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  • Michelle Arnot

Defying the Odds: My IVF Journey to Motherhood

Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF) I am the proud mother of an accomplished 31 year old woman who will marry her fiance in a few months. What nature was preventing I achieved through IVF. 


This is not to say that IVF is an easy process nor is it a guarantee of a 'take home baby'  (success rate ranges from 25 to 30 percent). As of 2020 IVF accounts for 2 percent of babies born in the US (CNN). It has become a viable option for couples with health insurance and the desire to have a family. Yet in recent months Alabama has found itself at the center of a contentious debate surrounding reproductive rights, particularly in the realm of assisted reproductive technologies. The state's recent ruling on frozen embryos represents a significant overreach that infringes upon reproductive autonomy and perpetuates barriers to family-building. 

 

At the heart of the matter lies the regressive attitude of Alabama's officials who are defying medical ethics and undermining the fundamental principle of equality that should be upheld in matters of reproductive health.

 

By the time I was my daughter’s age my husband and I stopped using birth control. But I didn’t recognize that I had a fertility issue until I got an assignment to write about IVF for a woman’s magazine. A doctor told me that he would advise any young woman to consult a specialist if she’d had unprotected sex for one year without conceiving. That was my situation. The consultation identified blockage in my fallopian tubes. IVF treatment was young, and so were we. The process begins with hormone self-injection therapy intended to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple ova. The ova are retrieved (anesthesia, twilight sleep) and then combined with sperm in a petri dish. The resulting embryos are frozen and inserted into the uterus at a later date.

 

After two unsuccessful cycles I achieved a normal pregnancy with the third IVF treatment, and my daughter was born nine months later.

 

Choosing IVF treatment is a costly and emotional journey. For women, age is a key factor. Shutting down clinics and preventing couples from completing the cycle is the true crime that is being committed in Alabama. We must mobilize and support this medical procedure that has produced over 12 million births since its inceptIon. It's imperative that we challenge Alabama's IVF ruling not only on grounds of reproductive rights but also on the basis of human rights and social justice. Every individual deserves the right to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, free from discriminatory barriers imposed by the state.

 

This personal decision is one that a couple makes in the privacy of the consulting room with a fertility specialist, not one in which the government has the right to intervene.

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