When I first heard about the octuplets I didn't think much about it. It was another IVF cycle gone wrong- or right. All the babies survived.
I watch Jon and Kate plus 8 and in one episode they went back to the hospital to tell the story of when the babies were born. Kate and the babies were in the hospital for quite awhile because they were in the NICU. Kate said that she and Jon felt guilty because they had six babies that were relatively healthy but a little underdeveloped. Meanwhile they had to stand next to parents whose one baby was clinging to life. I feel that Jon and Kate really appreciate the children they have and realize how lucky they are. They know that their family is special and unique and that there are many people out there who would give anything for just one baby.
This woman who gave birth to the octuplets has no idea the impact she has made on the IF community or the lives of her now 14 children. I am already very suspicious of doctors in the infertility field. Unfortunately this doesn't help their case. In my medical community it is considered risky to transfer more than 3-4 embryos. I think that is a responsible practice.
I know the IF community is up in arms about this woman who seems to be a little nutty, and they probably should be. I probably should be. I am sad that this is the type of media coverage the IF community gets. This just adds fuel to the fire that those who seek ART are using unnecessary means to become pregnant. This has taken us 10 steps back.
But as with all media coverage, this too shall pass. And, those of us who want our voices to be heard, will continue to make a difference. Little by little the conversation of IF will seep into the American public's living rooms. It is up to the responsible parties involved to educate the public.
I have to mention that ART and IF are so misunderstood that even Oprah, who I consider a pretty knowledgeable and empathetic person really disappointed me when she had a show on ART last year.
I don't remember all the details, but I was infuriated. I actually thought that her show was finally going to shed some light on the real pain involved with infertility. The emotional, financial and physical pain. She had a couple on the show who had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully. They showed the woman driving in her big SUV with no car seats and their four bedroom house with the empty nursery. They explained a small portion of the sadness this couple felt because they could not conceive a child.
However, the headliner for the show was Martha Stewart's daughter- single and just wanting to have a baby. She went on an on about how easy it was to do the shots on herself and that she has spent a gazillion dollars on failed IVF's. It was enraging because this woman's story was not the real story of IVF or ART, yet she is the one who got all the attention.
The young couple who had the real story to tell didn't event make it to the stage. They were the people in the audience that Oprah referred to for a comment. Their sad story was wiped out by the sensation of Martha Stewart's daughter giving herself injections and saying she would just keep on trying IVF until it worked.
It just proves that we are a long way from public understanding and acknowledgement. We have a lot of work to do.