Monday, August 15, 2011

The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy

So someone else shared this story on their blog and I just read the entire story tonight. It is long, but well worth the read. 

I guess I am the IVF'er who would prefer twins. I can't imagine working so hard and spending so much to get pregnant and then reducing from twins. My opinion is if you can't handle the thought of twins, then do a single embryo transfer. 

What are your thoughts?


  1. Thanks for sharing that article. It's something I didn't even realize people were doing. I naively thought that anyone going through fertility treatments understood the risks, and would do anything to keep however many babies they were given safe. Guess I haven’t done enough reading!

    I am absolutely upset by some of the things mentioned in the article. Before I go on, I must say that I am pro-choice. Although I would NEVER reduce, under any circumstance (I don’t even think I could if my life was in danger – something I hope to never have to think about), I also do not think it is my right to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their bodies. BUT, that being said, I have no idea how someone who has struggled so much can just get rid of a twin. Although I still don’t agree, I can at least understand why someone with higher order multiples or someone with a medical condition might reduce. But the woman first mentioned in the article admitted that if the twins had been conceived naturally she wouldn’t have reduced. Then don’t reduce now!!!! So what if they weren’t conceived ‘naturally’? Does that really make a difference? I don’t have children, so who am I to say, but I don’t think I would EVER feel differently towards my children if was one conceived naturally and one was conceived with help.

    Some doctors say there isn’t even any medical problems due to carrying twins, or very little if there are. So why decide to get rid of one? So you can have an easier life? So you have more money? I do NOT get that. I think because my loss is so new, I am having a hard time understanding how someone could abort a healthy child, when there are no risks. Geeze, keep it and give it up for adoption. I’d take the baby, as I’m sure many others would also.

    I could go on. Now you got me all worked up!!! Interesting reading none the less. I hope I didn’t offend anyone; these are just some of my thoughts.

  2. Shocking really :( I believe you should be ok with whatever you put in...might come out!!

  3. I couldn't even read the whole article. I can NOT imagine reducing from 2 HEALTHY fetus'. To me, that is just spitting in the face of infertility and all the heartache you've already been though. If you cant handle multiples, only transfer ONE embryo.

  4. I had recently read another article about the same topic and went away in complete awe that someone would reduce to a single baby due to vanity. I would never/ could never reduce twins unless there were a very real danger to me or the other baby. With that said, if I've learned anything through infertility, it's that it is hard to truly and fairly judge a situation until you're in it. My husband and I made the decision to only put in what we could feasibly handle coming out. Right now that is two... In the future it may only be one.

  5. OMG..I had never heard of this before. I am quite shocked that people are doing this..especially people who have undergone fertility treatment.
    For me, we put back 2 embryos and were prepared for the possibility of twins. If it had of happened, we would have coped.
    I agree with you..if you aren't prepared for multiples, don't put multiple embryos back.

  6. I am soooo conflicted on this.
    (1) I am pro-choice.
    (2) ...but I cannot imagine choosing reduction myself after IF.
    (3) ...but more importantly, like @waitingandwishing said, if IF taught me anything, it's to not judge until I've walked in their shoes...and even then, every situation is different.

    I guess I agree that you should only transfer "what you can handle," but at the same time, what if you transfer two and they split to 4? Or you transfer 1 and it splits to 2?

    What a tough topic. I think the part that I really am 100% against is the parents "choosing" when gender to keep when it's a boy/girl twin combo. WTF? Um, not okay.

  7. Personally, I would never reduce a twin pregnancy. With that being said, single embryo transfers do sometimes result in twin pregnancies, and I guess I can see where some people may not be ok with that.

    I had never even heard of reduction until the cycle of my last IUI (back in April). I had 8 mature eggs, and my RE wanted to know how I felt about reduction if I got pregnant with quads or more. I told him I guess I would consider it, although I haven't done any research on the topic. Turns out it was all for naught, as my E2 level was so low, I could only have had an egg or two.

    I can completely understand reduction if the life of the woman carrying the babies is in danger. But other than that, it's hard for me to wrap my head around it. But I don't feel comfortable judging others who may have made this choice, as I do not know how it may feel.

  8. Hi there,

    I just started reading your blog but I am caught up since the miscarriage you had. I am so sorry that your struggle has been so difficult. I can only imagine how frustrated you are. I'm sure this consumes your every thought.

    I wanted to comment to say that it seems that you really enjoy your acupuncture. What does your practitioner think of everything? I was diagnosed with PCOS back in February and I would go years without ovulating or menstruating. I was too afraid to take any medication or do any serious procedures so I just started by getting acupuncture and working with a naturopath. My first cycle working with them was 5 months long. Which is super long but actually really short for me. The next one was 2 months. And my last one was exactly 28 days. I am now 6 weeks pregnant and hoping for it to stick. But this all happened with just the help of acupuncture and herbs. I found I also had to do some serious soul searching and learn to trust my body. It wasn't until I believed in my own ability to heal and trusted my own innate fertility that I started to see real change in my own body.

    You should maybe check out "The Infertility Cure" by Randine Lewis and attend one of her retreats if you can. I did and two weeks later I got my BFP. I know you have more complications than I do and that everybody is different. But I also believe in your body and know that you will have your miracle snuggling in your arms when you trust your body to work for you.

    Best of luck with everything. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult things are for you right now. I admire your willingness to stick through it and your husbands ability to be so supportive.


  9. I agree with many others tough to judge anyone because everyone's situation and circumstances are so different but I do think if you are putting two in you should be under the assumption there is a good chance you will have two so either be prepared or only transfer one. Any baby is a gift and a miracle and I cannot imagine making that decision myself or how it would make you feel, especially for the rest of your life.

  10. The theory about "don't put back in what you're willing to carry" is valid to an extent. If you've been through several unsuccessful rounds of IVF, though, it would be awfully hard to NOT put back multiple embies. That said, it doesn't mean that you'd be in a position to RAISE multiple babies that result. In that case, you'd be saying that the choice is either multiple babies or none. Just because we are desperate to have a child doesn't mean we are desperate to have multiples. It's not always a "be thankful for what you get!" situation.

    I don't know that I could do it myself, but I support those women fully who do make the decision. It's not even really my place to judge WHY they make that decision.

    The place where I draw the line is deciding WHICH fetus to reduce. IMO, the decision should be left up to the dr, not based on gender, simply the health of the mom and the fetus.

  11. this article upset me a great deal. And I am right behind you-- if you don't want twins, only transfer a single embryo.

    I know it's a tough decision and I don't want to be judgmental, but I can't help it. I've seen some of these ladies in the IF blog world and I've witnessed their intense desire to be a mother, seen the years of treatments, the tears and heartaches and then... whoops... I got one too many???

  12. I am also pro-choice, but after being faced with the choice of selective reduction myself, I have a hard time understanding this decision. Most of the time, you have an idea of what type of situation you could be getting into while undergoing fertility treatments, especially IVF. After two miscarriages and several cycles that were cancelled for no response, my husband and I were willing to take the gamble with four mature follicles. We were starting to feel desperate for something to work out and couldn't pass up this opportunity. Sure enough, we conceived triplets and stuck to our decision that we would not reduce the pregnancy even though it was high risk.

    Unfortunately, I lost all three babies due to incompetent cervix. However, I still feel confident in our decision not to reduce any of our babies. What if we would have chose to end the life of our only son? Or the daughter that looked so much like me? Even though they were only a part of our lives for a very short time, I can't imagine what it would have been like continuing the pregnancy without one or even two of them.

  13. Can't even imagine. I could see (though not imagine) having to face this issue if there were problems with one of the embryos or if there were quads and thus, a huge health risks. But twins!?! Can't wrap my head around this!

  14. After struggling with IF for over a year & several failed medicated IUI cycles, we were fortunate enough to qualify for insurance coverage of IVF. As my stimming got underway, DH & I had many intense conversations about how many we would ultimately put back. Like any responsible participant, I did my HOMEWORK, spoke with my and other REs to try to better understand my chances and with that, risks. Especially because I'm younger (30) with no known cause (the dreaded "unexplained infertility") I was told my success rate with 1 was 75% with 1-2% chance of twins (the same fluke of identical twins anyone who conceives has) meanwhile transferring 2 upped my chances only 5 more points to 80% but with that my risk of multiples skyrocketed to 50%! I would have welcomed twins but preferred a singleton, but DH was vehemently opposed to multiples if we could at all help it, especially as our 1st child. It was an easy choice then for an elective SET with the mutual understanding that if it didn't work the 1st time, we would more seriously consider transferring 2 the 2nd time accepting the higher likelihood of twins because we'd been made well aware of that risk. From these examples in the article, all of these couple KNEW they only wanted one but never even tried options that would get them closest to their goal: SET or canceling an IUI cycle with more than 1 mature follicle - both options WE exercised in our pursuit of ONE baby. I have a hard time not viewing their behavior as an ultimate display of selfishness & need for instant gratification.