Friday, July 11, 2008

What is selective reduction?

I copied the following article from here. My comments are added in brackets in red italics.
What is Selective Reduction?
by Pattie Hughes

Selective reduction is a procedure used to reduce the number of embryos in a multifetal pregnancy. This procedure is sometimes used when too many embryos implant in a pregnancy that is achieved with assisted reproductive technology. When too many embryos implant successfully the chance of carrying the pregnancy to term drops significantly. [I agree. Which is why I am against assisted reproductive technology in the first place. It creates pregnancies with an unnaturally high number of babies, which leads to a number of related problems both physical and ethical. However, if someone still goes ahead and goes through with the procedure, I am certainly in favor of keeping all babies. The same technology that got "parents" in this predicament in the first place has become very sophisticated at ensuring relatively safe outcomes even for those pregnancies. There were two sets of sextuplets born at a hospital in our city in the last year. The babies in both cases were well and healthy. I think parents who chose S/R are not so much concerned about the wellbeing of the children as simply not being willing to take home 3, 4, or more babies at the same time. Also, having a baby that needs to be cared for in the NICU is not the glamorous picture of a bouncing pink baby that selfish IVF parents were hoping to show around.]
Selective reduction is generally used for pregnancies with more than two fetuses. [I hope that doesn't mean some people actually choose to kill one of two twins. But nothing surprises me any more.] Preventing medical problems in the pregnancy or the loss of all the fetuses is the reason for the procedure. In some cases, fetuses that are considered to be at greater risk for defects are selected for reduction. [Yeah, because who would willingly pick a lesser, i.e. potentially disabled child? Why take the "greater risk for defects" when you can get a perfect specimen? Are these parents being judgmental of their offspring???]
The procedure is done during the first trimester, prior to the twelfth week of pregnancy. If no abnormalities are present in any of the fetuses, the ones that are easiest to reach are selected for reduction. [Does reading this make you sick?] A chemical, usually potassium chloride, is injected into the selected fetuses.
Following the procedure, the fetuses are usually absorbed by the mother's body. [How can you go to sleep knowing that your body is absorbing the children you killed?] The procedure is not without risk. In some cases, one or all of the remaining fetuses will die as well. This happens in about five percent of cases. Preterm labor is another possible side effect of this procedure. [Wow, that kind of sounds exactly like what happened to Tortua. What a shock! So we aren't allowed to feel bad that she killed 2 babies, but we do have to pity her for the other 2 dying as well or we will be called heartless, cruel, and judgemental. I feel bad for mothers who legitimately lose a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, or other complications, but not for women whose babies died as a result of their siblings being poisoned in utero.]
Some patients have issues with this procedure, usually for ethical or religious reasons. [That's me!] Selective reduction is a form of abortion. Pro life patients may object to this procedure for this reason. Even pro choice patients may have problems with selective reduction. A couple who has gone down the long, painful road of infertility may not be able to bear the thought of aborting some of their babies. [Well, apparently, some can.]
There are some things you can do to avoid the need for selective reduction. [It's called being normal and doing what married people do.] You can find a pro life infertility specialist. These doctors don't use selective reduction and avoid implanting more embryos than could be carried to term. Discuss this possibility with your doctor if you are a pro life infertility patient. The best way to avoid the need for this procedure is to avoid becoming pregnant with too many babies in the first place. [Translation: You would have to start thinking about someone besides yourself.]


  1. I just wanted to comment on your IVF Monster post, but you closed the comments:
    So here is what I wanted to post:

    And yet, after ALL THAT, our God still desires a relationship with her, he still desires that she come to the foot of the cross, and kneel down and accept him!!!!
    What a wonderful and amazing God we serve! A God of forgiveness and second chances, a kind and compassionate God!!!

  2. I too, wanted to applaud you for your courage.
    While I am not the type to be so "in your face" with my beliefs, I do think it is wonderful to see someone willing to stand up and say what isn't being said.
    Too often we walk on the wire of political correctness and never say what we really think. Maybe I need to be more in people's faces about our wonderful Lord.

    I still am not sure how I really feel about IVF. I know that abortion and selective reduction are murder, but I don't know how I would feel about IVF if I hadn't been blessed with my children. But, you have given me something to think about. And I will be praying and studying my bible to see what I can make of it.

  3. Dear latter rain,

    Thank you for your comment. I am glad to hear you will be studying the Bible more on the issue of IVF.

    Many, many people have commented that the reason why I feel that IVF is wrong is because I have been blessed with children, and that I would feel differently about it if I didn't have kids. While I am the first to admit that I have no idea what it's like to struggle with infertility, that should have no bearing on whether IVF is morally right or wrong. It's moral absolutes vs. situational ethics. I think abortion is always wrong, even though I have never yet faced a difficult situation like many of the mothers who would consider abortion.

    The Bible is clear that (1) life begins at conception, (2) children are your heritage from God, therefore it is up to Him when and if to give them to you, (3) God opens and closes the womb, and (4) as Christians we can pray like all the other barren women in the Bible did, all of which eventually did have children. IVF not only gives conceived children a ridiculously low chance at life, it also involves a third party in the procreation process that has been reserved for a husband and wife. It puts science above faith in God.

    I do believe that women should try and take every measure to ensure their reproductive health, and that there are many things that can be done to restore a normal situation (i.e. weight loss/gain, better diet, herbs to restore normal hormone levels, observing ovulation cycles, etc.). However, I do not think it is right to let science do what God has withheld, at the cost of the vast majority of babies dying.

    Thank you again for reading and commenting!

  4. Thanks for this Zsuzsanna, I agree with all you said. What a sad place this world is. :(

  5. All of my babies have been conceived through IVF. We had no other choice if we wanted babies. Because they are not "home made", do they not have souls, then? Are they second class?

    If the Bible tells us to go forth and multiply, and IVF helps those who cannot do so naturally, then why would God be against it? Are we not using our God-given skills to honor His command? There is precedent for assisted reproduction in the Bible--God's angels were sent to barren women to deliver his message. God did not need Angels to deliver anything, he could have done so himself. Why send Angels unless in his infinite wisdom He knew that in the future mankind would be doign this IVF thgrough other messengers? And God can also make women barren, in which case IVF would not work at all.

    I have heard of the few and far in between cases of sextuplets. Most die. Let me ask: if it becomes clear that three babies, or even two babies would not survive, but that one alone would: is it not a sacrifice to God to allow the one or two babies to live instead of letting them all die? Would it not be more to his Glory that one baby lives?

    I can tell you this: If my IVF had resulted in twins, and I know for a fact that I cannot medically carry twins, I would suffer each day knowing that I would have choose one. And I would offer my suffering to God for the forgiveness of your sins and the sins of others, and wait in turn for my judgement.

    And I would ask you to have some compassion towards these women who face these tough desicions. Jesus would hold them by hand during the procedure and dry their tears. Why won't you?

    1. Your comment shows your selfish heart, which is probably one of the reasons God did not allow you to have children in the first place. Any mother would gladly die for her child, rather than kill her child. Being a Christian is about dying to self, laying your life down for others, NOT about murder. You are no Christian. If you didn't want to risk twins, you could have transferred only one baby at a time. Or, if you ended up with twins regardless, how about assuming that God wanted you to have twins, since He knows more about your body than any doctor?

      Comparing IVF to God sending his angel is ridiculous to the extreme. But then, you are just desperate to justify your wicked choices from the Bible.

  6. I was 100% with you on all of the fertility and IVF, however as someone who faced selective reduction following conception the natural way, I think there is a side you are not seeing, maybe.

    I am a woman who was blessed with a 12yr old daughter, 2nd trimester miscarriage, 9yr old preemie(27w5d with cerebral palsy), 10 more miscarriages(9 second trimester, the final being 1 set of twins lost a week apart at 18 and 19wks)-all with no known cause. The emotional stress was too much, my husband and I made the decision to not try to have any more children. An option of IVF was given, stating that genetic testing could be done and only the strongest/healthiest embryos implanted, but that did not seem right, I had always opposed IVF/fertility as playing God and could not play God myself, no matter how badly I wanted more children.

    Fast forward 4yrs and I was "accidentally" pregnant with twins, 1 boy, 1girl(I do not believe in "accidents"-it was what was meant to be, we were never as diligent about not getting pregnant as we could have been-ie no pill, tying tubes, etc, that isn't us-basically we were using the "pull out method" and monthly timing-sorry for TMI, just wanted to fully state my case ;-). I was a nervous, emotional, basket case! I actually began crying when I found out I was pregnant, I kept repeating "I can't lose another baby, I just can't go through it again" over and over. We were given the option to terminate due to health concerns(I was diagnosed with lupus in those 4yrs) and did not even consider it for a moment.

    At 15wks they discovered that the boy twin was developing "wrong" and would be a stillborn baby, yet he was severely restricting the growth of our daughter. If we continued the pregnancy with both, we would have 2 still born children. I could not face that and chose to terminate the baby boy(at 17w6d, because we had to decide prior to 18wks, we waited as long as possible for a miracle). The autopsy revealed in fact that our baby boy was developing without brain tissue and would likely have resulted in miscarriage had he been a singleton. I had nightmares about this for over a year-including after Delaney was born when I awoke a few nights frantically searching the bed while asking my husband where the other baby was, I did not remember the dreams, but he will never forget them.

    Ultimately my life WAS tested, unlike anonymous, I was told that once a twin pregnancy, always a twin pregnancy and the only way to avoid the medical ramifications of such was to completely terminate since my body would still think it had two babies(that option was offered to us with my specialist stating that there was no sense in going through a "twin pregnancy" and risking the maternal complications for a single baby-we disagreed). They were not wrong, by 31wks my left kidney had shut down completely following a lupus flare and I found myself signing AMA paperwork to continue the pregnancy on three occasions to ensure our daughter the best possible start in life-keeping in mind that she was already "small" due to her rough start and babies born during lupus flares often face heart issues. I gladly risked my life for my baby and we made it to 35wks with a healthy 5lb baby girl! She was born via c-section due to my pre-e becoming too severe to continue as it was beginning to effect the baby and not just me.

    While I do not agree with selective reduction as a "choice" or as a routine part of IVF, it did save our daughter's life. Some may say that I was not meant to be a mom again and that I should've let nature take its course and if she died because of her brother that it was God's will, I however disagree, to me that is akin to refusing antibiotics because a death from strep is also God's will. I know it isn't the same, but the principle is similar.

  7. Part 2(I am very wordy on this subject ;-))

    Delaney is a wonderful gift and I treasure every moment with her! I still get teary eyed when I see boy-girl twins, just as I remember each and every miscarriage. However sometimes in life choices aren't as black and white as some would like to think. I am grateful for selective reduction just as I am thankful for antibiotics, life saving NICU equipment for my 27weeker, and physical therapists who helped my son learn to walk when the medical community at large believed it was an impossibility.

    I personally believe this is where judgement can only be made by someone in similar circumstances.

    Tammie(I am posting anonymous only because my laptop often "eats" my post when trying to log into the other methods and on bedrest I can't use the desktop-sorry).

    PS I married at 21, had my first child 15mos later at 22 and have been a stay at home mom ever since...I did work part time(10-12hrs/wk) for 2yrs before becoming pregnant with Delaney. In life all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother, I did not want a career, big house, fancy car, etc. I just wanted a loving home filled with children and grandchildren...the one thing I struggled to obtain, but ultimately my desires have been fulfilled and I couldn't be happier!! I am now pregnant with another baby girl, due at the end of May(which is how I found your blog since I have been dx'd with pre-e and was looking for info on the Brewers diet in an attempt to prolong my pregnancy-the doctors wanted to take her last week fearing a brain bleed-my blood pressure is that high...I never heard of the brewer's diet, but had read a mention on a pre-e site and decided it couldn't hurt-I am willing to do anything to help my baby get a few more precious weeks in the womb!).


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