Diiiiiiiios Mio. Remember the woman who gave birth to eight children after she underwent fertility treatments? Well, she’s in the news again, this time to explain why in the hell she felt it was necessary to be implanted with all eight of her embryos.
“You don’t understand,” she said. “If you have these frozen embryos that are there, and they were writing you letters saying, We are charging you this much, and it’s going up and up and up every month that they are stored — you can either use them or destroy them. You’re like, O.K., I have six already. What’s another? And maybe it won’t even work. So, I just decided to take the chance because I didn’t want to destroy the embryos. That was the main focus — not like: ‘Oh, gosh! I really want eight!’ People were thinking, ‘Oh, she wanted so, so many.’ No!”
She sounds like she’s coming from a really frightening place of Christian fundementalism (it’s a baby no matter what I must save it!) and desperate poverty. How many of us haven’t been in that same place with some other aspect in our lives? Getting those bills every single month when you know you can’t pay them, being told by a friend to “come get your shit or I’m dumping it all” when you know you have no place to bring it home to…we’ve all be there before. We’ve all done things like make eight kids share one Popsicle and lecture the kids that they should be thankful for the opportunity. We make jokes about it, but that poverty staring us in the face is very real, isn’t it?
So, I feel really bad for Suleman. But boy…I think it might be time to really question the idea of people who are adamantly pro-life getting IVF treatments. Or maybe doctors should only be allowed to fertilize two eggs at a time. Or something. I’m not really on top of how IVF treatment works–I know what I know because I’ve been told by friends who’ve gone through it how it works.
But the bottom line for me is that I just don’t think any human woman should be carrying eight fetuses at one time, even if she does so willingly. Morally and ethically, the argument simply can’t be made that it’s ok to place such stress on a woman’s body. And if people feel that they *must* place that kind of stress on their bodies because of the moral choice to not “kill a child,” then I think that the system needs to begin to find moral and ethical ways to confront those beliefs in a way that prioritizes the needs of the mother first and foremost.
Maybe Nadya Suleman is actually one of the best arguments out there for state health coverage that covers fertility treatments? Then people can afford to take the chance of only attempting one or two embryo fertilizations at a time?