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Guest Posting: The Preg Beg.. Should I Be Asked To Fund Your Fertility?

 IVF Guest Post

Guest Posting: The Preg Beg..
Should I Be Asked To Fund Your Fertility? 

I feel like as women there are some things we still don’t get to question.

Like other women’s fertility choices.

I’ll preface this by saying I never felt that if I weren’t a mother I would be less of a woman, or even that there would be something missing from my life. On the contrary, in my early 20s I joked to my closest friends that if I had children, I’d kill them and eat them.

I remember the point at which my then-boyfriend faced me in my college apartment kitchen, telling me he felt like our relationship was getting serious and he thought it was important I know he wanted a family. A mash of swear words and panic swirled through my brain; I did not want to lose him over this. “Fine,” I negotiated. “Two. We could have two kids.” Many years and two children later, as he argued for a third, I held fast.

My children, a boy and girl of 21 and nearly 20, were and are a delight. I could not be happier to have them in my life. I raised them to be interesting people I’d respect and want to hang out with, but I still have to whip out the parent hat periodically to keep them on the right road, and I’m cool with that.

Related: Tales From A Twin Mom: Why I’m Grateful For IVF

If I’d never gone down this path? Honestly, I’d be cool with that, too.

It’s not a popular viewpoint. I’ve heard the whole “childless” vs. “child-free” debate. To each her own, I say. Feminism was supposed to let us choose our own way, right? I find that is more often true in theory than in practice.

So I paused when I saw a longtime friend’s Facebook request. I have known her since she was a teenager, belching loudly as her family muttered, mostly in jest, that that was no way to find a decent man. Well, she found a very good one, and they want a baby. Desperately. So desperately, in fact, that when other efforts failed and they turned to in vitro fertilization only to learn the costs had gone up a few thousand dollars since their earlier inquiry, they turned to Facebook and a donation site appeal to make up the difference from what they had saved.

I hadn’t heard about their fertility struggles, but I felt for her as she asked for people to read about their journey. They would be grateful for donations, she said, but also expressions of encouragement and love.

That was April 8. An earlier hint had come on April Fool’s Day, with her pronouncement that all the fake “I’m pregnant” posts made the writers not only unoriginal but outright jerks.

I saw the hurt in the anger. I was quiet.

Related: Tales From A Twin Mom: 4 Things You Should Never Say To A Couple Struggling With Infertility

Then came the solicitation. Again I remained silent. Certainly I wished them all the best. But to endorse … this? I don’t even have a polite way to describe this request. It’s a matter for family and the very closest friends, I felt, but she and her parents are important to me and I had no wish to offend them.

Two weeks later came word of success, as the remaining money they needed came in and she happily announced she had just ordered all of her IVF medications. I was the first to chime in and said, “Congrats! Hope this is the one!” And I truly mean it.

Still, I am bothered, and I can’t put a finger on why.

Because she asked other people to fund her no-guarantee-of-success try at pregnancy? We were free to ignore it.

Because I didn’t chip in? I have two biological children of college age, and a live-in “bonus child” of 22 and an unworkable family situation. I do not have funds to spare.

Because she wants a baby so badly? So what? She has a happy marriage and burgeoning business. And I know she’ll be a great mom if she has the opportunity, with wonderful grandparents to boot.

Without procreation, humankind dies out. Heck, I’m a sci-fi and dystopia fan, so I read conjecture about this regularly.

But in my face, and potentially in my wallet? The World Wide Web and social media have raced past my sense of etiquette. I love her, I wish her success, but we are not close enough that I would have bought her a small Christmas present, let alone … part of a baby? Yet saying “Hey, hope it works out” feels shallow and insufficient, and I don’t know that buying a charming crib mobile will make up the difference.

Mostly though, I can’t get over this nagging sensation that I am not even supposed to ask these questions. Does this mean the 1970s feminist movement did its job? Or that we still have a long way to go, baby?

 

BethBellorBioPic

Beth Bellor is a freelance editor living in Michigan.

3 Comments

  1. Val

    May 12, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Wow. This one is new, but I have to say that it took a lot of guts for her to do this. To publicly put her struggle out there for all to know about. I imagine those involved will felt some type the connection to her struggle. Maybe those involved had infertility issues of their own. I do understand your concern, but the means are there. She’s not conning anyone and maybe this is her avenue for the child that she deserves.

    I actually don’t see this any differently than folks who collect funds on street corners to pay for a family member’s funeral. Desperate means take desperate measures. And for this family, who want to have a child of their own, this is the measure they chose to take.

    Great discussion and you did the right thing. Just be supportive and hope and pray for the best for her. Would I do it? No. But I am not in her shoes.

  2. Fox

    May 12, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I would just like to point out that this seems like your issue not hers. It’s not her issue that you feel shallow for wishing her the best. There is no demand for money – it’s a request. If you don’t feel comfortable contributing money then don’t. And don’t feel bad about it. I imagine she wouldn’t want you to do something you’re not comfortable with. Simple as that. I would also recommend a healthy dose of empathy. Just because you felt ambivalent about having kids vs not having them doesn’t mean she feels the same. Some of us feel an overwhelming desire to parent a child that we simply cannot ignore. I personally don’t fundraise for mine. But infertility is a disease and people fundraise to treat their illnesses all the time.

  3. apluseffort

    May 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Being public about her infertility took a great amount of bravery, and I’m SURE she would rather just create a baby the old-fashioned way in the bedroom rather than ask acquaintances for help with financing invasive treatments on Facebook. Fertility treatments (and adoption, lest anyone suggest that) can be enormously expensive. People scrimp and save and forego vacations and rent homes instead of buying, they fundraise, take out loans, and borrow against their 401(k)s all for, as you acknowledge, “no-guarantee-of-success.” To top that off, they likely have NO insurance coverage for any fertility testing or treatment, despite that infertility is a disease that impairs reproductive function. By the time my husband and I (we hope) bring a second child into our family, we will have spent just south of $100,000 over the course of five years – not an insignificant undertaking but worth every penny. We were able to do so without fundraising, but not everyone has the resources we have. So instead of feeling icky about a request like that, I am called to advocate for people who see no other way out.

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