Fertility Drugs


Fertility Drugs Essay, Research Paper

Fertility Drugs

In today?s modern society, your average family is very expensive. Now

add oh, say, six more kids to that expense. Without corporate sponsorships,

public aid, and donations, maintaining a livelihood with this size brood would

be nearly impossible. So why do couples pay out thousands of dollars to

fertility drug companies in the hopes of becoming mired in this sort of

situation? The draw of having one perfect child is overwhelming to couples

who are unable to produce any naturally.

Fertility drugs make this impossible dream come true for some people.

A tiny sliver of the people who subject themselves to all the poking,

prodding, and injecting of fertility drugs actually find themselves pregnant.

Couples who have the desire (and the cash) to become pregnant can choose

from an ever-widening variety of pills, shots, and procedures. Costs for

these are astronomical, because this area of medicine is still unregulated by

the federal government.

Even with the elimination of the ethical aspects of this topic it is a

sensitive debate, filled with emotional issues. Can a doctor be responsible

for the miserable existence of a 10oz. baby? Is there a way to stop the

fertilization of multiple eggs at once? How can a mother decide which ones

to ?eliminate? so the others can have more breathing room?

Since the federal government can?t aid research with tax paying

dollars because of the ?right to life? issue, many companies are making a

great deal of money off the misfortune of others. Fertility drugs and drug

research are a $2 billion a year industry. (Newsweek) A couple that finds

themselves unable to have a baby could be extremely lucky and become

pregnant with the first cycle of fertility drugs; keeping medical costs under

a couple of thousand dollars, none of which is usually paid for by insurance

companies. If they find themselves with the unlucky many, costs can

skyrocket to upwards of $15,000 – $60,000 depending on the methods used.

Fertility doctors don?t come cheap and the medicine ranges from $25 a pill

to $1500 for each injection, even as high as $10,000 for in vitro


Having intimate contact with your spouse becomes a ?chart planning?

regimen that is as exciting as a trip to the dentist. Many marriages suffer

and some dissolve from the stress of schedules, charts, and ?timed sexual

encounters?. Couples reassuringly remind each other that the final result will

be worth the headaches, all the while realizing that the success rates of

fertility drugs only range between 10-18% with a few clinics boasting 20%.

In some cases such as the inability to produce mature eggs, the first

injection stimulates the ovaries to produce the eggs. Daily ultrasounds check

the progress, and when it is clear the first injection worked, the second is

given to release them. If many eggs drop or ?spawn? at once the doctor

usually warn the woman that multiple births are likely unless the couple

abstains from sex for a while. By this time couples have spent so much

money, time, and headaches that many times this warning is forgotten in the

flurry of getting pregnant.

If they end up pregnant with several viable zygotes doctors

recommend a procedure known as selective reduction, which is a process of

giving a lethal injection to a few of the developing babies to increase the

chances of the rest. The question many parents face is: which one?

It is at this point that advocates of controls on fertility drugs

recommend that doctors be required NOT to give the 2nd injection. If they

can see the problem approaching, why should they go ahead and cause it?

Withholding the 2nd injection results in no eggs being released for


Having multiple births is hard on everyone involved. The risks for the

mother are huge, and involve being bed ridden for up to 10 weeks. She could

also suffer blood clotting and heart damage. There is also a possible link

between ovarian cancer and fertility drugs. The uterus could rupture from

being to full, and ectopic pregnancies are possible. The psychological strain

is immense. Many times multiple births result in the death of the littlest

baby, and that is traumatic to any mother.

The babies have much more to lose. They could be lucky enough to b

born healthy, but more likely than not, they will be born premature and will

face health problems the rest of their life. These complications can include

blindness, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, respiratory problems,

neurological and behavior disorders, bleeding of the brain, and lifelong

learning disorders. Think about being just ?one of the quads?. Identity

problems plague many of the existing multiples.

The stress of fertility drugs have far reaching effects. In a much

publicized case in 1996, a British woman who was pregnant with octuplets

insisted on giving birth to all of them instead of reducing the load as doctors

requested. She ended up losing all the babies in the 20th week. (Washington

Post) The children also suffer from not getting enough personal attention

from the parents. Let?s face it, the McCaughey?s cannot honestly say that

they spend quality time with each and every one of those babies. They used

to employ close to a dozen personal nannies to help with the babies growth.

All right, so they were volunteers, but still…

This cannot be all negative, so I will give some other resources which

can be utilized by couples who are unable to conceive. Adoption agencies are

available to council hopeful parents. Fertility drugs are not a good idea for

the mother or the baby.


1. ?The Octuplet Question? by Claudia Kalb. Newsweek, Jan. 11, 1999

2. Women?s Bodies, Women?s Wisdom by Christine Northrup pps.


3. ?Octuplets Aren?t the Only At-Risk Babies? by Abigail Trafford.

Washington Post, Jan. 18, 1999.

4. (website)


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