Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blame the victim

Lately Steve Jobs has been all over the news, and rightly so. His death is a tragedy and a loss for all of us. Today the news were, to me, disturbing. I saw several articles in which he was criticized for not handling his cancer properly.

I read all sorts of comments, all in the conditional tense, such as: " if he had ____________ then he would have _______" or, "he should have __________ instead of __________."

We forget that, just because a medical treatment exists for a serious condition, it does not mean that it is our moral obligation to go along with it. It makes sense to me, and probably to everyone else, especially when it comes to cancer. But it is still a personal decision. The man was a business genius, but whatever he did with his personal life, including his health, was his own business.

This touches me personally, although at a smaller scale, because I have decided not to do IVF. And when sharing that decision, the comments I got were very condemning. The general sense is that, regarding infertility, you have to try everything out there before you give up.

I am not afraid of needles or surgery. Heck, I am not even scared of the price (although I should be). It is simply a matter of statistics. Just look at the  the odds. I will turn 42 in December. The implantation rate is reported per age group, and for a 42 year old woman the implantation rate is less than 10%. Of course, when I point that out, they say I should have done  IVF sooner (see? still my fault), even if all my doctors were convinced that IVF was not necessary. Or, they mention a cousin of a neighbor of a friend who had IVF twins at age eleventy something.

Of course, infertility is not a life threatening condition. But still, the general consensus is that if I never achieve motherhood, it will now be my fault.


  1. I so hear ya on this one. People need to understand that everyone's situation is different and that not everyone can handle the stress - mentally, physically and/or financially of IVF and that it isn't always the best option for us either (age statistics - as you pointed out). Luckily I am mostly surrounded by people who do understand our decision to not pursue anything and everything to have a child. The most important piece is that you know in your heart what is right for you.

  2. Amen about people judging what medical path you have taken- been there for sure.
    I say good for you that you are woman enough to know what you want to do with your body, your heart, and even your money. I really think people have a hard time understanding a decision like yours because they themselves arent wise/strong enough to follow their heart.

  3. There's this idea out in society that IVF is a guarantee of a baby. It's not. You've made a decision based on real knowledge. You shouldn't have to share that or justify that to anyone if you don't want to. I'm sorry you're not getting the support you deserve.

    All of us have to make decisions - whether or not to keep trying, whether to do IVF, or donor egg (or sperm), or surrogacy or adopt. We all have our limits. And they're what is right for us. Good for you for knowing what is right for you.