This e-mail from a reader broke my heart. It is a cry for help from a young IVF-conceived woman who mourns the loss of her siblings that didn’t make it. It is also a look at the darker-side of IVF that no one wants to talk about: the massive loss of life inherent in the IVF process.
I was wondering if you knew of any websites or resources that support people struggling after being conceived using IVF. I’ve been searching and searching online, and I’ve been unable to find a single source of advice.
I was one of three embryos created in the process, but I was the only one who survived. I mourn my siblings every single day. I can’t talk about them with my parents, because bringing the subject up inevitably causes fights, and they don’t feel the way I in the do. They don’t regret what they did, they don’t see anything wrong with IVF, and they don’t count my siblings as members of the family.
They never bring them up in conversation, and when I talk about them, they’ll concede that they are my siblings, but it’s only to make me feel better. I don’t think they really believe it. If they did, they’d regret what they did. When people asked how many children they had, they’d say three. They’d talk about them as members of the family, and say how much they wished they could be there at Christmas and birthdays. My mum would light candles for them at church and have Masses said for them. But it’s just me. I’m the only one who seems to care about them.
It hurts me every time I see in the news something about IVF, because the media treats it as if it’s okay. There’s never any mention that people die during the process. I don’t even know if there’s anyone else out there who feels the same way I do. If there is, I’ve never met them. Sometimes, I feel like a freak. The only person I’ve found who understands me at all is my local priest, who I’ve spoken to about everything, but I can’t be bothering him all the time! It’d be nice to have someone else who understood.
The support groups I know of are for those conceived with donor gametes. I do not know of any support groups for those conceived with IVF without donor sperm or egg.
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Does anyone know of a group that could help this young woman? Her pain is very real and she needs others who can understand what she is feeling.