Many people assume if you have twins you must have had IVF. Worse still, total strangers think it is perfectly fine to ask you to confirm just how your children’s conception came about.
Friends who are “older” – including those without twins – complain about attracting the same curiosity from people they barely know.
And same sex couples (“who is the father/mother?”).
The answer oh curious stranger is, “none of your business!”
Perhaps when I receive such questions, I should respond in kind by asking the stranger if he/she had sex to have their child/ren? Maybe I could throw in some other up close and personal curly questions such as their medical history and maybe what they earn?
For the record, I never answer questions about how our girls were conceived.
The reasons are simple.
- I don’t want to set up a “natural versus assisted conception” thing
- It is not just my story to tell – it’s a story shared by my family
- And It just doesn’t matter
Do you get asked if you used IVF? Would you feel okay asking a complete stranger if they had to have medical intervention to have their kids?
Why would I share such intimate details with a complete stranger? I don’t see any benefit in having this discussion.
Of course I would have to be living on another planet not to know couples that have used IVF due to one or both parents having an issue with fertility, or one parent having a congenital issue they don’t want to pass on or because they are a same sex couple in need of an egg or sperm. Or for whatever reason. There is certainly no shame in taking advantage of the wonders of medical science but it is damn personal stuff.
I sympathised with Nicole Kidman when she was forced to justify to millions of strangers all over the world her use of the term “gestational carrier”. Sure it sounded a little unusual but I think she was just saying, “hey this baby is my precious child and the technology involved is not the focus”.
It does not matter how you conceived your children as long as they are here, happy and nurtured. Whether the journey started with fours years of trying, one night of passion, or IVF, AI, GIFT or whatever is irrelevant.
It is no one’s business but yours. If you choose to tell family or friends that’s up to you. In my book, being asked by a stranger how you conceived your kids is just weird.
Have other parents of multiple birth children encountered such a question? Are we particular magnets for such inquiries or have single bub parents heard them too? Maybe the assumption is that all twins and triplets are IVF babies? Hey, prior to the first IVF bubs being born in 1978 people did have twins and triplets you know.
Has the frequent use of reproduction technology created a new social acceptance about quizzing people about how their much loved children came about?
Let us know your thoughts. Why not continue the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Nicole DunnFebruary 20, 2015
Often the first thing that people say to us as soon as they work out that our daughters are triplets, is the ‘are they natural? Or IVF?’ I find it such an offensive comment, firstly, does it really matter how they came about and secondly you are actually asking us about our sex life, pretty rude if you ask me! I am totally hopeless about deflecting the question and often explain that 2 off our girls are IVF and one is a spontaneous conception at the same time. I really shouldn’t feel the need to answer the question. If I am feeling a bit cheeky I say it was a bit of both and leave it at that, gets them thinking.
I am definitely not ashamed of the way my children were conceived but I don’t feel the need to discuss it with total strangers. And I cannot stand the inference they are in any way ‘artificial’. I am concerned that as our girls get older that people will still ask the question in front of them and they will be old enough to comprehend what they are asking.
If I had one baby at a time would people ask if that baby was IVF?’ I doubt it!
Suzanne RobinsonOctober 6, 2017
I don’t think it is anyone’s business Nicole. It is your story. I agree it doesn’t matter how the child became to be at all, the only wonderful thing is that they are here, they are loved and wanted. I agree that the question would not be asked if you had a singleton. I have not been asked this due to having my third child (who was a singleton)