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I know how hard her road is going to be — no matter her motives. She’ll soon discover the process can produce anxiety, discomfort and pain.
By Amy Klein, author of “The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind.”
Look, I don’t know Paris Hilton personally. So I can’t divine if she was telling the truth about deciding to have in vitro fertilization “so I can pick twins if I like,” as the hotel heiress put it on “The Trend Reporter with Mara” podcast Tuesday. Maybe she really does just want to have a boy and a girl at the same time, as she said, or perhaps the 39-year-old is too embarrassed to admit that she needs fertility treatments for medical reasons.
I’m not going to join in the group pile-on surrounding her announcement, the chorus of voices saying that she shouldn’t use fertility technology for nonmedical needs.
As someone who did nine rounds of IVF over four years to have a baby, I know there’s still a lot of shame associated with needing medical help for child-bearing, with your body not working the way you always assumed it would. I understand why many of us who have undergone IVF feel like calling out Hilton because we didn’t go through this invasive, expensive and harrowing process just to select the gender and the number of our children.
Either way, I’m not going to join in the group pile-on surrounding her announcement, the chorus of voices saying that she shouldn’t use fertility technology for nonmedical needs, because I know how hard her road is going to be — no matter her motives. Fertility treatments can produce a lot of anxiety, discomfort and pain, and Hilton will learn that all too well as she undergoes the process.
Although some believe you can use IVF to get a mail-order baby with the traits and gender you desire, what I’ve learned from talking to gay people, straight people, single people and married couples — and I imagine it’s true even for celebs with the top doctors — is that you’re all the same once you get into the fertility system: It’s a roller coaster, it’s disappointing, it’s hard on your body and your emotions, no matter who you are or how much clout you have. (It’s obviously easier if you have money or insurance coverage for IVF, as I experienced firsthand when I moved to Israel for free treatment: When a cycle fails, it’s infinitely better if you’re not also out 20 grand and left wondering whether you can afford to try again. But failure hurts like hell.)
I also can’t blame Hilton for wanting boy/girl twins because I wanted twins, too. Parents often hope for more than one child, and more than one gender, and those of us who do IVF would like to create that family via the shortest, least grueling route possible. I would have loved to have boy/girl twins — it’s like winning the IVF lottery, because you only have to put yourself through pregnancy once (though it may take many rounds of treatment to get there).
In fact, when I started IVF in 2012, I begged my doctor to put in two embryos.
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