"...Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Romans 8:24b-25

02 July 2011

Buying a Baby (Guest Post)

I asked my husband if he would be willing to write a guest blog post for this blog.  He graciously agreed and blessed me with his willingness to be involved even in this part of our journey.  The following is his blog post.  We hope you enjoy it.  Feel free to comment. Blessings! ~Julia

“If they don’t like me for who I am, I’m not going to buy one of their used babies.”
-Jeff Bingham (Rules of Engagement)
This is a quote from the fictional character Jeff Bingham played by Patrick Warburton on  CBS’s Rules of Engagement.  In the show, Jeff and his wife Audrey struggle with infertility and are attempting to adopt.  I think this quote reveals something important about how men experience infertility and how that experience can be very different from the one that our wives experience.  The purpose of this guest blog post is to explain a chief aspect of the male experience of infertility.
I sincerely believe that the experience of infertility is different for men than it is for women.  We experience the sadness that comes monthly with our wife’s cycle.  We feel the loss of legacy that comes with the regular disappointing news.  We feel a little less human than those that seem to easily get pregnant by having sex and we certainly feel jealousy of those we deem “less worthy” of having children.  For crying out loud,  I have a regular job and make a decent amount of money while the poor and maladjusted seem to sprout kids like weeds.  

So, in all of those areas I think men and women experience infertility in a similar fashion.  There is one aspect of infertility that consumes me and probably consumes most men in this struggle.  I am referring to MONEY.  
My wife and I found out that our first IVF cycle failed in June.  The disappointment was extreme for me and I have been trying to figure out why it made my cry like Ben Stiller at the end of There’s Something About Mary.  I am sure that the regular feelings added to my sorrow as well as the expectation that it would truly work this time.  My upcoming deployment to Iraq also added to my grief because my wife will have to pursue further treatment while I am away.  Every one of these factors compounded my grief but I am focusing today on why money brought me such sorrow.  It may seem shallow, weak and intemperate but the following is genuinely how the money factor added to my grief over the failed IVF.
IVF costs a lot of money.  When you break it down an IVF cycle is a financial transaction similar to any other transaction you do on a daily basis.  You go to the grocery store, pay money and leave with groceries.  You go a fertility clinic, pay money and services are performed that are suppose to lead to a healthy child.  The “child” part is where the difference lies because there is no guarantee, yet you still spend the money.  

Let me put forth an analogy.  Suppose that you and your spouse do your homework, choose a car you like, go to a car dealership, barter a fair price and pay the money.  Then pretend that after you pay the price, the salesman tells you that the factory built the car, tax title and license were processed, the salesman received his commission for the sale but your car fell off the transport truck in transit and was destroyed.  Because services were performed you won’t be receiving a refund but we can try again next month as long as you pay for another car.  By the way; next month there is still only a 30-50% chance that the car will make it to the dealership.  

Most of us would sue if we hadn’t signed a mandatory arbitration agreement (which we all probably did.  It is just a little thing that waives our right to trial by jury but that is a side note and not the purpose of this blog).  The point is that we would be livid.  No one expects to pay tens of thousands of dollars and not get what we pay for but that is exactly what happens with a failed IVF.  I know this is not a logical argument so if you are a guy and your logical brain is picking apart my analogy just STOP.  It is an argument stemming from emotion but infertility and money are both emotional topics so I am okay with the argument.  
Let me get to my final point.  When I pay for a car I am not paying for the salesman’s commission, transport fees, factory workers salary or sales tax.  I know that is were the money goes but as the consumer I don’t care where my money goes.  They can fold the money into origami swans and light them on fire for all I care.  I just want a car.  When we do an IVF we are not paying for services we are paying for a baby.  I know the money goes to the doctor, embryologist, lab fees, hospital fees and fertility clinic staff but I am not paying the money because I want them to have money.  I am paying because I want a baby.
This is the part that makes money emotional.  Infertile couples have to pay for a baby whether it be through ART or adoption.  The thing that seems to come so easily and accidentally to 7 out of 8 couples we are required to pay for.  It is just one additional injustice in the long line of injustices that consume infertile couples' thoughts.  It is also the injustice that seems to consume my thoughts and probably the thoughts of most men.  On the bright side, if the fertility treatments work I am sure that I won’t regret a dollar of the spent money.  If it doesn’t work, well I don’t want to think about that because it will just piss me off.


  1. Well said. Love that you guest blogged.

  2. (From Julia)- I love that he guest-blogged, too :-) I will pass along your message to him. Thank you for commenting!

  3. Dear Julia and Jeff,
    I am so sorry for your pain and struggle for this great desire to have a child to create your family. I can only imagine that the disappointment is immense. I appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts and heart on this sensitive issue. One in 6 couples is struggling with fertility issues. It is a pandemic in this country. Blessings and Strength to you both!

  4. Thank you, Traci. I appreciate your comments and good will.


I would love to hear from you! The subject matter of this blog can be very sensitive. This is intended to be a place of encouragement and to be uplifting. It is never my desire to cause pain through what I write here, so please keep that in mind as you share your thoughts. Thank you.