Selective reduction: unethical, unnatural
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 16:08
As a child of three, I could never imagine my parents choosing one of my brothers over me, but according to a recent New York Times article titled "Unnatural Selection," that is exactly what modern families are doing.
Many infertile couples look to in vitro fertilization with their lack-of-baby problem. This process brings eggs and sperm together in a laboratory where the sperm can fertilize an egg.
After years of injections and costly medical bills, I think women should be ecstatic once the doctor says, "Twins!"
However, it is just the opposite. Many IVF patients want to reduce the pregnancy.
More than half of Americans say they are pro-choice, and the percentage rises when the individual is aborting because of rape or health-risk, but is abortion the same as selective reduction? No.
The difference between women who choose abortion and those who choose to reduce a multiple pregnancy is that the former did not try for years to become pregnant; the latter knew the potential consequences of her decision.
IVF costs patients up to $15,000 per cycle.
Only 30 to 40 percent of women 34-years-old and younger become pregnant in one cycle. That percentage decreases with age.
"This procedure is usually performed around Week 12 of a pregnancy. Potassium chloride is injected into the unwanted twin. The dead fetus then shrivels over time and remains in the womb until delivery," Ruth Padawer, author of Unnatural Selection, reported in the New York Times magazine.
It has been said that twins have an unusual connection to one another; therefore, I wonder if the remaining twin feels the loss of his sibling.
Umberto Castiello, Italian researcher at the University of Padova, studied the interaction between twins in the womb and published the results in the online journal, Public Library of Science One.
"We conclude that performance of movements towards the co-twin is not accidental: already starting from the 14th week of gestation twin fetuses execute movements specifically aimed at the co-twin," Castiello said.
They spent 30 percent of their time "reaching out and stroking each other."
Padawer quoted numerous women in the New York Times magazine, explaining their reasons for selective reduction.
Their social concerns confirmed my stance on the issue.
"I'm 45-years-old. I only have the energy for one more child," Jenny Jay, a selective-reduction patient, said in Unnatural Selection.
Another woman eliminated her male twin because she already had a boy.
"I just couldn't sleep at night knowing that I had terminated my daughter's perfectly healthy twin brother," she said on Urbanbaby.com
Dr. Mark Evans, obstetrician and geneticist, is in favor of selective reduction.
"Evans understood why these women didn't want to be in their 60s worrying about two tempestuous teenagers or two college-tuition bills," Padawer said.
Did someone force the $15,000 per IVF injection into them? No. Perhaps they should think before they make another life-altering decision.
"The chance of having multiple children significantly increases in women who are in their late 30s, early 40s," women's health expert Laura Flynn McCarthy said on parenting.com.
IVF treatment is known to produce multiple births.
"The older the woman is when she becomes pregnant, the increasing the likelihood of miscarriage, low birth weights and birth defects or handicaps such as Down syndrome," Flynn said.
"Many studies show the vast majority of patients abort fetuses because of handicaps such as Down syndrome," Padawer said. "It is not just concern over the quality of life for the future child but also the emotional, financial or social difficulty for parents of having a child with extra needs."
Pregnancy should not be the same as ordering a pizza.
America is accustomed to having options, which is great, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere.
If IVF patients want to be involved in the process, they should sign a contract ahead of time agreeing they will have both babies and give one up for adoption if they do not want both.
There are other options, and they are positive.
According to the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Adopted children are less likely than children in the general population to live in households with incomes below the poverty threshold, and over 2/3 of those adopted live with married parents."
The facts are clear and concrete. The potential consequences of IVF treatment or having a baby late in life are known.
Be ready for the potential outcome, or do not try and become pregnant.