How far would you go to become pregnant? We asked readers to respond to an MSNBC.com story on women who cross the world in search of fertility help — part of our special report, "BabyQuest: The modern pursuit of parenthood."
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"I would give every penny I have, or ever will earn, to carry a baby to term," writes Janelle of Milford, Mass. "I would travel a million miles to deliver a healthy baby. No distance is too far and no amount of money is too much."
Still, many readers urge couples to adopt instead of pursuing in vitro fertilization. “My goal was to become a mother, not to become pregnant,” writes Rachel of Sacramento, Calif. “Too many couples put too much emphasis on having their 'own' child. … The minute I held my son, we became an instant family.”
Read on for more responses.
My wife and I tried IVF in the US, Venezuela, Brazil, and finally Vietnam. ... The success we found was in the last and least expected location — Vietnam. I would do it again, and encourage people to look at alternatives to the high price and low success rates in the US. By the way, we have beautiful and healthy fraternal twins (boy and girl). A dream come true.
— Joel, Katy, Texas
I am an Australian/US citizen living in Utah at the moment. My husband and I decided to try for a baby in 2000 without success. We tried two unsuccessful rounds of IUI, and then addressed the IVF situation. The US was just horribly priced, so I inquired into Australia. It turned out it was considerably less expensive. So in 2003/2004 we decided to return to Australia for Christmas and a 10-year reunion. I did my IVF procedure with ICSI during that 5-week vacation. It resulted in a beautiful baby boy.
— Laurelle, Springville, Utah
We have taken a trip to South Africa and have been blessed with a daughter. I would highly recommend to the couples seeking this option to research this option and if it suits them, they should try it. We did and we are happy that we did.
— Roger, Charlotte, N.C.
My husband and I spent approx. $90,000 to have our 3-year-old son through the help of a surrogate mother and egg donor. We said we'd never bankrupt ourselves to have a child and although we came close we are one of the lucky couples to have achieved a pregnancy through these means.
— Molly, Watertown, Mass.
We have been trying to become pregnant and have gone through the IVF process with the help of good insurance. Once our maximum limit on infertility benefits is reached, traveling to another country is not out of the question. What more could it possibly hurt?
— Karen, Mandan, N.D.
In the upcoming months I will be traveling to Spain to have IVF done. The cost of going and having a treatment done (including airfare and hotel) is still considerably less than half the price of what it would cost here. Also in Spain, if it does not work the first time, you don't pay for the transfer. My total trip, with IVF and medication, cost $6,500.
— Sarah, Detroit
I'm only 18, but I do plan on having children someday. I would not travel to great lengths to become pregnant. If I had problems getting pregnant, I would try IVF if I could use my own eggs and my husband’s sperm. If this was not the case, or I still wasn't getting pregnant, I would just adopt. There are plenty of children out there who need good, loving homes. Unfortunately, I feel that less of these children are finding homes because, thanks to IVF, many people now rule out adoption.
— Elizabeth, Escalon, Calif.
No one should say what they "wouldn't" do unless they have been faced with a doctor telling them the only way they can have a baby is through IVF. My husband and I are facing this problem right now. We are considering traveling out of the country if we can find a reputable doctor, because we can't afford the high price here in the U.S.
— L., Lithia Springs, Ga.
I think IVF itself is too far. Hasn't anyone ever heard of adoption? I understand the pull to have children of your own, but people using donor eggs still aren't getting children of their own anyway! Why spend all that money trying to get pregnant, when all of that money could be spent towards adopting a child and then taking care of that child?
— Anonymous, Tucson, Ariz.
I have gone to great lengths to get pregnant. I am now in debt and cannot afford to go through the process again (or adoption). I hear all the stories about donor eggs, another country & adoption. I hear nothing on how to live with the loss of the dream for children. I am always hearing/reading about how people go through this ordeal with a final happy ending. I am telling everyone there is not always a happy ending and would like to hear how other people feel or deal with this issue.
— Bonnie Kammerer, Fallston, Md.
I think that if you have the money and the strength to go through the treatment it's worth it. Unfortunately in the USA, fertility treatment is extremely expensive. If I could get the same treatment in another country much cheaper, why not? You just know that when going through all the fertility treatment, that if the end result is a child, that he/she is going to be so loved and that is what counts.
— Angie Baker, Millis, Mass.
There seems to be no real cure or true "fix" for most of us. Some people just get lucky and others don't. But on our end (women who suffer from infertility) we need to get smart. There are great hospitals and health care systems in other countries and if we do our due diligence, we can take the control back and hopefully get what we want — for much less money.
— Dawn Alzina, Redondo Beach, Calif.
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