Some of you will have watched 4 Corners on Aunty last night. It was an "expose" on the "IVF industry".
Something that was of interest to me.
I am nearly a year down the track from my Miscarriage. My assumption was that, given that I got pregnant quickly and without trying too hard, I would get pregnant quickly without trying too hard again.
Unfortunately this was not to be, and I am heading to the doctor tomorrow to follow through on the conception plan b. It's with a bit of a tail between my legs. I feel a bit like I have failed. I had put quite a lot of stock on getting pregnant the old fashioned way. IVF scares me and it has taken some time to get my head around it - the being pumped full of hormones, the ovaries swelling, the freezing of embryos. A potential for long-term effects to myself and my offspring.
I don't like the idea, really. I want a baby but I am scared of having IVF. I am growing a pair and getting thee to a doc, and I will see what they say, and what happens. I am trying, despite my fears, to keep an open mind and my eyes on the positives.
Back to the program. It was one-sided, and focussed on the negatives associated with IVF. It bought in experts who were instrumental in the development of IVF, who now disassociate themselves from current IVF practices, which they feel are corporatised and focussed on profit rather than using the technology in a prudent manner. They featured a head of an IVF company, who was bumbling. The program suggested that IVF practices were predatory towards vulnerable women, continuing with IVF cycles when the chances of success were infinitesimally small.
It featured Gab Kovacs, who is a prominent IVF doctor. He has been on record previously saying that women need to just settle down, not be so picky, and get pregnant earlier. On the program, he said that "embryos are like mud, you throw enough of them and one will stick". He also said that he could not refuse a woman IVF if she wanted it.
Putting the doctor hat on, I object to that analogy of mud being flung at the wall - it's not nearly as simple as that. IVF is medical treatment, and the law states that people cannot demand medical treatment that is futile or unduly burdensome.
Melinda Tankard Reist was also on, and though I don't like the woman, I agreed with some of the points she made.
There are plenty of very desperate women and couples out there - some of this desperation is being taken advantage of.
The only thing that the program will change for me is that I will go in and ask for an honest appraisal of what my chances are, and how they might dwindle with increasing numbers of cycles. I would also prefer to see a female IVF specialist. Just because. I have had a good chat with my fella about the issues the show raised.
The program gave me some more general pause for thought. It occurred to me that I could have stayed in my previous marriage, and my chances of having a baby would have been much higher. I don't regret leaving, not for one second. I am happy, in retrospect, to have worn that risk.
There is a lot of pressure on women to "settle", with the "tick tock". Yet, for a professional woman, having a baby is done at a financial cost, mainly to the woman, in terms of career and superannuation. Many women are happy to make that compromise, yet increasing numbers are not. They do not necessarily stay in relationships to have babies, just like me.
These women are demonised as being selfish, and are warned about having sad, lonely, unfulfilling lives, but the research states quite the opposite. The real consequence is to society - birth rates are going down. It will lead to demographic consequences, with fewer future taxpayers being born.
Hence, for all Tony Abbott's gaffes, his one about helping women of calibre have babies has some merit. Unless women are encouraged to have children at a time when it is safest for them and baby (ie under 35) without their finances or career being compromised, birth rates will not increase. In this way, we as women have the power.
I want a baby, I really do. So does my partner. It is, by all accounts, a beautiful experience, perhaps made even more beautiful when your eyes are wide open, and the changes are accepted in advance.
It's also freeing that, if it all proves too hard, and it is not to be, I, and we, will be ok.