In Vitro Fertilization – A Nobel Pursuit

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In 1978, when I was 9 years old and the first test tube baby was born in England, I never imagined that one day I would follow the same path.

Robert Edwards, one of the doctors involved, recently won the Nobel peace prize for his leading edge work in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It turns out that I owe a big thank you to Mr. Edwards and all the other medical experts who have mastered the science of helping couples facing infertility become parents.

I cannot describe the pain and hurt of finding out that you might not be able to have a child. For many months, I couldn’t bear to see other pregnant women walking down the street or to hear about someone I knew having a baby.

It took a lot of money and a lot of perseverance to go through IVF, but I’m so glad we did. Today I have the family I dreamed of because medical practitioners like Dr. Edwards cared enough about their┬ápatients to search for answers to this medical issue — and infertility is just that. My particular problem was caused by endometriosis but there are many other medical issues that cause infertility.

The fact that the BC government, and most other governments in Canada do not cover this procedure strikes me as discriminatory. Yes, there are costs to the procedure, but why is this medical issue any less important than dealing with a heart problem or a kidney problem? Why is treating infertility seen as optional? Are babies only for those who can afford it?

You may ask, what about adoption? We investigated that too and there are pitfalls. It’s costly, ranging upwards from $15,000. To adopt domestically in British Columbia, you have to go through an application process, and then you have to wait for someone to pick you as the parents for their baby. And if/when you are lucky enough to get a baby, the mother can change her mind and take the baby home during the initial placement period. Heartbreaking. I’m not knocking anyone who chooses this route, but it wasn’t my first choice.

In my mind, fertility treatments put control back into the hands of prospective parents. It puts babies into a mother’s arms. What can be more noble than that?

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