryos. Oh, and P.S., you're pregnant with twins. You're pregnant with somebody else's twins.
Unfortunately, this isn't a hypothetical situation. It's a sad and confusing reality for one poor woman in Rome. At this point, there isn't a clear answer as to how exactly the mix-up happened, and USA Today reports that it's "unclear whether any other improper pregnancies resulted." The only information available now is that four couples received fertility treatments at the Sandro Pertini Hospital on December 4, and on March 27, Rome's health authorities learned that there was a "genetic incompatibility" between parents and embryos.
Bottom line: Somebody messed up, and then at the three-month mark, right when this woman likely started telling people she was pregnant, she found out the babies weren't hers. Awful.
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Knee-jerk reaction of OMG, how are mistakes made with something as important and serious as this aside, my thoughts immediately go to this woman. I can't imagine how she must be feeling right now. It's safe to assume that she had some sort of difficultly conceiving if she was receiving fertility treatments. For all we know, it could have taken this woman years to get pregnant. Then to find out that the babies she's carrying aren't in fact hers? It has to be so confusing for her to hear such news after experiencing the high of learning she was pregnant.
Any woman who has been pregnant can attest to the fact that they feel some sort of connection to the life they're growing inside of them, no matter how small -- even if only three months in. And of course, after giving birth, that connection is multiplied by the millions. I can't imagine this woman hasn't fallen a little in love with these babies ... but they're technically not hers. And what's the ethical thing to do here? "Return them" to their rightful owner? And if so, what if this was her only chance at getting pregnant? What if IVF, or whatever fertility treatments she used, don't work next time?
I'm sure there are plenty of women who have been "angry" at their pregnancies for a variety of reasons, particularly if they were unplanned. But this pregnancy was the opposite of that. It was very much planned and obviously very wanted. It's unfair that this woman would be given this news, which probably made her angry to some degree, right when she was in the midst of so much happiness and joy.
And she's still got six months to go. Heartbreaking.
What do you think this woman is feeling right now? How would you react if you were her?
Image via surly girl/Flickr