Friday, October 27, 2006

Unnatural conceptions.

I caved. I took my temperature - a respectable 99.1.

Hey, I think I might have ovulated. Also, in case the sore boobies weren't hint enough, it appears there's still a fair amount of hcg in my system.

In other news:

I read this article today, and out of the entire (fascinating) thing, I got one phrase stuck in my head: "conceived naturally".

OK, so in this case, it makes sense to include that, otherwise people would assume it was one of those IVF mixups we've all heard horror stories about.

Still, I see it mentioned a lot where it's not an important part of the story.

Apparently it's important to people.

I'll admit that when I see a set of multiples, and even some singletons, I wonder.. not because I think it's my business, but because dammit, I want to know what works.

Which doesn't explain why it's important to the average person. Are they considering IF treatment and have questions? Or is it just morbid curiosity "so... is there something broken with your innards?"

... and then there's the phrase itself: natural conception.

In the technical sense, it's correct.. but doesn't it sort of imply there's something unnatural about any other conception?

Which is the part where I take offense.

An IUI is practically natural. Sperm, meet egg. You like? Great, why don't you two hang out?

Not so different from the old-fashioned way.

IVF, not unnatural. So you're taking them out of their comfort zones and setting them up on a date somewhere else. You know, when B & I had our first date, I had to meet him in an area that was practically unknown to me. Not so very different. Sperm, meet egg. How do you like our meeting dish? Why don't you two hang out?

ICSI? Sperm, you will hang out with Egg, no if's and's or but's. Just do it.

Hey, so that's maybe the reproductive equivalent of arranged marriages. But still not unnatural. Something most of us wouldn't want in our lives*, but ok for people who embrace that culture. Or OK for people who need/choose that treatment.

To use the word "natural" implies "better". Don't believe me - head over to the grocery store and check out their "natural" (i.e. healthier) food. How about the breastfeeding slogans that include "natural" and "best" in the same sentence?

I much prefer the terms "assisted" and "unassisted" because, to me, those ring true. If you needed a little help, a little assistance (or a lot), that's an undeniable fact. It doesn't have overtones questioning the morality or normality of your conception. It just states a fact.

So why do you always see the term "natural conception" in the media? It's probably the same reason you hear about embryos being "implanted" during IVF, or a "miscarriage" in the third trimester. Most people don't understand reproduction (assisted or not), beyond whatever propaganda they've heard or read.

I'm not going to be able to change the world's perceptions (if I could, I'd banish "implanted embryos" first, because for the love of God, implantation isn't the same thing as a transfer! If it were, IVF would have a much higher success rate!) .. but I also won't use the words "natural conception" if I can help it.

*I definitely don't want to imply there's anything distasteful about ICSI in particular, so this phrase could apply to any assisted reproduction... no one really wants to have to use any IF treatment.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Assisted/Unassisted is much better than Natural, because you are right- the opposite of natural is unnatural. I also don't like "artificial", which is how my insurance company deems it. They will not pay for any "artificial" methods- IUI, IVF, GIFT, etc. I cried when I heard that. Not because they don't cover it, though that sucks, but because to me the term "artifical" makes it seem like I'm too good to do things "normally" and I want to take the easy way out. Sort of like, it's to much trouble for me to diet and exercise, I'll just have liposuction. Oh, it's too much trouble for me to have sex- I'd rather have it all done for me in a lab. It makes the process sound like the "fake" way to do things.