The $20,000 baby

Daniel NesterSaint Rose professor Daniel Nester has a piece on the Daily Beast today about the choice he and wife made to use IVF:

Turns out, when you pay a battalion of medical professionals $20,000 to help you induce a pregnancy that didn't want to happen on its own, nobody likes you. My wife and I have been called selfish and narcissistic by adoption activists. Religious zealots have condemned us as immoral manipulators of God's will. And prudes just don't want to discuss where babies come from. Every time I mention our struggle to conceive a child in an Upper East Side Petri dish, I wander into a mine field of awkwardness, discomfort and rage. I'm made to feel I've provided way more information than is socially acceptable.

According to Nester, the response around Saint Rose wasn't so warm, either:

The pitfalls are different with those who regard IVF as subverting the will of a higher power. With 12 years of Catholic school under my belt, I should have known better than to mention it in the halls of the historically Catholic college where I teach. Seems I forgot the Vatican's "Every Sperm is Sacred" doctrine that considers most IVF methods to be sinful, the unsanctioned creation of life outside the integrity of a marital union. The lapsed Catholic conspiracy theorist in me did notice, however, that fertility treatments weren't covered by our health plan.


photo: Daniel Nester


This guy and his WIFE want to have a baby and the Catholic church wants to complain? That's like the one thing the church usually is all for ;)

So they don't believe God had the foresight to know mankind would eventually know how to assist in fertilization/childbirth? Does the church have an issue with c-sections? If God wanted that baby to be born, it wouldn't need a c-section, right?

If God didn't want them to have a baby I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have a baby right now. Jeez.

Gotta love those judgmental religious folks. It's just arrogance masked as humility. However, their crosses do come in handy when you're fighting off a pack of vampires. So, I gotta give credit where credit is due.

It's this type of stuff that makes it harder and harder to call one's self a Catholic or Christian. The Bible says very little about IVF, but it does say alot about helping people in need, and not judging people. Yeah, I think Jesus himself stopped the stoning of a woman who did some things people didn't approve of with the words, "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone." People kinda didn't have the heart anymore to bash people's skulls in when they knew they weren't perfection either.

I get why a couple would want to have their genetically own child. I also get why people might propose adoption over IVF, but the religious reasons are crap. And this is coming from a Catholic.

Do the Catholics think that it is wrong to provide someone with the life-saving medicine they need to battle a particular disease? Would a "good" Catholic turn down insulin, chemotherapy, etc. because it wasn't G-d's will to have them survive?

Professor Nester, if you're reading this (and to all others who've used IVF), congratulations on the birth of your child. It is a blessing to be a parent, and I applaud all of the medical researchers and doctors who made it possible. Thank goodness that the technology exists to make it possible for you and your wife to have a baby.

I'm not Catholic and I don't know too much about Catholicism, but it makes me sick. Every time I hear something like this, it just becomes apparent that those who follow it so closely are ignorant and unwilling to embrace the world as we know it. We live in 2008 -- enjoy it!

"...I don't know too much about Catholicism, but it makes me sick".

And you then go on to state that its the Catholics who are ignorant? Sheesh!

Since I am both a Catholic (admittedly a half-assed one but one nonetheless) and a grown-up I can understand that the Church has a whole lot of opinions about things that I don't personally share, and respect that they do actually put a lot of thought into their positions even when I don't agree. In fact I think its healthy to be a part of something that causes me to think about issues like these from more than one perspective. I even respect the Church for sticking to their unpopular, easily-ridiculed opinions that seem utterly contradictory to the realities of modern life. The refusal of any institution to put their principles aside in favor of currying popular opinion is a a refreshing novelty these days.

What I see here is that this guy made his choice and now he is whining about how everyone he tells isn't as enamored of his decision as he is. Who cares? Isn't it enough that he got his baby? He needs a seal of approval? Please.

OK the IVF process is complicated physically, emotionally and financially. And while it's narcissism is open to debate (obviously) writing articles about the difficulties of your success IS incredibly narcissistic.

couldn't agree more with elizabeth and j. i'm sure most people are very happy for the prof and his newborn, but why can't he seem that maybe a good deal of the "negative" responses he thinks he's getting is just that most people, frankly, don't care that much about other people's reproductive issues or babies. i know i'm happy for people i know when they have a child, but i don't really care to listen to every detail about it, nor do i care to hear them fawn on and on about their kids. i get WHY they do it (they are proud; they love the kids; etc.), but it still doesn't make it interesting to most people.

When you put yourself out put yourself out to be criticized, ridiculed and the works...even when it involves babymaking...

How about another perspective? We are a Catholic couple and faced infertility - and elected NOT to use IVF or other assisted reproduction. And the end result of that is that we have no children.

You would be SHOCKED at how nasty people are about this! They act as if our choice NOT to pursue ART (assisted reproductive technology) was a) their business and b) a judgment on what they have chosen in their own lives. You might be asking yourself how people know this private part of our busines - well it's because they ask. When you've been married several years people feel free to ask when you are going to have kids. And when you say you aren't they start prying - and even some very nice people won't let it go! Even if they don't want to bash you they feel free to argue with you about your views on adoption.

I am tremendously curious to learn if those who have bashed the Professor and his wife have ever even reached out a hand of friendship to a childless couple. I would guess not.

@AnotherB: "And the end result of that is that we have no children."
You mean, no biological children. Do you have adopted kids maybe?

@B, I completely respect your decision not to have any children, adopted, ART or otherwise. If that is a lifestyle choice that you and your spouse made and are comfortable with, then that's great. If you are fulfilled and happy in your life, then who can ask for more than that?

But, if you were someone who felt as though you could not be fulfilled without becoming a parent, as some people do, then I would think you would count your blessings that we live in a country that has and allows medical technology that might make that possible.

I have watched friends struggling with infertility; my heart aches for them because I cannot even imagine the pain of not being able to have a child. I have always known that's what I wanted, and I feel so fortunate every day to have been able to do so. But, I believe that to deal with heart-wrenching decisions and sorrow that go along with infertility must be so, so painful.

Therefore, if I meet an infertile couple who've had a child by whatever means possible, I just think that they must be just thankful and joyous. There is nothing better than a happy, healthy child for someone who wants one. Everyone is entitled to his/her preferences and decisions, but I hope that religious beliefs or societal stigmas would not be the factors that prevent anyone from experiencing the joy of parenthood.

Religion aside, whatever happened to live and let live? People make decisions that are right for them. For some folks, IVF is the way to go. For others, adoption. For others, no children at all. Where do we get off judging each others personal choices? Especially since it's a choice that doesn't harm anyone!

The letter B has recently surged in popularity. The confusion is palpable.

But let me tell you internet, you would be shocked, appalled, and dismayed at the level of scorn and public shame I'm subjected to when I tell people that I have no opinion on IVF, ART, or even longer acronyms related to this subject. It's hard out there for a pimp to be indifferent.

We seem to have come upon a touchy subject here...

"Societies treatment of those who wish to control their reproductive rights and the decisions thereof."

Basically, the way I see it, you get damned if:

1) You have too many kids (by choice or not)
2) You don't have any kids (by choice, single or attached)
3) You don't have kids and try to have them with 'artificial assistance'
4) You manage to have kids with *any* kind of assistance
5) You don't have kids and don't try to have them 'with assistance'
6) You are a single parent who has a kid with no visible partner

I've seen each of these cases be treated as some kind of Communist in a McCarthyesque society. Folks need to get a life of their own.

Wow! I get weird looks when I start blabbing about the details about what's going on in my uterus, too! What a closed-minded world! All sarcasm aside, infertility is really painful. I sympathize, really. But keep the personal and emotional stuff between close friends and family. Everybody doesn't want to hear about it, just as they don't want to hear a drawn-out explanation of your gall-bladder problem, colitis, or excema. The fact that it was intolerant criticism is unfortunate. But hey, now this guy has a new thing to complain about now that the quest for progeny is over!

I totally, 100% sympathize with whoever wrote this. A few months back I was having a serious gastrointestinal issue. I had not moved my bowls in nearly a week, was experiencing nasuea and listlessness. Luckily I am newly insured and was able to get a battery of tests done. Everything from barium enemas to a colonoscopy. My friends and co-workers seemed sympathetic at first. Then when I was finally able to move my bowels (after a boatload of metamucil and a few high intensity colonics) my co-workers were, lets just say, under-enthused by my joy and relief at the resurgence of my ability to defecate properly. After a while they got snippy whenever I would bring it up, refusing to share in my joy. I mean it's just like Nazi Germany! One of then even told me to "quit nestoring about." I looked the term up on the internet but could not discover what it meant. Does anyone know?

@ horsehockey - If that's a serious question...Nestoring refers to a a guy in Washington DC who wrote into the The Washington Post several years ago and said something about how he likes to get in the left hand lane on the highway and set the cruise to 55 to pretty much force people to go the speed limit and piss them off in the process. The paper received a huge response from enraged of the largest they had ever seen. Anyway, how it relates to, interesting situation is up to your interpretation.

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