|Unsure how to credit but I got it from RESOLVE's page.|
1) The whole "Money can't buy happiness" and yet it CAN thing. Um, I know you spend lots of money on IVF or various other infertility treatments or adoption in the hopes of having a family that will bring you happiness, but this idea that YOU BOUGHT HAPPINESS makes me uncomfortable. It's a tiny step away from I BOUGHT MY BABY: something often stated by critics of IVF but especially third-party reproduction or adoption -- anything where money exchanges hands and it results in a human joining your household. It brings up this whole murky thing where we did not buy donor eggs or donor sperm or sell our embryos and we are not buying the baby we hope to adopt, but money does change hands for services and expenses around those processes (and the sperm donor one is really hard to argue because we did, literally, "Add to Cart" on that one). But to say that paying for IVF is "buying happiness" really blurs that line and stirs up icky silt. Not to mention, you can't actually buy happiness.
2) Bringing the monetary thing into it really highlights the financial inequity of IVF. IVF is not actually accessible to everyone because it is costly, and if you need higher-level interventions like donor material or gestational carrier, the costs skyrocket quickly. Ditto for things like assisted hatching, intralipids, IVIG, genetic screening. If you can't afford it, IVF or complicated IVF is simply not an option for you. You can go into debt (as many, many people do), but it becomes a heavy weight overshadowing this supposed happiness you've bought. And many people do not see IVF as an affordable option and don't pursue it, especially since it is largely not covered by health insurance in the U.S. and other countries. And so they are excluded from this sort of happiness. That apparently you can buy.
3) IVF does not equal the couple in the picture with the baby. This meme perpetuates the great fallacy that IVF works! Every time! Well, almost every time! But hang in there, it will work if you just KEEP THE FAITH! And keep paying out all that MONEY! The truth is, there are very few people for whom IVF works the first time. Most people experience more IVF failure than success, if they are lucky enough to be able to pay for multiple rounds in the first place. And for a largely meme-ignored but larger-than-you-would-think population, it never ultimately works. I take exception to this meme, because it leaves out the many, many people for whom IVF failed. Where vast sums of money were spent and yet it did NOT buy happiness. Tens of thousands of dollars (I started counting it all up in my head last night and then stopped because it literally made me feel ill, but let's say between the price of a seriously luxury car with all the options or a small home in the city near where I live) that never brought anything more than the most fleeting moment of happiness. I didn't even get a heartbeat for all that money. I did get a tube removed thanks to an ectopic, scarring in my uterus due to multiple hysteroscopies, the experience of an early miscarriage, and years of emotional trauma and exhaustion that will in some way haunt me to the end of my days in some form or another. Maybe not daily, but I will hold this grief forever. Hopefully I will also hold a baby in my arms, through adoption (and NOT bought happiness), but I worry that my too-long, too-many stint with IVF wore down my stamina. Not my capacity to be a mother or desire motherhood and parenthood for the two of us, but my emotional ability to stay in this limbo for additional years. Because I looked at the comments on this meme on the original site, and someone did protest the message that this meme is hurtful for those IVF did NOT work for, but someone else commented my FAVORITE, "At least there is another way..." I'm assuming this person meant adoption, which is another way if again: you can afford it, it is even available to you, the additional layers of complexity in parenting a child who has birth parents and developing relationships with said birth parents are a challenge you're up for, traveling and cultural layers if you are adopting internationally, court dates and healing from trauma and the possibility of not parenting a foster child you'd hoped to adopt if pursuing foster adoption, you are prepared for the heartbreaks of failed matches or other outcomes where you don't bring a baby home you thought you were, you are ready to wait a possibly very long time (after possibly waiting through infertility treatment already)...and on and on and on. But please, say "AT LEAST there is another way." So helpful.
I find this meme disturbing, in part because it is an extension of the myth that IVF works most of the time. I also find it disturbing because I wonder if I had been successful earlier on, would I feel the same way? Would I have given it a heart or a LOL face? Or would I have stopped and given a thought to the other people who might see that meme and think, WOW is that EVER not for me? and commented on its insensitivity despite my own success? Would I have given that a second thought, or just reveled in my bubble of it worked!? I don't actually know. I'd like to think it would bother me no matter what, but I am colored by my own experience over the past seven years and have a hard time accessing the me that was all hope and rainbows about IVF, or an alternative reality where this chapter of our story ended with a pregnancy and a birth and a child.
What irritates me is not the success part of the meme. It's this part, "Whoever says that money can't buy happiness has never had to pay for IVF," that pretends to be inclusive but really excludes and patently ignores those of us who paid and paid but were left without the happiness. It assumes a lot. Lately I am sensitive to a feeling that the only story that's valued on social media is the one that ends with a pregnancy or a baby, and it makes me feel like a marginalized group within a marginalized group. I don't want to take away from the joys from those who are successful, really I don't. This meme, unlike the other "miracle" ones that rub me the wrong way but I get and can pass by without comment, is in bad taste for everyone.