Selective reduction of twins?

52 Comments 16 August 2010

Selective reduction of twins?

Big Fat Disclaimer: I personally have always believed that the government should not tell women what they can or can not do with their bodies. At the same time I have always known that for me personally aborting a pregnancy would never be acceptable. With that said, there are certain types of abortions that I have nothing to say about. While others I think should not even exist outside of the imminent demise of the mother.

Apparently a woman by the name of Bettina Paige wrote a story for Elle Magazine about her struggle with selective reduction. A process by which potassium chloride is injected into a fetuses heart to stop it from beating and therefore ending the pregnancy.

It is often considered when higher order multiples(three or more) are conceived and pose a danger to the pregnancy. In some situations it is deemed that terminating one or more of the fetuses will help the others to survive.

But that was not the case with Bettina. After being artificially inseminated, she was pregnant with boy/ girl twins and had a young son at home. She had been told through CVS (a test for chromosomal abnormalities) that both babies were healthy.

According to an article on she and her husband decided that their lifestyle could not handle twins. According to her,”My husband was convinced that twins would radically change our lives for the worse. We’d have to leave our beloved neighborhood for a place with cheaper rents and better public schools—there was no way we could afford private education for three kids. We’d kiss goodbye any hope of career advancement, at least for the foreseeable future. To his list, I added the loss of my income, necessary to meet our expenses. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to resume working after the birth since we could never afford full-time help, and—no matter how well they napped—two infants wouldn’t leave much time for anything else…. I know it sounds selfish, but I wanted to protect the well-being of the people already in my life—my son, my husband, and, yes, myself.”

Ok. Here is where I stop. Breathe. Look at the clock and decide it is far too early for a glass of wine. But dark chocolate may suffice. And begin rant.

Are you kidding me? I had an eighteen month old toddler when I found out I was pregnant with boy/girl twins. And although some nights I would find myself crying in the kitchen thinking about how I was going to cope. And we too could not afford full-time help. I could never imagine purposely ending the life of my child because I didn’t think I’d be able to afford private school, and a cute neighborhood.

We could barely afford the help we did have to hire when I was put on modified bed rest at twenty-five weeks. And even then kept it limited to the most active hours of our son’s day.

I’m not going to lie. Being pregnant with twins, and I had a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy, is no joke. And having a toddler on top of it all was trying. But, choosing between one of the children and our own convenience? I can honestly say the thought never crossed my, nor my husband’s, mind.

Oh but wait. There is more. Additionally, her husband reasoned,”Our twins weren’t part of God’s plan… They were the product of artificial insemination.”

I don’t allow this word in my house so I’m going to spell it out.

Hello S-T-U-P-I-D. Apparently they don’t teach sex-ed very well at your pretty little private school. So here goes. Fraternal twins are the result of the mother dropping two eggs instead of one. Artificial insemination is when your boys are injected into your wife without the presence of your penis. So unless your wife was on fertility drugs. Which is not indicated here. The presence of two eggs, had everything to do with nature and nothing to do with your inability to fertilize them without the help of science.

Maybe, just maybe. It was part of God’s plan to give you and your wife a reason to stop thinking about yourselves. And start thinking about the choices you make in your life and the resulting consequences. Like writing a check and signing a form that says there is a chance this very expensive high tech procedure could result in the presence of multiples.

As long as we’re making s-t-u-p-i-d generalizations about the will of God, maybe it was not part of God’s plan for you to have any children in the first place. I am not against people using fertility treatments to have children. But, I am against people using it to play God themselves. I do not think scientific advances give parents the right to play Monopoly with their children’s lives when the possibility of having to make sacrifices (not of a medical nature) is just more than they think they can bare.

Fertility treatments often result in multiple births. Just ask the lovely ladies in my invaluable Mother of Multiples Club.

I find it utterly despicable and reckless to end the life of a fetus just because it is more than you think you can bare. And then justify your doing so by blaming it on the fertility treatments you paid for.

Considering the evidence, maybe the kids would have been better off in public school after all.

Your Comments

52 Comments so far

  1. Crystal says:

    Yes, yes, yes and yes. And yes four million times over. We also do not allow “stupid” to be said aloud in our house, so these parents would have to wait outside.

    That said, it is so, so sad how far this world has gone away from morals. I am pro-life all the way, but you’ll never see me with a bumper sticker or picketing. You will see me trying to love on people who just don’t get it. Namely, teens and single moms who are scared and without help.

    But these parents? Ugh. Beyond reproach. And what did they plan on telling the surviving twin?

    Great post. Wish more people would provoke us like this. Being PC is one thing, but loving life in another. If God had enough room for them in HIs life, what gives them the authority to decide differently?

  2. WOw. I have no words for that couple. Some of us will never have children — they were blessed with two and just decided one didn’t fit into the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. Selfish to the nth degree — and so many steps beyond s-t-u-p-i-d, I cannot even begin to fathom.

    You have not lost a follower here. I am all for pro-choice,but this is just….

    Again, no words.

  3. Jen says:

    Holy crap. Wow. Beyond stupid, beyond selfish, beyond words. Those two will feel the karma come back and bite them. I’m as pro-choice as they come, and I can’t agree with this. Wow.

  4. L. Eleana says:

    It’s sad that worldly things are so important to us. I am absolutely floored that this mother actually stomached her husband’s explanation of why she should terminate this pregnancy. Seriously, should we start down the road of judging the value of a life based on how the child is conceived? Where will it end? Will a murderer be able to harm a child in utero and get off because it was conceived artificially? We should be very careful when making selfish decisions…

  5. ok. i am the girl half of boy/girl twins my mother had when she had a year old daughter. my father was unemployed at the time of our conception and birth.

    my mom (and i) are vehemently pro-choice.

    and this… is both infuriating and nauseating.

    it’s fodder like this that gets thrown back at the pro-choice movement that sets women’s reproductive rights back years and years every time there’s a proposed bill.

    if these people genuinely believed in god’s will, then they wouldn’t have tried AI. they would have adopted, or fostered, or loved their son to the billionth degree.

    but aborting an extra baby? if you can afford fertility treatments, maybe you can afford to care for a child.

    i can’t even think of how to end this comment on an upswing. they are the people paving the road to hell for this society.

  6. Cate says:

    This is so unbelievable – I think I’ll need to read through it again.
    I am 150% behind you and your thoughts here. I cannot comprehend the level of selfishness of these people.
    Very well written – thank you for bringing this up – you’re right – once a precedent is set…

  7. Lisa says:

    Golly I feel like crying reading this. How could you decide which one to terminate? the boy or girl? I just think of my two little twin girls and am so full of happiness they bring me. I feel like the luckiest mum in the world. I did read in another blog diary of the mum who had triplets and reduced it to 2 and on another multiple mum forum who had conceived two sets of identical twins (i.e. quads) but chose to reduce to triplets. All very hard decisions but this is just too much.

  8. Janae says:

    This seriously makes me sick. I was just a surrogate carrying triplets. Before I was implanted with two embryos the doctor said he considered triplets an unsuccessful transfer, because it is too difficult on mother and babies. He then mentioned selective reduction. The IPs and I both agreed as long as I was capable of carrying the babies, I would do so. Guess what? Miracles happen. I carried those three babies with no complications till my water broke at 33 weeks. Now their families have the greatest gift ever. Sure, they didn’t expect three but you don’t always get what you expect. I feel sick knowing the reason behind their decision. Yuck.

  9. Jillian says:

    I agree with you – why even go through IVF in the FIRST place if you don’t want kids! Wow. I can say I have never in my life thought someone who wanted kids enough to go through IVF (which is no picnic) would then decide after the fact that it just isn’t what they want. Selfish isn’t even the word to describe this. Their poor children – born and unborn – to be raised at the hand who thinks he is mightier than God. And to think God didn’t play a part… excuse me? Who do you think gave the scientists the ability to create humans? Through God all things are possible.

  10. Maryline says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight on this unbelievable story. I had no idea this procedure was even possible, there must be a risk to the other fetus?
    In any case, there are progress medicine should have never made!
    I cannot understand parents can make that type of decisions in the name of “higher education” or “neighborhood compatibility”…

  11. Natalie says:

    As a mother of twins that turn a year old tomorrow, and a son that will be 3 next week, I find that woman equally amazing and disgusting. And not in a good way amazing.

    We went through fertility treatments to get pregnant both times. Knowing very well because you sign a million forms that we could definitely conceive multiples.

    We only conceived one the first time. We figured we’d only get one again. The twins were a huge surprise, but never, EVER would I have considered terminating one of them…especially knowing they were both healthy!

    And as Emily mentioned, if you can afford fertility treatments, and know the possible outcomes, than you should be able to afford to take care of the outcome – whatever it may be.

    Okay, off my soapbox now. Great post!

  12. Wow. Just Wow. I have several friends who have not been able to conceive despite multiple fertility treatment procedures. They would do anything to be able to have children be it one, two or six. It saddens me that this family chose to end a life because it didn’t fit their definition of perfection while other families pray every day to have a baby.

    This couple absolutely disgusts me.

  13. As someone who has adopted 4 wonderful children…I am constantly appalled at the utter lack of awe people have for their bodies and the miracle of life & birth!!


  14. Momma Chaos says:

    AMEN to what you said.. I will not even post my thoughts because I am sure that I will quickly get violent. S-T-U-P-I-D badword, badword, badword people!!

  15. What a wonderful post!! I was fuming in anger reading about that couple who chose convenience over life. I can only hope that they’ll regret that decision.

    I agree with every single word you said!

  16. Words fail me.

    and then you said everything I would.

    Surely you will not loose readers; except maybe someone s t u p i d enough to agree with
    the i d i o t parents decision.

    a m a z i n g.
    thank you for sharing this.

  17. HOLY SMOKES! I had to walk away and grab that glass of wine you mentioned when I read this. Unbelievable.

    I completely agree with everything that you said here.

    I’m not one to be at a loss for words… but… wow.


  18. I’m with the others who said: if you can afford fertility treatments, you can afford the babies. I have never heard such superficial, idiotic reasons for terminating a pregnancy. They knew there was a chance of multiples, they need to suck it up and change their plans. How did these two pass all the psyche tests you go through to do fertility? That may be a state thing. Illinois makes you see a psychiatrist for at least six months to make sure you’re “mentally and emotionally prepared” for fertility treatments.

  19. Ameena says:

    I was not familiar with selective reduction until just now and honestly, it sounds scary and sad at the same time.

    Kudos to you for adapting to your situation – the twins, bedrest, and a toddler all at once. I am in serious admiration.

    And the photo on your About page? Just about the cutest thing I have ever seen.

  20. Jamee says:

    I am seriously sick to my stomach. How on earth could anyone chose to end a life because of convenience?!? That infuriates me. As an adoptive parent (who never had the chance to experience pregnancy) that just rips my heart in two.

  21. Nicole says:

    This story saddens me deeply…I have boy/girl twins and could not even begin to imagine making such a decision. As someone who did participate in fertility treatments I can vouch that as an individual going down this path, it is something you need to come to terms with BEFORE continuing with the treatments. Yes twins are hard but to put these trivial concerns before a life is unimaginable.

  22. Gen says:

    Oh man. I can’t imagine how a parent could arrive at such a decision. I wonder if they will tell their child at some point in the future that he or she had a twin. I imagine not. :-(

  23. SuzRocks says:

    Wow. I remember reading something similar to this in a magazine, but not with these sort of outrageous reasons to get rid of one of their babies.

    WTF?! Makes me pretty sick. Listing neighborhood and schools as a deciding factor? Makes me want to vomit.

  24. Alexandria says:

    Oh my God. What planet are these people from? How do they sleep at night knowing they MURDERED a human because they would have to find another neighborhood to live in?

    How is this ok? They are hateful and selfish IDIOTS!

  25. Audra says:

    Oh my goodness! I needed to take a break to calm down after reading that! To me, she isn’t talking about selectively reducing her pregnancy. She’s talking about aborting one baby. Killing a precious little one.

    I don’t have multiples, but I have 2 under 2 – definitely not what we planned! These boys are such a blessing – even though I was frightened to begin with and even though it is hard, I wouldn’t change a thing!

  26. Anna says:

    I came over from Blog Frog after reading your post under mine about babies in public. ;)

    I too found out we were pregnant with twins when our first daughter was a mere 10.5 months old. I was on the mini-pill.

    The pregnancy was high risk and the whole time was a nightmare of an ordeal with a happy ending. We then went into debt for a year to have help in the house for three young children and myself.

    We still don’t have the 5-week long NICU stay bills paid off. We live in a small house by most standards, eat at home a lot, and watch our spending. All three of my kids now attend private school.

    I am as pro-choice as they come, but these people really are ignorant. You can have it all, if you are willing to sacrifice a little.

    Following you. :)

  27. Katie Darling says:

    That’s horrible, and so selfish. I don’t understand, why couldn’t she have carried both babies and given one up for adoption? Would the “stretch marks upon stretch marks” put a crimp in her lifestyle too?

  28. Kait says:

    I am completely 100% pro-life. It makes me so sad to see people use the “we made it happen, therefore we can end it excuse”. I do believe that God controls everything.

    After trying for a 11 cycles to get our son, to hear that a couple would end one twins life, just because they can’t afford the life they lead makes my heart ache.

    Thanks for an amazing post.

  29. Gayle says:

    oh my WORD!!! The hairs on the back of neck are still standing up. I am so pissed by their stupidity.

    You said it right and I need to now go into an exercise of deep breathing because I can’t tell those stupid people off.

    I can’t believe that Elle even printed such an offensively selfish article.

    hope you are having a great weekend

  30. Courtney says:

    I hate abortion period. but this is even worse. imagine how much that child will hate their parents when they find out that they murdered their twin?! i would never speak to my parents again, it would make me feel like they just flipped a coin to see if i would live or my sister would. fucking asses.

  31. Vero says:

    OMG!!! I read this one out loud for the hubby & you more than anyone know exactly what we are thinking as we realy relate to each other…if I had these ppl infront of me!! The way I described you to my hubby is: ” a classy G rated version of myself” LMAO :) I LOVE your blogs!!!

  32. I have NO words for this. My heart breaks just thinking about it. I cannot imagine my life without my oldest daughter (age 5) and my twins. Even after 5 weeks of continuous hospitalization on my part, a 28 weeks delivery on their part and 11 weeks in the NICU. It was SO worth the journey. They are remarkable and there is nothing in this world that compares to a life with children – there is no house, school or material matter that compares. Simple.

  33. Lu says:

    I couldn’t even finish the article. I had to stop after reading the quote from the mother.
    I don’t understand it at all. I am disgusted. How did they decide which one to keep? Did they even consider how it might affect the other twin?
    When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was shocked! I was scared too. We were not planning to have anymore children, our daughter was 9! There was no way we could afford twins. Honestly, no way we could afford one! (yes, the pregnancy was a surprise but that’s a whole other story.) But, we would do what we had to do, we were having twins! From that moment on, I pictured two of everything.
    And then….I lost one of my twins.(at 17 weeks) I still struggle with the loss. I think my son does sometimes too. We never had a chance to meet my son’s twin, but I honestly believe that my son felt/feels the loss as well. (I won’t get into details)
    To think that these people chose to kill one of their twins, when I would have killed to be able to have both of mine.

  34. Lani says:

    That is truly sad- that people with that kind of thought process are reproducing. I have triplets and no one ever even mentioned the possibility of selective reproduction to me, thankfully. I have three healthy toddlers now, and I know this was meant to be.

  35. Kate says:

    There are so many people in the world who can not have children, like myself, who would have loved and cared for one or both of those children. Pro Life or Pro Choice, how dare someone choose to eliminate a child based on their work schedule or what school that child would attend. People like me see babies and children everyday and wish for a blessing (s) like that!

  36. Donna says:

    This is commentary on society. These are not the only parents who feel this way. They do have to live with their decision. My question is…how can alternatives be made more appealing than aborting?

    I have a five year old singleton and two and a half year old triplets. I did IUI and IVF. We were offered selective reduction but it was not for us. I had a great pregnancy until an emergency c-section at twentynine and a half weeks. Two months in the NICU, oxygen tanks at home, many doctors appointments, therapists, medications had made me into an anal scheduled _____. Many days went by where I wanted to walk away, kill myself or find another way to disappear. I would find it hard to love my husband. Would I do this again? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. My triplets are happy (I think.) and healthy. We are blessed, a choice made by God.

  37. That is absolutely horrible. Like Crystal (the first commenter) I am pro-life, but that is my decision for myself. What others choose to do is their decision.. But still, to choose one baby over the other because “we can’t afford full-time help and private schools?” That made me sick to my stomach! :(

  38. Tee says:

    Oh, my word! My sister was pregnant with babies #3 and #4 back in 2004. We knew the babies were identical but did not know the gender. On March 20, one baby died. They were both delivered on May 17. While we praise the Lord daily for our beautiful, healthy C, we still mourn Penelope, even six years later. I look at C and see double. I am terminal and little C has asked me if I’ll take care of Penelope when I die and go to Heaven. She knows she has a twin sister. What will the remaining baby of this selfish couple think?

  39. Kallay says:

    We were pregnant with triplets and lost one at 8 weeks which is when we found out we still had viable twins. It was the best and worst day of my life. I can NOT imagine purposely ending the life of one of my girls just because I couldn’t live in my mansion anymore. And I don’t! I live in a rented duplex, with barely enough to scrape by and feel blessed that my twins are healthy and will not want for anything. Sometimes, people disgust me.

  40. rebecca says:

    While this lady and her husband DO have some terrible reasons for having their baby killed, it seems odd that so many here are okay with abortion, but want to dictate in what circumstances abortion is okay. If you are truly pro-choice, why start picking apart another’s choice? Maybe more of you are pro-life than you think?

  41. andrea says:

    That could be. I am more pro life than I ever thought I’d be now that I am a mom. But I do not think the government should outlaw it completely.

  42. Emily says:

    YES! I can’t even form words about what I think of this lady! I have a 23 month old & 10 month old twins. As in I got pregnant with twins when my older child was 4 months old. But I couldn’t imagine doing it any differently now.

  43. Johannah B says:

    I didn’t read all the replies, so this might be a duplicate. My advice would have been to have the babies, and give one up for adoption.

  44. Brett says:

    I don’t know how I found this piece deep in your blog (I linked over after you posted a comment on my little blog).

    Amazing. Amazing. Heck, horrific if only from the standpoint of having to choose this one or that one. What in the world!

  45. Kimberly says:

    I just can’t quite get my mind wrapped around being able to do that.

    I still to this day cannot watch the movie Sophie’s Choice because there is no way in Hell that I could choose between my children.

    And I certainly couldn’t make a choice like the one described here.

    Glad you wrote it. Glad I read it. Hate that it happened.

  46. Nina says:

    I think a blood vessel just burst in my forehead reading this. I just love your post in response to the Elle magazine article!

    I had a set of 9 month old twins when I found out I was pregnant for the second time with me second set of fraternal twins. Yes, it was a surprise, yes I was distrought with fears and worries, but my babies (and I) were healthy.

    I just cannot understand the rationale of someone terminating one fetus in a healthy twin pregnancy for selfish reasons. Voluntary reduction of a twin fetus(es) for medical reasons is a difficult decision for a parent to make…I am completely at a loss for words for this selfish woman.

  47. jandra says:

    I’ve always found it amusing how people claim to be pro-choice and yet vilify the woman who aborted one of her healthy twins. Do you people realize that most babies who are aborted are, in fact, completely healthy? They are just inconvenient. Either mom is too young, dad is not in the picture, no one can afford the baby, etc. Once we start criticizing people’s reasons for aborting we open Pandora’s box to restrict reproductive rights and freedom for us all. It just goes along with the pro-choice mantra: Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one!

    I respect that this woman did what was best for her family. Whether or not I agree with it is immaterial. Bravo to her for sharing her story. She is FAR from alone. Women abort their entire pregnancies when they find out they are carrying twins. It is not up to anyone but mom and dad to figure out what they can handle.

  48. Holly says:

    I had triplets seven months ago, we were pushed and pushed to reduce by the hospital but unless they could give me a good reason (like one baby was never going to make it and might kill the other two in its demise) I would not reduce.
    Now we know who would have been aborted. My littlest, the one with the adorable cry, infectious laugh and beaming smile.

    She’s missing out, and she’ll never realise what a truly wonderful experience multiple are.

  49. Sara says:

    Unbelievable. Some part of me while reading this story hoped it was a bogus story. The worst part is she canot be the only one who has done this. Although not religious myself my parents had my twin siblings via IVF and being my Dad was a religious man and didnt believe in reduction, abortion or whatever you want to call it they refused to abort even if they all “took.” Seeing the bond between our twins it breaks my heart into pieces for that little girl who has lost her sibling. :( No “God” or Karma could EVER do justice for that little baby.

    Although passing judgement on anyone doesnt do any good all I can say is it makes believing in the existence of anything extremely difficult when couples who long for children sometimes can’t have any and the good ones seem to be taken early. :(


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