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It Takes 5 Parents To Raise A Child

Masterfile

The New York Times just ran a(nother) piece on hi-tech babymaking, this time focusing on Melanie Thernstrom, who at 41, wanted children but was unable to conceive via IVF. She turned to surrogacy, but worried about the risks that come with twins, so she found two women and asked them to carry a third woman's eggs. The babies were born five days apart. Let's do the math: that's five parents for two babies. She writes: 

There was even something I liked about the idea of a family created by many hands, like one of those community quilt projects, pietra dura, or a mosaic whose beauty arises from broken shards. If it takes a village to raise a child, why not begin with conception? When I tried to think about why I don’t want to have donor-and-surrogacy amnesia, it isn’t that it seems unfair to them (although it is), but that it erases our own experience of how our children came to be. At a basic level, the fact that our children originated through the good will of strangers feels like an auspicious beginning. 

The piece is long, but is so well-written and honest that it's worth reading in full. Thernstrom not only discusses the complicated issues associated with surrogacy, but offers a candid look at the cost of IFV, which is so high that the whole idea is inconceivable to many parents. And anyone who has struggled with infertility should read this: 

When our own fertility treatment finally failed, Michael said, “There will always be a part of us that wishes that we had met when we were younger and could have had children naturally together.” At the time, I thought I would always feel that way, but when I look in my heart now, those feelings just aren’t there—and Michael has trouble recalling that he ever felt that way. “Then we wouldn’t have the twiblings!” he said. Infertility feels like a death, but because it’s not the death of a person but the death of a hope—a fantasy about the children that our dead embryos might have become—that grief vanishes when you first hear the beating of real hearts. 

Does anyone else have a story similar to Thernstroms'? Feel free to share in the comments. 

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