Feeling the massive weight that topples discussion around in-vitro fertilization as well as surrogacy has stalled many initial thoughts from progressing forward, preventing me from forming an actual opinion around the subject. This was up until a recent conversation that brought the astronomical expense coupled with the undeniable irregularity into focus, for me at least.
Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, this girl has no idea what’s it’s like to not be able to have children. Maybe you’re stating aloud, at this very moment, how IVF is the only solution to mending the hearts of the infertile and that’s something I need to take into consideration.
Well, I couldn’t agree more, and I have. I lost my pre-cancerous ovaries when I was twelve, and now I’m 27. I’ve been thinking about IVF before it was even a thing and before I even knew what it was. I’ve been thinking about infertility for more than fifteen years, probably too much.
Without being for or against in-vitro fertilization, my mindset has evolved into a focus where I can’t help but notice the fact that IVF has turned into a typical luxury for the rich and famous or an unmanageable expense that puts a not-so-rich-and-famous person into debt.
I can’t ignore how unnatural it is to create life in Petri dishes, without love, without connection, and without human contact. Even if conception doesn’t involve all three, it typically has required at least one. So, I can’t help but wonder, what does the impact years later look like, after taking love, connection, and human contact entirely out of the equation? What happens to a world where a growing majority of human beings were created in a lab by science?
As I try and wrap my head around the growing trends of IVF and surrogacy, it those who go the IVF or surrogacy route should not be grouped together. People that rank high enough in social class have started using surrogacy to bypass pregnancy due to an overflow of funds and no concept of an expense too big. As I’m frightened by the real-life familiarity of The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m devastated to find one similarity being one too many.
Separate from this group, there are both males, and females, unable to get pregnant or unable to get their partner pregnant, using someone else to provide eggs, sperm, and/or a uterus to have a child. Means and motivation are entirely different here, so these two situations don’t warrant association.
So where I’m able to understand and relate to the second scenario, I still acknowledge that in many cases, these children are not biologically related to at least one of the parents, if not both, similar to the outcome when adopting children. So then my mind is flooded with how many children get put up for adoption without ever getting adopted, and if they do get adopted, they wait years up until that day. I can’t ignore the number of kids that get forced into foster care facing neglect, abuse, or both.
According to the Adoption Network:
· More than 60% of children in foster care spend 2-5 years before being adopted. Some never get adopted.
· The average child waits for an adoptive family for more than three years.
· The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.
· On any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2015, over 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. Unfortunately, instead of being safely reunified with their families — or moved quickly into adoptive homes — many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions.
· There are 107,918 foster children eligible for and waiting to be adopted. In 2014, 50,644 foster kids were adopted — a number that has stayed roughly consistent for the past five years.
· The average age of a waiting child is 7.7 years old, and 29% of them will spend at least three years in foster care.
· Although no more than 2% of Americans have actually adopted, more than 1/3 have considered it.
Going off this last statistic, I can’t help but notice the giant difference in Americans who adopt versus American who consider adoption: 2% vs. 33%. So, out of 33% of people that contemplate adoption, only 2% go through with it. Why are these numbers so far apart?
Does the surplus of children that are left without getting adopted alongside the parents wishing more than anything to parent children, a result of humans trying to accurately mirror the gender reveals, the pregnancies, and the family experiences we see online?
If we can’t have what feels like everyone around us has, is it better to use the science behind the scenes to make things appear like everyone else front and center, digitally and socially?
It’s not a conversation about whether IVF is right or wrong, it’s about acknowledging every option and then deciding based on your situation and beliefs. It’s about seeing the similarities between IVF and adoption, even if they are different methods, they bring you to a similar destination. Make sure your decision falls under your standards, not a decision that is pressured onto you.
The number of children created through science is growing alongside the number of babies, kids, and young adults that want parents but are not chosen. The numbers seem off so I can’t help but hope that the number of children waiting to get adopted will decrease in conjunction with an increase in the number of parents choosing to adopt these children. I pray for more acceptance when it comes to adoption, and at the very least, consideration. There are too many human beings that need that, that need us.
I don’t wish to push my decision or my current viewpoints onto you, I only hope to motivate you to take that extra step and put in that additional work that allows you to look at options outside of your initial comfort zone. You may surprise yourself, and you may not. Just don’t let your decision be swayed one way or the other by anyone but yourself.