The English acupuncturist who is at the centre of this article about IVF and acupuncture will probably be inundated with desperate women.
I did acupuncture (and took herbs) for years before getting pregnant through IVF, so I can't say that acupuncture produced an immediate miracle for me. It did produce lots of little miracles along the way though, like making my cycles completely regular (they'd always been erratic). And it kept me sane - I unashamedly idolise my acupuncturist, just as this writer idolises hers. And, most importantly, I think it kept me pregnant - I had a major bleed in the first trimester and began to take herbs. I kept on taking herbs and having acupuncture when I was struggling early in the third trimester - it turned out that my placenta was breaking down. If doctors had got their hands on me, I probably would have been induced at 31 weeks, but I made it to 36, with the help of my acupuncturist.
Over a decade after this right was won by those of us in NSW, it looks like Victoria will allow lesbians to have access to IVF. This makes me very happy on behalf of the women who are having the sorts of fertility problems I experienced. In return, I wish the NSW government would adopt the recommendation of the Vic Law Reform Commission that two women's names can be on a birth certificate, under "parent'. At the moment, Olle officially only has one parent, which is nonsense.
When I first heard that a legal case had started in which a lesbian couple were suing their IVF doctor for transferring two embryos instead of one, resulting in twins, my heart sank. Apparently this case dominated talkback radio on Wednesday, then on Thursday the usual rightwing commentators ranted against it in the press. Last night, however, the women argued back and today there are some more measured comments appearing.
I find cases like this quite confronting - my immediate response was that I'd have loved to be in their situation and ended up with two children. That I was unable too have a second child is an underlying source of sadness for me. But the more I think about it and the more I post on the discussion about it over at LP, the more I have to accept that I'm not them - it's a straightforward claim of medical mispractice, nothing to do with me or any of the outraged moralists who are filling the airwaves.
There was uproar in Australian politics this week when a reactionary senator reiterated his previous statement that the 45 year old deputy leader of the Labor opposition Julia Gillard was unqualified to run the country because she'd chosen to remain "barren".
The best comment I read about it was by Adele Horin (a journalist whose work I usually enjoy and admire). Horin brought up the issue of unchosen childlessness: "Despite the mini baby boom, a high proportion of women are likely to remain childless - more often the well-educated ones. But unless they tell you, you will never know whether their childlessness is a personal tragedy, happily chosen, or a source of regret. A thoughtless remark can tap into a well of pain."
(I would add, rather self-centredly, that the same applies to women with just one child.)
Sincere congratulations to Paula Benson and her husband Senator Stephen Conroy on becoming parents through DE surrogacy. Not only has Senator Conroy gone against the teachings of his Catholic religion in creating this baby through IVF, he has bypassed his own Labor-governed state of Victoria which makes surrogacy illegal and come to NSW for the medical procedures.
"For those of us who have been able to have our own children, I think we're all able to understand the benefit of them being able to fulfil their dream," the spokesman said.
Indeed, I wholeheartedly agree. I hope that if Senator Conroy is ever in a position to vote on making IVF available to single women and lesbians, that he votes to allow others to fulfill their dreams too. (Ditto on gay marriage.)