“Are IVF pregnancies more ‘precious’?” asks the BBC News website, with an article based on an Israeli study carried out last month which suggests that doctors are less likely to carry out testing that could carry a risk of miscarriage for an IVF baby. It went on to discuss another study carried out in the States in 2005 which found that the increased numbers of older women who were pregnant using IVF had led to an increase in the number of Caesarean sections. The piece seemed to imply that women themselves were demanding a more medicalised pregnancy and birth if they’d had fertility treatment – but thankfully went on to quote Susan Seenan from Infertility Network UK and Tim Child, a leading gynaecologist from Oxford, who both made it clear that IVF mothers-to-be tend to feel more anxious about their pregnancies.
It’s an interesting subject, but the BBC piece managed to make very little of the most crucial issue for many women who have IVF babies – which is the lack of emotional support they can feel. When I wrote my book Precious Babies, I interviewed dozens of women who were pregnant or who’d had children after infertility, and the need for more understanding was a key theme – and one which had sometimes driven women to have more medicalised pregnancies and births. I don’t think having a high-tech conception leads women to want high-tech births – but the real issue is perhaps why they can end up feeling this would be their safest option.
You can read the BBC piece in full here – www.bbc.co.uk/news/health