One of the wonderful editors here at Babble sent out an email today wondering if anyone would be interested in covering Time Magazine’s story Reproductive Medicine’s Gift: 5 Million Babies. Naturally, as a woman who’s in the middle of her 6th IVF cycle (3 fresh, 3 frozen), I jumped on the opportunity.
From the second I read the title, I knew people who don’t truly understand infertility and the struggles that go along with it would be the firsts to get outraged by this number.
5 million babies in an already overpopulated world?! they’d scream.
Why don’t all these women just adopt?! they’d shout, while likely holding their own precious and naturally conceived child.
I’m not going to go there with those folks, because they don’t and never will get it. And if you happen to be one of those folks, do us all a favor and go click a different page. This post isn’t your cup of tea.
Since 1978, which also happens to be the year yours truly was born, assisted reproductive technology (aptly acronymed ART) has helped bring nearly 5 million babies into this world that likely wouldn’t have otherwise been born. And close to half of that number represents babies born via IVF within the past six years alone.
Those numbers are amazing. And they’re a heck of a lot more than just numbers. They are dreams come true. They are wanted and planned-for and prayed-for babies. They are the sisters, coworkers, teachers, and store clerks who unbeknownst to you suffer on their very long and often heartbreaking journey to motherhood. They are hours, days, months and years of injections and tears, and highs and lows, and procedures and negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy tests before the BFP (big fat positive) makes the dream of becoming a mother true.
They are 5 million babies that are oh-so loved.
This huge number thrilling and evident of a great medical success leaves me feeling less alone, and yet frustrated at the same time. It says to me that close to 5 million other women around the world have gone through similar struggles that I face right now. That close to 5 million of them sweated out the night on Clomid, cursed the restless days on Lupron, and cried over the negative pregnancy tests before their prayers were answered. But it also slaps me in the face during my 6th IVF cycle: nearly 5 million others did this; why can’t you?
And so, just like everything else on this fertility journey, this news adds to the roller coaster of emotions that can only truly be understood by the women who do what we must to become mothers.
That includes not giving up. I hold on to the faith that someday I can make that 500,000,001.