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Couple told IVF "only chance" to have baby conceive eight months after giving it up

17 July 2018

 
"Here I was holding this baby that everyone said I’d never have." Image: Pilar Mitchell

Even IVF pioneer says desperate couples are being exploited.

The Australian website Kidspot has reported the story of a couple who were told that IVF was their only chance to have a baby, only to conceive naturally when they gave up after two failed cycles.

When Brooke and Andy Lowe visited a fertility clinic after unsuccessfully trying to conceive for eight months, they were told that Brooke’s egg count was alarmingly low and doctors said IVF was their only chance.

"I was in so much pain"

Brooke's story highlights the physical and emotional toll IVF has, particularly on the woman. She says: "It was really hard. I became really hormonal getting the needles daily, I was going to the clinic and getting internal scans, it all felt really invasive." She suffered from physical complications after the egg retrieval. "Within 48 hours I gained 4.5 kilos of fluid. I was in so much pain and it was awful to be stuck at home, spending every moment thinking about those eggs."

The process also took a huge emotional toll. "That was the worst part of IVF. We got eight eggs, and it was like someone said, here are eight babies but you don’t get to have them. We’re going to keep them in a lab and you have to wait," she says. "All my control was taken away and put in the hands of doctors."

Huge embryo death toll

However, worse was to come. Eight eggs had been retrieved, but "we never had the opportunity to transfer an embryo. All of them died." The doctor advised another round of IVF. Two months later, six eggs were collected, fertilised and once again all the embryos died.

The Lowes' experience highlights the often forgotten reality of IVF - the vast loss of human life. 170,000 IVF embryos perish every year - between 1990 and 2017, 2,053,656  were frozen, destroyed or used in research. Embryos can be created, donated to other couples or to researchers, frozen indefinitely, or even turned into jewellery.

It is also not nearly as successful as is sometimes claimed. Only about 20% of IVF cycles in Britain lead to a live birth.

Trusting in nature

After the heartbreak of the failed IVF, Brooke Lowe decided to focus on getting healthy and self care. "I needed to put aside trying to have a baby and focus on healing myself. I began to think, maybe I can get pregnant without doctors. I was healthy, relaxed, and I was none of those things with IVF.

Eight months after deciding to stop IVF, she was pregnant. On July 26, 2017, baby Isabella was born. "I was at a point where it seemed like there was no way out, and then here I was holding this baby that everyone said I’d never have. Our life is truly amazing."

Fertility industry subjecting women to unnecessary treatment

It would seem that this couple are another example of the fertility industry exploiting desperate couples for profit. In addition to the shocking revelations last year of women being coerced into "donating eggs" in return for free IVF, it is clear that many are undergoing the process unnecessarily. 

Lord Robert Winston, who pioneered artificial fertility treatment, has made this point repeatedly. He wrote: "...I believe many women are undergoing IVF treatments unnecessarily. This explains why so many get pregnant naturally after IVF has failed. There are dozens of causes of infertility, each possibly requiring different treatment. Like chest pain, infertility is just a symptom. But with chest pain you expect your doctor to do adequate tests to confirm that you don't have lung cancer, heart disease, a broken rib, etc. But complain about infertility and there is every chance you will simply be shunted off to an expensive IVF clinic with little or no investigation by the GP or the clinic."

He described unexplained infertility as a "nonsense" and slammed the "avarice" of private clinics who exploit desperate couples.

What's the most loving response?

SPUC has always opposed IVF because it involves the production of multiple embryos, many of whom are discarded, and because it treats human beings as products subject to quality control. As Communications Officer Alithea Williams said in a blog responding to the scandal last year, "surely the most loving response, especially when IVF has such a high failure rate, is to point out the problems with it, and let people know about natural, ethical ways of improving the chances of conception, such as Naprotechnology. In fact, when women are being lied to, exploited and put in danger by the fertility industry and millions of embryos are being commodified and destroyed, it is our clear duty to warn people off IVF and towards ethical alternatives which are life and love affirming."

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