While the reasons may not be entirely clear, fertility rates around the world regardless of socioeconomic standing are dropping. Globally, infertility affects approximately 8-10% of couples. According to the CDC around 12% of American women have difficulty getting or staying pregnant, and for 8% of American couples pursuing fertility treatments, male-factor infertility is the cause. In Canada, about 16% of couples deal with infertility. I would assume that the numbers between the US and Canada might be a bit skewed due to the difference in our healthcare systems, and how much people in each country have to pay out of pocket for assessment and treatment.
But the numbers are climbing… In Canada, infertility rates have doubled since the 1980s.
Science is an amazing thing. I believe that science is how God gives us miracles in our modern age. It is a wonderful thing that as fertility rates decrease and infertility rises that assistive reproduction has developed to bridge the gap for many of us.
Currently, scientists are working on a way to save extreme preemies like Lily and Anika. In the future, parents facing the loss of a pregnancy in the second trimester like we did could have their baby moved into an artificial womb where they can watch them grow in a safe environment rather than saying goodbye all too soon. But some people twist this into any number of dystopian futures… IVF is often just as vilified. And surrogacy is seen by some as renting a human being.
The reality is that most people who wish to become parents would love to do so naturally. Many mothers long for the flutter of life within their womb and the progress of science and technology will not stop that. It’s part of our wiring. And I hazard to say that given the choice between intimacy with the person you love and trust most in the world or daily injections into your butt or stomach for weeks at a time, mood swings, hot flashes, and nausea, followed by invasive medical procedures, most people would pick intimacy. But these technologies exist to fill a need. A very real need. I’m going to go out on a limb here… I’m going to go deep into opinion territory and put out a few words that some people might not like…
I think that many people who criticize assistive reproduction do so from a position of privilege. I think that someone who sees surrogacy or artificial wombs or IVF as dystopian unholy abominations probably has not dealt with infertility and/or pregnancy loss first-hand. I think that people who think that others who cannot have children by the traditional means should not be parents probably have not had to talk to Children’s Aid to protect a child born naturally into an abusive and toxic family.
The reality is that no situation is perfect. Not everyone who is capable of having kids should or will want to and not everyone who is not capable of having kids without intervention is unworthy or incapable of being good parents. Children of parents who struggle with infertility don’t happen by accident. They are wanted, longed for, and loved from long before their parents see their faces.
I don’t think it is God’s plan for fertility rates to decrease, I don’t think that rising infertility is part of God’s plan either. I think that the choices humans have made on this planet have created an environment that makes reproduction harder. I think God inspired the scientists with the desire to help and to fix problems created by our modern world with solutions only possible in our modern world.
We were able to do DNA testing to make sure that Malcolm and I don’t carry any genetic markers that would potentially hurt a future child. We saw a geneticist and had blood tests done and before that we did 23 and me, and we also had the placentas biopsied and NIPT screenings done with our girls. These are all possible through modern science and they allowed us to have a clearer picture of what led to our losses.
When we get right down to it, Malcolm and I know that we create healthy children. We have seen them grow! We have watched them move! We have held them in stillness and silence. We have seen the combination of his lips and my nose and my lips and his nose! We know that our children could have survived earth-side had my body not let them down.
We are so fortunate to have Amber. She has opened the door for us to have one last chance at a scientific miracle. And I do believe that it is a miracle that we can do this.
By pursuing surrogacy, we could potentially create more than one complete family. If we find that our family is complete and that we have healthy embryos left, we are planning on doing embryo adoption.
You can also follow our surrogacy journey on instagram @operation.babyspaceship