[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aYAkRvxDy4&hl=en&fs=1] Today on The View, while talking about California’s newborn octuplets, Sherri Shepherd talked about her experience with in vitro fertilization and cleared up some misconceptions. She also advocated for insurance coverage for IVF, seconded by co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Overall it was great to see a mainstream show talk about the facts which few really know. Even Barbara Walters didn’t know the difference between IVF and methods that cause these very high order multiples.
That was a question I often got – “omg, you’re going to have 6 babies.” People just don’t understand the process and how responsibly most patients and REs are. I don’t know what this most recent mother did to conceive 8 babies and I hope they all survive and thrive. However I think it is horribly irresponsible to conceive such a high order pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong I do NOT believe in selective reduction, where they abort one or more babies to help the others thrive. But specifically because I would never reduce I would also never take chances with high order multiples. The risks to both mother and babies is too high.
When I did superovulation cycles, where you take drugs to make your ovaries grow more eggs, I was monitored to check for how many were growing. If it had been more than 3 then the doctors would have cancelled my cycle – no insemination, no sex because of the risk of all the eggs fertilizing. If a doctor is monitoring a woman and allows her to proceed with a possibility of 8 eggs that is completely irresponsible. I’m not saying it has to happen this way. Eggs can “hide” from the ultrasound and the tirgger shot that makes you ovulate can quickly ripen what might have looked like an underdeveloped egg. It is a risk with superovulation cycles. If this had happened to me I would not have reduced but I would have done all I could to not be in that situation.
One of the problems, which Sherri mentioned on The View, is that the lack of insurance coverage causes people to take larger risks. In other countries IVF is covered and doctors only take less chances – often implanting only 1 embryo. Sherri noted that her premature IVF son cost 1 million dollars in the NICU. How much are these 8 babies costing the insurance company? If IVF had been covered it would have cost less and led to more successful outcome – fewer, healthy babies.