Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In defense of the reproductively challenged uterus... And Nicole Kidman.

It disturbs me to see so many people making personal comments about the wonderful news coming out of Nashville this week. Really, it does. You should be ashamed people.

Poor Nicole Kidman. I really feel for her situation. What should be such a happy time for her and the entire Kidman-Urban family and people feel they have the right to make incredibly personal statements about what a fake she is and how having a baby via surrogate is a complete joke. How she shouldn't have waited to have kids. It's all over the interwebs in comments on articles and blogs and Facebook (well, certainly my news feed). It's a disgrace.

Agreed - the choice of the descriptor "gestational carrier" to describe their surrogate was, perhaps, a little unfortunate, but infertility is really no laughing matter. It's not a joke and it's just not funny, people. It's not a matter for public derision, speculation and scorn. People like Nicole Kidman should be celebrated for their strength in going through this time consuming and emotional process to become a parent, not ridiculed and mocked. After seeing the public response I don't blame them for keeping it a secret for this long.

Infertility is incredibly hurtful and painful. It can, for some, be soul destroying. For many of us, the desire to have a baby is all consuming. If Nicole Kidman could have had this baby herself I have no doubt she would have. She looks like she's a fantastic mum to little Sunday and she really loves her. I can only imagine that being pregnant is one of the most beautiful things a woman can go through and I don't think it's something that would be often given up by choice. I don't think many women are honestly that vain.

Unfortunately, for many people IVF is not a choice. It's expensive (even more so now, thanks to Nicola Roxon's changes to the Medicare benefits payable), emotional, tiring, painful and time consuming. It's hours spent filling out forms, waiting in doctors surgeries, injecting yourself with hormones and waiting for test results, often after years of trying naturally. It's oceans of tears cried every month when the prospect of having your own baby gets just that little further away.

The emotional and physical cost of infertility can breakdown relationships and marriages. Anyone who hasn't faced the uncertainty of infertility can't begin to imagine the horrific prospect of not being able to have a child. On a good day it's almost bearable, on a bad one the pain can be so bad it defies description. And often there is no explanation as to why it has happened.

And to top it all off, the NSW Government recently legislated to make it a criminal offense to engage in a surrogacy agreement whereby the gestational carrier is paid. I get that it's about protecting people from exploitation but really? A criminal offense? One you can go to jail for? Please. Ridiculous much? And not only are they trying to stop it happening in NSW but the law also applies to overseas surrogacies in territories where the NSW Government has no jurisdiction.

With more and more people resorting to IVF and fertility treatment as a last resort to fall pregnant, should we not be trying to think of a better way to help rather than hinder the process? I don't think a jail term is an appropriate response to a couple desperately wanting to have children who have no other choice. It seems completely disproportionate. And some might even say that it's blatantly morally wrong. I can't imagine people who pay for a surrogate have exploitation on their mind (just the end result frankly), but don't people who go through the process of carrying someone else's baby to term deserve to be rewarded for their labour? Not all of us have a string of sisters and best friends who are lining up to carry our babies thankyouverymuch. I know it's not an option for me.

Surrogacy happens in Australia but it's not a common thing - estimates put the number of attempted pregnancies in the 30-50 per year range locally and a similar number from overseas arrangements. Senator Stephen Conroy and his wife had a baby via surrogacy in 2006. It's more common in the US where financial agreements for surrogacy are accepted. I think that regulation is probably important but not to this extent. Formalise the process, regulate it by all means, but don't put desperate parents in jail.

And for Nicole, Keith, Sunday and Faith - I just hope this time is joyous and special for them all. I know that if I ever get the chance to hold my baby in my arms, I won't care how it got there - or what other people might think of me.

Back to our usual programming tomorrow. Perhaps something dress related...



emmie gemmie said...

I am very happy for Nicole and Keith.. I hadn't read any negative comments about their new baby but it doesnt surprise me.. people can be so bitchy and critical.

My heart goes out to those who are battling against infertility. I wasn't aware of the changes to medicare or the punishment for surrogacy. I agree it's complete craziness. Talk about kicking people when they are already down :(

I wish I could wave a magic wand and then everyone who wanted a baby could have one.

Wishing you and Mr Kitty all the luck, strength and positivity you need.

Cait said...

I too was really shocked about the negative comments I've seen on various forums and blogs about Nicole and Keith. I have quite bad endometriosis and it seems like having a baby will not be a straight forward thing for me either. The lack of generosity of some people astounds me. Anyway end of my rant.
I second emmie gemmie's wish for you!

Semi Expat said...

Yes, I totally agree with you Miss Kitty, people can be very cruel. And believe you me thare are so many people who think that if you have had one child (even if it took you ages and ages and many trips to the fertility clinics etc.) you can easily have another. Not so. Absolutely not so. X

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Thanks everyone! It's a long and involved process but I do have faith that it will happen to me one day... SE - you'd be surprised the number of people who say to me "once you've had your first via IVF you'll probably have your second naturally." Ummmm - no... In fact it's highly unlikely. Qualified Fertility Specialists they are not but it seems everyone has an opinion they like to share...

Elise said...

Fantastic post Kitty.

RealEstateGirl said...

Well said Kitty! I have a good friend who went through the drain and emotional upheaval of IVF for years and having seen how she suffered, can only feel happiness for anyone lucky enough to have a baby regardless of the method that baby came about. Why shouldn't we use the science and resources at our disposal to create another life to love and teach? People should get off their high horses and like my mother always said 'if they dont have something nice to say then they shouldnt say anything at all'!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Thanks Elise and REG - It's not an easy road by any stretch but we are committed, particularly with the support of our friends.

Brasilian_Babe said...

Miss Kitty-Cat, thanks for such a well written and thought out post. I too could not believe how much negative criticism has been thrown out there about Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's surrogate pregnancy. So long as their baby is loved and brought up in a caring and safe environment, whether the baby was carried by Nicole or someone else should be a non issue.

And all the best for your and Mr Kitty in your journey. Hope all goes your way!!!

Ms Curious @ CCM said...

I didn't read this until last night. Thank you Kitty for a beautifully written and heartfelt article.

When I saw the news about Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's new baby last week, my first reaction was "why is this on ABC news?", followed by "good on them" and moving on.

In a way it is sad that they have to make an announcement, but I guess this way they can control how the message is delivered, at least in the first instance.

Yes, they are celebrities and there is a price to pay for the fame, but I do not understand why some people think that it is fair game to be vicious and judgmental about another person's life, just because they are in the public eye.

And the law on surrogate pregnancy ... it is incredible in the worst sense of the word. Who proposed it? Bring on the election!

I wish Kidman and Urban all the best with their new arrival, and likewise to you and Mr Kitty on your life-creating journey <3

ali said...

As a 2x surrogate, I didn't find the term "gestational carrier" to be unfortunate at all. It is what it is. I've been called worse, lol.

Overall I do agree with what you wrote. I've never suffered through infertility. I only came to be a surrogate because I had many friends going through it (and miscarriages, stillbirth and one loss to SIDS). Heck, when I first began looking into surrogacy, I was shocked to hear that surrogates received compensation. Geesh, color me clueless five years ago.

Thank you for this post and being so honest.