Science, Surrogates, and the Newest Fertility Trend: "Twiblings"
Last week, writer Melanie Thernstrom shared the tale of her difficult (and unconventional) road to motherhood with The New York Times, in a personal essay that tugged at the heart strings. There were countless rounds of failed IVF treatments, months spent researching adoption, and plenty of self-doubt and guilty feelings over the fact that her husband hadn’t married someone younger – someone more "fertile." At 41, it seemed her hopes of having her own babies naturally – and her dream of having twins -- were dashed. So Melanie and her husband, Michael, decided to do something others would later say was crazy: In an effort to have kids as "naturally" as possible, and get twins out of the deal, they implanted two different fertilized eggs into two different surrogates at the same time -- thus creating "twiblings" born five days apart.
Ah, twiblings... Let the controversy begin!
Blogs were immediately buzzing about the Thernstroms's story: Is it okay to go to such lengths to ensure you have twins? Were they playing with nature a little too much? One Today show blogger openly declared how much the story weirded her "Irish-Catholic" self out – and was promptly bashed by commenters. The fact is, most of us don’t find the concept of twiblings "wrong" at all. In a recent poll of Bumpies, 32% of moms said it was no big deal, while 48% responded "to each his own." (Just 19% said they thought it was a little weird.)
The fact is, science is playing an increasingly larger role in helping us take charge of our own fate, and when it comes to conception, most of us are reaching a point where we can look beyond what we think is and isn’t "normal." Point in case: Just last week, the third baby of a set of triplets was born 11 years after her sisters, after a couple who had frozen fertilized embryos over a decade ago decided to go for baby #3 by using a frozen embryo from the same treatment. Another couple waited 20 years in between implanting embryos from the same treatment, thereby creating a "twin" two decades after the first one was born.
Where do you draw the line (if anywhere) when it comes to using modern science to manipulate fertility?
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