I am so angry right now that I need to write about this before I go to bed or I'll never go to sleep. I just wrote this scathing response to some comments about infertility that were on a parenting board. And I didn't send it. Because even though I eloquently compared them to Hitler (at the same time being kind and explaining Darwin's survival of the fittest to a bunch of women who were essentially turning Darwin into a eugenicist) and felt better doing so, saying the words did nothing. I needed to know that they would hear them. And be affected by them. And I've had enough of these experiences by now to know that I'm not going to change their minds. Their minds won't be changed unless they find themselves one day with their back on an exam table and a catheter snaking through their hoo-haa.
The original question was innocent enough: The British Fertility Society is recommending that women classified as morbidly obese not be allowed access to fertility treatment. Would you support a similar proposal in the United States?
Can you talk about strange coincidence? My third time reading about obesity and infertility in two days?
I actually started reading the responses, believing I would see a mix. And there were a few people who spoke without offense either in support of coverage for all or coverage for none. But the majority of answers became more and more Hitlerish in nature with each comment. Yes, let's take away coverage for obese women!
"It's unhealthy for the woman and for the baby if the mother is that overweight, and I'm sure there is some correlation between being obese and failure rates with IVF and I'm sure they don't want to do it if they know there are more risks and high failure probablility due to the weight."
"I feel for those women who would have to resort to IVF, as I never thought I would have my son, but there is no reason to go through it if the incidence if success is so very low, and they must have done studies on it or they wouldn't have decided it."
"I'm a mother of three and I weigh 208 and I got to say that I don't really blame them. If I was told that my weight was a problem with successfully getting pregnant that way I would do what every I could to lose the weight plus I would rather be told no in the first place then spend all that money and get my hopes up to have it all go crashing down around me. Your emotions also play a role in it and if you get all depressed about it not working the first time then it makes any other chances of it happening all the much less likely."
"I don't think it is a discrimination issue, there are so many health concerns for a person of that size, let alone to have them take all the meds necessary for IVF, and then to carry a baby on top of it. I think it is more about the "first do no harm" part of they oath then discrimination."
"I don't think they're saying that obese women can't or shouldn't have babies -- just that they're not going to pay for in vitro fertilization because of the health risks and the lower percentage of success. There are limited funds available for medical procedures and so I think putting some conditions on when they'll make payments make sense. They're not discriminating because of weight, they're basing the decision on the health risks associated with being overweight. And when dealing with medical conditions you need to consider the health risks involved. I know it must be heart-breaking to not be able to conceive on your own, but it is not a life or death situation."
"Not necessarily how I feel, just playing Devil's Advocate a bit here ... If natural selection is best, then couldn't an argument be made that IVF interferes with natural selection? Which would open up the floor to a whole 'nother debate!"
"Good point! I don't want to open that can of worms right now, but I do agree with this statement."
Which is where I stopped reading and started writing. And started deleting. Because what could I say that would change their minds? They'll never understand unless they go through it themselves. Or have someone close to them go through it. And I want to be the type of person who just snorts and walks away from it, but it literally is still bothering me. And I don't even know these women--they're all faceless women living in America, raising their 2.5 children. And they don't matter. Except they do matter. Because you're commenting on me. And my right to parent. And whether I should be weeded out of the gene pool. And you have hit on my biggest fear--that I passed my own tendency to not produce progesterone or create good eggs to my daughter. Because I never want her to go through what I went through. And...I'm banking all of my hope on technology. That all of these problems with fertility will be solved or even more fine-tuned by the time she is of child-bearing age.
So there you have it.
And because I truly believe that you should have a bit more common sense to pass judgment on others. You never know where life will drop you years from now. How could I have predicted infertility until it happened? And how do I know that I won't be classified as obese (and I have a whole problem with the classification of obesity since it is a ratio and not an actual commentary on the health of the person--yet it is considered a commentary on the health of the person) and wish I hadn't withheld rights from my future self?
So that's what is keeping me from sleeping tonight. Just in case you wanted a touch of insomnia as well. Sorry if I ruined anyone else's night.