Why Twins Should Not Become One


I did NICU time with a mother who had two sets of twins five months apart.

How could that be, I’m sure you’re wondering.

After ten years of infertility, she had hired a surrogate who got pregnant with twins.

Four months later, she found herself pregnant naturally.

With twins.

When I met her she had days-old babies in the hospital and two four-months-old babies being looked after by a nanny at home.

Later I met another woman, a single woman, who had been treated for a brain tumor some months earlier.

She had assumed her nausea and weight gain were to do with her medication.

One day, complaining of backache, she went to the ER to be given an ultrasound.

A few hours later, she gave birth to full-term boy/girl twins.

(For the record she was a normal, perfectly intelligent, responsible and quite delightful woman who later returned to work while her twins were cared for by family. I still don’t know how the kicking that must have been going on wasn’t a clue, though ;-))

When I read this weekend the NYT article about women selectively reducing twin pregnancies, pregnancies conceived via IVF, mind, I was…

‘Stunned’ is the most accurate word I can come up with.

I like to think I’m pretty easy going about a lot of life. I’m not given to wild emotions or hystrionics.

With a few exceptions, I like to think I mostly take a balanced view, see both sides, suspend judgment.

But no matter how I look at the reducing of a twin pregnancy to a singleton, I can’t see any justification.

At all.

I can be rational and reasoned over reducing a triplet pregnancy.

I understand that triplet pregnancies are risky, even dangerous.

And while I haven’t knowingly met anyone who has done this procedure (understandably it is usually kept quiet,) I do know women who have lost their triplets around the 20-week mark.

And had to hold them as, one by one, they died.

I can see the ‘greater good’ argument here.

I also accept the right of women to have abortions.

Although the legal window of opportunity is often double the length it should be.

But the idea that a woman would choose, after months of trying at a cost of thousands of dollars, to abort one of her fetuses and endanger the life of the second fetus (a reduction is a procedure that threatens the whole pregnancy) for no other reason than a lifestyle choice is just obscene.

Has the world gone mad?

My issue is not with the sanctity of life, or the playing of god.

It is about the stupidity, arrogance and complete wimpish-ness of someone who should know better.

This is a woman, one who is most likely educated with resources (IVF is generally a procedure for only the rich, the very lucky and the very determined.)

Who has gone through major trauma requiring self-administered shots, multiple medication and ultrasounds, procedure under general anaesthetic, wild emotional rollercoasters, manic scheduling, interrupted work schedules and often less than sympathetic medical staff.

Who is then so horrified at the result of a twin pregnancy that she elects to go through another procedure, another emotional rollercoaster with terrible guilt, difficult conversations and massive social disapproval if it ever got out.

All this at fourteen weeks gestation?

Are they insane?

At fourteen weeks, a fetus is most definitely a baby.

It isn’t a sea creature-looking alien.

It is an identifiable baby with features often so distinct that heritage can be seen.

And what is so terrible about having twins anyway?

Could the couple be so in debt from the IVF that the thought of bringing up two babies was crippling?


Could there be worries that a marriage would break down with the stress of twins?


But the idea that these couples would be overwhelmed, financially embarrassed or emotionally stricken is laughable when you consider what they’ve already been through, that families all over the world cope with twins and more, what others deal with and worse every single day.

No-one gets any guarantees in life.

We’ve all faced similar challenges.

And like the two women above who were surprised by twins, we deal with them in ways more creative than killing.

But what makes it all completely egregious to my mind is this:

It is totally avoidable.

Couples choose the number of embryos they wish to put back into the woman’s uterus.

Putting back two embryos is common and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that if both implant, the woman will be pregnant with twins.

And just in case you’re not a genius, and even if you are –

The clinic tell you.

So if you really, really don’t want to have twins, why would you risk it?

Because you can.

Because there’s a remedy, a get-out clause if it doesn’t go quite as you planned.

It’s called selective reduction and it involves injecting poison into the heart of your unborn baby so that it stops.


We’re not talking a teenager caught up in the moment and and having unprotected sex in the back of a car.

We’re not talking about über-fertile women who elect to have an abortion at seven weeks.

And we’re certainly not talking about a woman who has fallen pregnant after being raped.

We’re talking about an older woman with funds who has carefully and consciously set a goal.

And researched and implemented the most likely way to achieve that goal.

And when she overshoots the target, she backpedals like an unscrupulous salesman who’s sold her client a pup.

Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York is one of the largest providers of the procedure.

Last year 38 of the center’s 61 reductions started out as twin pregnancies.

That’s 38 fetuses killed for a lifestyle choice.

Over sixty percent of the total number.

And all could have been avoided, one way or another.

There’s only room in your apartment for one baby?

Husband wasn’t 100% supportive and is now threatening to leave?

The dog will be jealous?

It is unconscionable.

These women need to quit whining.

Grow up.

And develop a backbone.

By fourteen weeks, their baby already has.


So what do you think? Am I being overly judgmental? Should selective reduction be allowed in these circumstances? Or does a woman’s rights over her body trump all? Were you even aware of selective reduction or was it a new concept to you? Let me know in the comments!


{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
August 16, 2011 at 3:20 am

As you point out life is indeed complicated.
Mary E. Ulrich recently posted..Should I rent a billboard? Finding roommates | Part 9My Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

It is, Mary. Complicated, complicated. But so simple sometimes too, don’t you think?


August 16, 2011 at 6:42 am

Whoa – I’m all for women’s rights. And I support our choice to do what we need to do, but it isn’t a free pass for all situations. It isn’t a form of birth control. It’s for rape situations, and when the fetus might have a horrible genetic condition, and twins? I don’t know. I guess I can’t really judge until I’m in that situation, which I hope never to be. Regardless of what is done, it can’t be easy.
Susan recently posted..Cheating on Your Primal Lifestyle DietMy Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I think what is so complicated about this one is that it’s new, it’s growing and it’s an issue most of us don’t, thankfully, have to consider. It is requiring us to think hard about what we believe and why.


Amanda August 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

I posted the NYT article on our Facebook page this weekend and the page literally exploded with comments. I was going to write a response article, but yours is just amazing, I had to share it with all of them.
Amanda recently posted..Kristen of The Favia FamilyMy Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Thank you for doing that, Amanda. I will check out your page. 🙂


Fenny August 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

I am with you all the way, Alison. These couples (should) know what they are doing. Human life is not soemthing you play with! Now I want it, now I don’t.

After conception, I consider a fetus a human being, a person. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ever reasons to abort. But, in my view, it is no different than killing someone outside the womb. Also, abortion brings its own trauma to and problems in life.

I shudder at the idea that it will become easier and easier to decide who will live and who won’t…

Thanks for writing this post!
Fenny recently posted..Five Minute Friday – Beauty!My Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I’m hoping, Fenny, that this article and the reaction to it will redouble the efforts of the ethics committees that exist for clinics to hash out these kinds of scenarios. These committees take their job very seriously and I am heartened by the stance of many medical practitioners who will not take part in this procedure for these reasons. The best case scenario I think is for counseling to take place *before* any treatment is undertaken so that the right decisions can be taken up front.


christina August 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

I left this comment on the Multiples & More facebook post, but I’ll leave it here as well.

I would agree except for the comment about her understanding reducing triplets. I recognize that there may be situations where that is medically the “best-case scenario”, but I think its incredibly irresponsible to generalize and say that its safer to reduce any triplet pregnancy. I sit here watching my three healthy and developmentally on track 6 month olds who were born at 33 weeks and spent 5 weeks in the NICU after 2 months of bed rest. Yes triplet pregnancy carries a lot of risk and there are many tragic stories of families losing their babies before viability or who are born with serious birth defects. But there are also countless families who had just as many risks and now have three healthy children to love for the rest of their lives. Triplet pregnancy is far from a guaranteed tragedy…there are so many ways that doctors can take care of women pregnant with triplets, leading to the birth of three healthy babies. Triplets deserve a fighting chance and not to be generally regarded as a pregnancy that is too high risk to continue with. Its unfair how many expecting mothers are convinced by their doctors and people’s opinions online that if they don’t terminate one of their babies that they’re certain to lose all of them and risk their own lives as well. Its simply not true.
christina recently posted..Grant’s First BirthdayMy Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hi Christina:
I can understand your point against the selective reduction of triplets. You had an excellent outcome for your triplet pregnancy – better than my twin one which ended at 32w – and I agree reductions shouldn’t be automatic in *any* situation. Thank you for offering your perspective. When I did IVF, I wasn’t prepared for triplets so put back only two embryos in order to avoid facing this kind of decision. It simply wasn’t one I wanted to countenance.


Annette August 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

I am sitting here, looking at my beautiful 8-month-old boy/girl twins, stunned and in tears. It is indeed a brave new world. And I also can’t help but think of the words of Mother Teresa, who said “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you can live as you wish.”
Annette recently posted..All Is WellMy Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hi Annette:

That quote truly is remarkable isn’t it? Very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.


Emily faliLV
August 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Annette – I love that quote.
Thank you for sharing.
Emily faliLV recently posted..Afternoon Playdate with @MomCentral @Infantino and @theStep2company #Blogher11My Profile


Cherry Woodburn August 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

As you know I read the article and it caused me to reflect a lot on the issue of abortion. I don’t want to tidy up the term and call it reduction, it’s still a choice to abort. I had a lot of the same thoughts you expressed in this post but if I’m pro-choice, saying the woman has the right to choose then doesn’t she also have this choice too? I don’t parse my pro-choice views and limit it to rape victims or saving the life of the mother although I do feel more strongly about those situations. I don’t judge it if it was a teenage girl in the back of the car who I’m excusing as dumb or a 38 year old woman who also made a mistake. That’s why I find this one so hard to take a position on. If it’s past the 3 month mark, which is my line in the sand (yet flexible depending on circumstances). Well that’s the point , do I say choice is available only under certain conditions that I agree with? Because once we start limiting it, I do think it’s easier and easier to encroach on the right to choice. Now all that’s my philosophical thinking. There’s no way I could have a reduction/abortion. BUT AS SOON AS I SAY THAT, not ever having been in the situation, the truth is I don’t ever know what I would do because my circumstances would be unique, as is everyone’s. Thanks for a great, heartfelt, provocative post. Cherry


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I think you voice, Cherry, what so many of us struggle with. The cognitive dissonance of the two opposing thoughts – pro-choice but not in some circumstances – is difficult to manage and reconcile. I think the reason why I am able to take such a stand is three-fold: a) it is avoidable with forethought and careful consideration of the facts and b) it takes place so late in the pregnancy and c) I faced exactly this situation but did not choose to make such a decision.


Twingle Mommy August 16, 2011 at 9:51 am

The NYT article made me sick! I have a singleton and twins. My kids are 21 months apart and I did IVF for both pregnancies. I cannot imagine seeing my twins as a burden instead of a blessing. My son has special needs, but that’s not the worst thing that could have happened to him. The worst thing would be if he wasn’t here.
I don’t understand why a woman would transfer two embroys if she didn’t want twins. And the article annoyed me to no end that the doctors and moms justified their actions because of possible complications. As if there are no complications with a singleton. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are special needs kids out there that aren’t multiples, right???? Is this how we are going to see special needs kids now, as expendable??? Lets abort, the kid might not be perfect and I don’t want to deal with it.
Also the mom who said she wouldn’t be a good mom if she had twins. I’m sorry are we twin moms bad? Are we not good enough because we have larger families???? No one can imagine how they are going to handle twins when they are pregnant, but we do it. Our kids are alive and well right? Ugh!!!!! As you can see, this article fired me up! I love your take on it. Do you mind if I post it on my blog?
Twingle Mommy recently posted..Carmex Review and Giveaway-RafflecopterMy Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Post away, Twingle Mommy!


Fenny August 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

@Cherry I think I understand your point concerning choice. Women’s rights… well, what about the baby’s rights???

Just raising the question. I don’t have answers to all possible scenarios, who has? But I hear so much about *my* rights that I can’t help thinking: when you have consentual sex, you know the risks, when you get involved in IVF the same.

When your choice is taken from you: that is a whole other issue I my opinion.

Fenny recently posted..Five Minute Friday – Beauty!My Profile


Alison Golden August 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

It is true that the risks are well known upfront – if we stop to consider them. We need to take steps, in all things, to consider the outcome of our actions before we move forward especially when the risks have far reaching consequences for ourselves and others.


Sheri S August 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I am one of those people that were given the option and urged by my high risk doctor to reduce my triplet pregnancy. From the beginning I was clearly against it. The doctors gave me time to think about it and I think I thought about it for about 3 seconds. How could you continue your life having one or two of those children and not know what your other child would have been like. My husband and I often talk about it: “What if she wasn’t here(pointing to one of our children)? My life would not be complete, not ever knowing who she was, or the person (god-willing) she will grow up to be. My girls were born at 30 weeks and had to put up a fight for their lives. I’d rather they have the chance to fight for their lives rather than someone else deciding that fate for them.


Alison Golden August 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience, Sheri. It would be very interesting to know if women who choose this procedure (triplets or twins, lifestyle choice or medical/safety reason) think like this. Or not. I do think it varies a lot at what point during their pregnancy, women connect emotionally with their babies. My connection came very slowly, however, I was still very clear I didn’t want a reduction.


Emily faliLV
August 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I completely agree with all you said here – and teared up at the thought of having to watch my children slip away.

Here is my two cents on this. If you are using IVF to get pregnant – and you don’t want twins you should be implanting only one embryo at a time. If that embryo happens to split, do they not feel like they are selectively reducing a part of their living baby? It was literally part of the child that will remain. I just don’t understand why anyone would do that. And if it is because carrying two poses a danger to the mother (I am sure there have to be cases out there), they shouldn’t (IMO) be doing IVF but looking at surrogacy instead…
While I believe in the right for a woman to choose, if someone told me they willingly did this because they didn’t want twins – I would not be able to control myself from judging that person. (which I know isn’t my place either…)
Like I said – just my two cents.
Emily faliLV recently posted..Afternoon Playdate with @MomCentral @Infantino and @theStep2company #Blogher11My Profile


Alison Golden August 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I would have a hard time, too, Emily. As you can tell…


Caren with a "C" August 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Wow… that is so awful. So many people would adopt that baby if they were not willing to raise it. I think I am stupified to say anymore on the subject… just flabbergasted.
Caren with a “C” recently posted..Are You Thinking About Buying a Netbook?My Profile


Alison Golden August 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I had the same reaction, Caren, when I first read it. Just couldn’t believe it. Over the next day, I kept having conversations in my head and then decided to write this. Helped me process my thoughts.


Jill August 17, 2011 at 9:42 am

I don’t agree in abortion of any healthy baby EVER. Even rape cases. As the law stands it’s her choice. I don’t know the whole story in a case of violence, but an innocent baby never chooses to be created, no matter the circumstances. There are so many gray areas, and notice I said healthy baby. There are cases when the child will not have a quality of life. In that instance, I think it’s up to the dr/parents to decide what they think is best – but still, I hope they don’t abort a baby just because they’d have down syndrome or are a dwarf.
Jill recently posted..Pineapple Banana Smoothie with HoneyMy Profile


Alison Golden August 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Thank you for your perspective, Jill. I appreciate your leaving a comment. This story must be so totally against your views.


Jill August 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

still, this post was SOOO interesting!! I love reading all perspectives! 😀
Jill recently posted..Pineapple Banana Smoothie with HoneyMy Profile


Kristl Story August 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I was intrigued by the title of your article since my husband is a twin, and then I was shocked by the content of your article. I had no idea that this was even possible or that someone would even want it! Thanks for sharing!
Kristl Story recently posted..Saving on Back-to-School ClothesMy Profile


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm

You’re welcome, Kristl. I guessed that this might be news to some.


Whitney August 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Allison, I completely agree. I have 2 week old twin boys conceived with the assistance of clomid. Even though we are still in the extremely overwhelmed, sleep deprived, new parent haze I couldn’t imagine it any other way. My two boys are so unique and special, I feel so blessed to have each of them!


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Congratulations, Whitney! I remember those days well. Including the overwhelm. I couldn’t even look at both of them sleeping without feeling overwhelmed 😉 Enjoy those boys!


Glynis Jolly
August 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Alison, no, you are not being too judgemental. I’m worse by a landslide. After all the prodding and poking medical staff have done to me because of my disability, I have come to the conclusion that it should all be left up to Mother Nature. Science has made us freaks in some ways whether it shows or not. Why can’t we just let nature take care of it?


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I’ve had a few pokes and prods in my time too, Glynis. I’ve benefited from the miracles science can provide and wouldn’t want to see others be deprived of that but some forethought to maximize the advantages wouldn’t go amiss in these cases.


The Damsel in Dis Dress
August 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

What a thought provoking post. I haven’t been in this position or faced with that choice, but I cannot understand how a person can feel ok about having a reduction at 14 weeks. **cry
The Damsel in Dis Dress recently posted..what’s in the fridge?My Profile


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

My guess is that they don’t feel OK about it, Damsel, but they feel worse about the alternative. 🙁


Jsmom3 August 18, 2011 at 12:54 am

I found out I was pregnant with twins at 10 weeks. It was not IVF but just the plain old way. I also have a heart condition which makes all pregnancy dangerous for me. All that said when my OB suggested we select because my heart might not handle the very significant blood flow increase with twins I was horrified. I can see medically how it could be necessary in cases such as mine, or others, but the decision would be excruciating. I didn’t do it, but I prayed mighty hard that my decision didn’t kill me to save the babies. I can’t see it ever being a lifestyle choice. If it is a medical necessity for any parent i hope the world would offer the parents compassion for their choice.


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Wow, that must have been scary. Pregnancy is scary enough, twins especially but you were brave to do that. I’m glad it worked out for you. 🙂


August 18, 2011 at 7:02 am

Annette’s quote by Mother Teresa sums up my thoughts–although mine are not 1/2 as eloquent.

A very provocative subject, and a well-planned response, as always, Alison.

I’ve never understood how people could be so selfish with their reproductive options when there are couples who anguish every day over that spare room or area that sits childless.

I prayed for twins when I became pregnant–didn’t happen, but I felt so blessed and grateful, nonetheless.

I really appreciate your experiences, your insightful look at life, and your wonderful writing:).
Linda recently posted..How To Suck at PsychotherapyMy Profile


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Thank you, Linda. I think the anguish to which you refer isn’t reproducible in those who haven’t experienced it. They simply cannot comprehend how it feels. It’s like a private club. Lucky us, huh? Seriously. We experienced it and also escaped. Those that aren’t able to, my heart goes out to them. But perhaps that’s patronizing. I don’t know, it’s a tricky line to negotiate.


August 18, 2011 at 8:42 am

Wow. I just can’t imagine what it must be like to be in that situation! Very compelling topic!
Charise recently posted..Help Me Save Lives in the Horn of Africa!My Profile


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I think it is difficult to imagine, Charise. But because I have been in that position, I felt compelled to discuss it. Or, rather, tear it apart.


August 18, 2011 at 10:35 am


I won’t say much because, frankly I am saddened.

I understand abortion of a fetus, that fetus in anonymous if the mother chooses. But to abort a “sister” or “brother” of the future loved baby is hard to swallow. That fetus already has an identity by default.

Not to mention the selective abortion puts the wanted fetus at risk. Like you said, why put so much thought and money into the procedure to get rid of one??

That’s all. I know life will never be fair but as humans I wish we would use that amazing organ called a brain every so often.

Allie recently posted..Crock Pot Blogging: Set It and Forget It, My Way of AutomatingMy Profile


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Ah yes, the brain. For those times when it lapses or otherwise fails us, I hope wiser heads in the form of doctors will prevail. That’s why I welcome the highlighting of this practice and specifically it’s huge growth in recent years in the hopes that it will strengthen the parties on the ethics committees that decide clinic policy in these kinds of situations.


August 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Hi Alison,

I think you are a very brave girl posting this. The topic of abortion is so complex and discussions get so heated that I respect you for voicing your opinions on this.

I never knew this was happening. How does a parent choose which life to keep? How do they live with that?

Beth recently posted..Engagement Gifts Ideas for the BrideMy Profile


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Thanks, Beth. Really, it’s a compulsion I am unable to prevent. 😉 I think the discussion here has been intelligent and calm and for that I am grateful.


Gwynne August 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I’m not going to be popular, here, and am playing a bit of devil’s advocate. (I actually believe that if one is not willing to give birth to twins, one should only implant singly. That said, so many couples are *desperate* to have a baby, their judgment may get a little hazy, and/or they may be employing the part of their mind that has been cut off from emotion due to excessive disappointment and frustration.)

Bear with me..

Farmers routinely plant more seeds than are necessary in order to increase the chance of fertilization and a healthy stock from which to choose. They must first wait to see how the seeds will grow – they can’t dig them out a dew days after they’ve been planted. They have to wait until they’ve poked through the soil and have taken quite a hold. The seeds that grow too closely and may threaten the vitality of the seedling they’re next to are always plucked. This is standard practice. These are tiny bundles of life, full of potential, which are terminated in the business of growing things.

Aren’t IVF doctors farmers, in essence? Why do we take part of the process but then reject the other? If the answer is “well, it gives me the heebie jeebies”.. then you can choose never to have a reduction of your own. But it seems possibly a bit less than open-minded to refuse to accept that there are people in the world who do not believe that life/soul/self begins at conception, and who see no wrong in creating space for their remaining baby to thrive for the next 4,160 weeks of their life instead of struggle.

I absolutely give you deep appreciation, Alison, for being willing to share your thoughts on this – your perspective and history help me to understand the issue better and even if we’re not in the same part of the book, I am glad to hear your thoughts and the thoughts of commenters.


Alison Golden August 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hi Gwynne:

Thank you for your brave comment. 🙂

It is certainly true that our judgment may not be operating optimally due to drugs, hormones and the like. And desperation for success, especially if this is the final cycle, can make for hasty decision making especially as the final discussion re. number of embryos to replace can take place literally a couple of minutes before reintroduction.

And it’s true that doctors are like farmers. We even call the egg collection process the ‘harvest.’ To use your metaphor, the first ‘weeding out’ takes place before re-introduction into the woman’s body – the best embryos are selected for re-introduction into the womb, others are frozen if they are good enough, the rest are…the word typically used is ‘discarded.’ If someone believes life begins at conception, I suspect even this will be repulsive. Dealing with infertility causes us to fudge those deep beliefs if we have them.

As I mentioned to Sheri above, I think different women connect emotionally with their pregnancies at different points due to a number of variables. For me, it wasn’t until later, much later, not until after my babies were born, in fact, and even then it was a process over time. It certainly wasn’t a one-time flood of emotion. And so, if I consider that, I can also understand that some women would not connect emotionally with a 14-week fetus.

But one thing (I didn’t mention in the post but was in the NYT article) which caused me a lot of concern was that this is a growing trend. In 1997, only 15% of reductions at Mt Sinai Medical Ctr were from two to one, now it’s over 60%. So it seems it is becoming more acceptable/available and that is worrying to me and suggests a trivializing of the procedure.

So while I accept that judgment may be hazy and compromised by desperation and understand that some women wouldn’t see it as killing a life, seeing it as the better of two options (even given the risk of losing the whole pregnancy,) I still feel, and I think this is my real issue, that this decision doesn’t fit what this blog is about.

This blog is about women doing the brave thing not the easy thing. It’s about making lemonade from lemons, being creative and resourceful. About women who are dealt a rough, unexpected hand and dealing with it, like the women I mentioned at the beginning, with grace and dignity. These are women I really admire. This is what I try to be. (I don’t always succeed.) And to me, in this instance, being brave would be keep both babies.

I can see the argument that reducing a twin pregnancy could be considered a brave decision by some. Sometimes it is better to retreat from a battle in order to win the war. I get that, but I also know that often situations aren’t as bad as we think they will be or if they are, tremendous growth can be realized along with tremendous confidence which in turn derives other benefits. I think this is one of those situations. I’m sure, in the long term, almost no twin mom would look back and wish they had reduced their twins to a singleton. And that would seem to be a good litmus test.

Gwynne, your comment made me think some more. Thank you for giving me the prompt to do that and articulate my thoughts further. That’s what I love about writing this blog. (And I’m even doing it surrounded by two eleven year-olds and to a background of the theme music to Futurama ;-))


Dead Cow Girl August 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I hope this becomes a “how can we get the cost down so we aren’t tempted to transfer so many” instead of the “how can we let those people play god with all that crazy technology” issue as the pro-lifers are trying to make it.

I think reducing simply because you can’t deal with twins is cowardly – but so is aborting because you can’t handle a kid right now. But I still don’t want it to be illegal.

I started my own post on this – but the whole idea, and the whole politics of it, makes my head hurt.

It would be nice if insurance companies would realize they would pay less in the long run to pay for a couple rounds of IVF, rather then the outcome of multiples in the NICU for a couple weeks/months etc. Then maybe couples would transfer fewer as the number to transfer would no longer be made based on finances.
Dead Cow Girl recently posted..What item in your dungeon do you think should be in everyone’s bedroom?My Profile


August 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Wow, what a deep topic. I don’t have any personal experience with this issue and don’t know anyone else that has either. I can’t imagine where a woman must be to make a decision like that and I certainly can’t begin to understand it.

From where I sit it doesn’t make any sense. Just no sense.
Brenna recently posted..Let’s start the new school year off right: green, green, and more greenMy Profile


Alison Golden August 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote this Brenna, and no, it still doesn’t make any sense. As Angie says below – this is a creation just for the couple.


Angie Atchley
August 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

AMEN! Children are NOT a “lifestlyle” choice. No matter how they are conceived. You choose to implant 2 or 3 and the 2 or 3 survive then THAT is the amount of children you raise. Yes, I am speaking from a voice of assisted fertility. But even if I weren’t, I don’t think it would change. Thank you for writing this Alison. If we create something because science gives us power to now, does not mean we can uncreate it without conscious. Seriously?? If You choose to stop a beating heart, you are killing something. And in this case, it’s something you created just for you…….
Angie Atchley recently posted..From Straight to Curls: A How ToMy Profile


Alison Golden August 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

That’s a very good point, Angie. ‘Something created just for you…’ Indeed.


Alice October 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I think if you can afford one baby, you can afford two. Full stop.

If you can’t afford a baby, then you can’t. But there is no argument, no budget so carefully carved out for the next eighteen years expenses, no convenience large enough that an extra baby can’t fit in where you have made room for one.

For the doubling of effort in the first year or two, you make up for it in the fact that they will look after one another, divert and educate one another, teach one another, protect one another, support one another and you forever after that.

My mum has MS, and was diagnosed before she fell pregnant with me and my twin brother. From the time we were able to sit up until the time we had to go to school, she would put us out into the garden and could just rest & watch us play.

We shared piano lessons, and I’m pretty sure my parents got us a two for one deal at after school gymnastics classes.

Our parents saved on private schools & tutors by having us help one another learn – and if that wasn’t a genius move, I don’t know what. Arbitrary assignment of teacher status is the best way to get a kid one chapter ahead of the game – specially a kid who wants to help someone else to learn.

My parents thought creatively about high schools for us and could afford to send my brother to a private school, while I went to a selective (public) high school. Both were excellent schools. They paid 1x fees for 2x excellent educations. We both got in the top .5 percentile of the state for our final exams (my brother in the top .05, but who’s boasting?)

As we grew up, and have made our separate lives, we still turn to one another for help – I certainly feel more comfortable asking my brother for help in a crisis than asking my parents for money (& I am way more likely to pay him back!).

I don’t get the money argument, I don’t get the ‘no time’ argument, I don’t get the lifestyle argument. Babies make room for themselves in your life.
Alice recently posted..I never caught the imagery of birds;they are too made of tiny…My Profile


Alison Golden October 12, 2011 at 5:21 am

Great, insightful answer, Alice. It is true, we can be truly creative when we want to be and until we are tested we don’t know how much. Thank you for commenting in such detail. 🙂


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: