Defining Mum

IVF is NOT simply a choice

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet recently, ever since reading some highly insensitive, misinformed comments. The first in response to a fellow blogger’s IVF update post, followed by some ignorant comments in response to a celebrity couple announcing the start of their IVF journey. Reading them left me speechless, but have now inspired this post which (as it’s mostly a lack of understanding that can cause hurtful comments) will hopefully educate a few people along the way! 

Some say IVF is a choice…we can choose whether or not we have treatment, that we could “just adopt” or live a life without children. Unbelievably, some even say that there is some divine intervention at play, meaning we weren’t actually meant to be parents. What utter bull🤬!! Sadly, there is no rhyme or reason, we are just unlucky. 

IVF is NOT simply a choice. Not a luxury. Not an opportunity to try for a ‘designer baby’. IVF is a treatment for infertility – a disease of the reproductive system recognised by the WHO. It isn’t just an ‘elective procedure’ as some workplaces consider it. As many as 1 in 6 couples are dealing with infertility in the UK, often in silence. 

What people with this view haven’t considered is that this implied ‘choice’ becomes impossible as the drive to become a parent cannot just be ‘switched off’. We’ve evolved to have a primal instinct to reproduce, a driver engrained so deeply within our brains and society that our emotions don’t allow us to simply “just move on”. When we are told we aren’t able to reproduce naturally, it’s devastating, and so we look for something…anything… that can help. Thank goodness we live in a generation where we are able to have a chance at treatment to overcome infertility. 

When a couple undergoes IVF or other medical treatments to help them get pregnant, it needs to be understood that this isn’t entered into happily or by ‘choice’. We are simply doing whatever we can to become parents, something that can sometimes sadly be taken for granted by those who have no trouble conceiving. 

Some have no idea how much we wish we could just have sex (at no cost!) and conceive without the emotional, physical and financial turmoil that infertility can bring often with a detrimental impact on our mental health. 

The celebrity couple slated for sharing their story I would guess aren’t doing IVF “just for a publicity stunt”, they’re most likely (like many of us) devastated that they can’t conceive naturally. They aren’t airing their dirty laundry in public…we should be grateful to them for speaking out, as by doing so they help many of us feel less alone.

Please THINK about your words and how they might impact others. Those experiencing infertility shouldn’t have to face the comments I read in complete horror this past week. Empathy is so important in all aspects of life – put yourself in others shoes, and if you still can’t understand, maybe it’s better to just say nothing at all.

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