When IVF goes Wrong

One of the fears in the back of my mind ever since our embryo transfer is of the wrong embryos being tranferred. One other couple had their transfer the same day as us, and it would be an obvious mixup as they are of a different race. I joke about it from time to time and, while I really don’t think anything went wrong, I think this kind of fear is natural.

Today, Joe sent me a story on CNN about a couple that found out their fertility clinic transferred the wrong embryos. They actually found out during the phone call telling them they were pregnant. I can just hear it now: “Congratuations! You’re pregnant! Unfortunately….we transferred the wrong embryos, and the baby isn’t yours.”

Nothing was said about this woman’s embryos, and I’m assuming that means the other woman did not get pregnant. Yet, this couple said they decided instantly that she would carry the baby to term and then give it to its biological parents. Amazing and selfless? Absolutely.

The story had close to 200 comments, and I read every single one of them. Most praised this couple for not aborting the baby, but many were incredibly negative about IVF, going as far as to say that people who pursue IVF are selfish and if they can’t get pregnant naturally they should just accept it and adopt. They were also attacked because this is her fourth pregnancy, and apparently wanting to have more than one child is selfish. Here are a few of my favorites:

“To the self-righteous leaving comments: IVF is going to stunt us biologically. There is generally a good reason why people are infertile, and most of them should not propagate their impaired genes. I, like others, applaud the couple for not killing the baby; I, like some others, am disappointed in their decision to try to dilute the gene pool to begin with. Whether you believe in macro-evolution or not, micro-evolution has been demonstrated within a life time, and certainly within recorded history. By diluting the gene pool with individuals biologically unfit to conceive, you are hurting humanity. Please stop it. I don’t challenge your right to have children; I challenge your sense of entitlement to procreate at the expensive of everyone else.”

“for real doc!!??? and for real ppl??!! if ur not meant to have kids accept it and move on… this is what happen when u want to go against what God gives u!!!”

“Why would you go to such lengths for a fourth child anyway? Isn’t this world crowded enough? IVF is such a selfish, self-serving medical procedure. If you can’t have babies naturally, take one of the plentiful unwanted children that exist all around the world.”

“If I were she, I’d abort immediately. If I were the biological mother, I’d insist on an abortion. No other woman would be allowed to carry my embryo! This isn’t a “gift”; she is depriving the real mother of carrying her own child. I’d never take a biological child handed to me, carried by a surrogate. And both sets of parents should shut down that clinic, and find out who got their other embryos. They could all have other children out there that they don’t know about. Everyone who has had a pregnancy out of that clinic should have a DNA test immediately.”

“I am glad you are doing this for that couple. People should learn that if you can’t conceive you need to just accept it or adopt. Things happen for a reason and too many people try to play God. These people had 3 kids already AND she had difficult pregnancies. At least she’s redeeming herself from her original selfishness.”

Those comments blew me away. I’m pretty sure none of them have ever had to deal with fertility issues; if so, I’m sure they wouldn’t be saying that they just need to accept it. IVF does not create children with impaired genes. Fertilization occurs just as it would inside the body. The only difference is that an embryologist is assisting. I’m assuming that commenter doesn’t realize that miscarriages in pregnancies occur because of something wrong with the embryo’s genetics. Yes, there are babies who are still born with genetic abnormalities, but I don’t believe that IVF increases that.

And really? It’s selfish to want to carry your own child? I guess I’m selfish, then, because not only did I want to experience carrying my own child, but I would like to have more than one. I’d love to see how these commenters would change their tunes after being told they could never get pregnant naturally.

What’s selfish is the number of women who commented and said that if they were in this position they would abort. As much as I know it would hurt to know that I’m carrying someone else’s child, I would never abort. It’s not the child’s fault. And how can you say that what this woman is doing isn’t a gift? The other woman obviously had fertility issues too, so even though she didn’t carry her own child, she’s going to get to be a mother. That’s the greatest gift you can give anyone.

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Hi! I’m a wife to a wonderful husband, mom to a beautiful and active (to put it lightly) kiddo, and fur-mom to 3 crazy cats. I’m a former journalist. I quit my full time job two years ago. Now, I am a freelance writer and a virtual assistant for several bloggers!

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  1. Shannon says:

    I swear there should be an IQ test before people have kids… because those people were just stupid… I think the mother is wonderful what she is doing… and like you said… it isn’t the child’s fault… they are innocent to all of this… ugh stupid people make me so mad…

  2. Barbara says:

    I can’t believe those comments. I agree with you, being a mother, is the greatest gift you can give anyone!

  3. Jess says:

    I totally agree with you. It is so unfortunate how quick some people are to judge about situations they are totally unfamiliar with. I mean, saying that people with fertility challenges should adopt instead of trying IVF is drawing a line in the sand. The logical extension of that argument is that it’s immoral to get pregnant at all, even if it’s your first child and you aren’t using IVF. Or maybe if you don’t get pregnant on the first try you should adopt? If you have to use Clomid? Why is IVF the magic place where it suddenly becomes no longer OK to try to get pregnant?

  4. IVF Clinic says:

    There have been many incidences in the past where in the IVF process has went wrong. So one should be have some basic knowledge about IVF. Trust me it does help a lot.

  5. Lindy Lake says:

    I am tired of those who want biological children being called “selfish”. Many people who promote adoption won’t stop screaming about how “selfish” infertiles are. Their attitude, in fact, turned me away from adoption. I won’t listen to someone who is calling me names. Many of these selfish screamers have never adopted children themselves. They simply wish to lecture and judge others for not adopting. They make me sick.

  6. Brit16 says:

    I know what you mean about the fear of them transferring the wrong embyros! My clinic does numerous transfers in a day, I guess you just have to trust them.

    It makes me furious to hear people say that you should just adopt. As if it is that easy! We would love to adopt, even now, but it cost thousands of dollars and may take years to complete the process. Our little miracle IVF baby is now a year old! If you would like to hear about our journey of overcoming 6 cycles and 3 miscarriages to finally have him please visit http://www.ivfsuccessstories.info Good luck to everyone trying to conceive, and don’t feel guilty!!!

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  10. Anne says:

    IVF: extraordinarily selfish… Yes, it’s harsh, but the truth hurts. Cliches exist for a reason.

    I’m adopted, I’ve adopted. I had two natural pregnancies that resulted in miscarriage after 15 wks & 18 wks, respectively, as well.. (After that happened, I decided I was meant to adopt…)
    Society is severely negatively affected as a whole in terms of long term consequences related to unwanted children and perpetuating the foster system. Birth control education and family planning needs to be ramped up, absolutely.
    But people still look away, assuming bc it’s easier and less painful, from the hundreds of THOUSANDS nationwide/MILLIONS worldwide of children who are hoping, praying, wishing more than anything to have an adult in their life who they can love & depend on. That’s right, it’s not just the adult loving the child…the children have so much unconditional love to freely give and yet… Far too many adults who are more than capable of being the mommy & daddy these kids so desperately deserve ignore and deny them.
    INSTEAD, these ”adults” turn the other way, take out another mortgage for more fertility treatments (..which btw, don’t these women realize multiple treatments can EASILY CAUSE CANCER for them down the road, which would leave her precious biological child MOTHERLESS?!…Nooo, that’s not selfish at all!), OR they make excuses such as:
    Foster children can be nightmares…I’ve heard horror stories, and adoption is just as expensive or more so, plus can also be a nightmare.. And why am I not allowed or entitled to try to have my own bio child, etc, etc…And some are just pain ignorant and uneducated so they don’t know any better than to pathetically attack comments like this/other likeminded posters, etc…
    I’m a family counselor, I’m a writer. I’ve seen many horrific things. What I’ve seen and experienced is that the level of selfishness amongst adults these days, combined with advancements in technology, has done nothing but inject POISON, NARCISSISM and DEFORMITIES into the vein of modern day society. And that’s not figuratively speaking, either.
    As a writer, I believe I and other writers have a responsibility to disclose the truth as we see it, if we genuinely believe that truth needs to be told and that others will benefit/gain positive insight from it. Well this is my truth disclosure. No ill will wished upon ANYONE. I love people and love seeing the good in them, finding the good in them.
    This post is to hopefully open even just one person’s mind, & heart, to look at adopting a child in a different light. You never know, you may just find happiness, beauty and peace that was previously elusive to you.

  11. who knows says:

    In vitro fertilization is associated with an increase in
    major birth defects – MIT scientific study


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