Fertility Treatment Leads to Twins, Then Abortion

Author recounts her use of 'selective reduction'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2010 6:30 PM CDT
Updated Jul 24, 2010 6:22 AM CDT
A Mother's Ordeal: Fertility Treatment, Then Abortion
A woman's fertility treatment resulted in unwanted twins.   (Shutterstock)

At age 43, Bettina Paige turned to fertility treatments to get pregnant to provide a sibling for her young son. It worked, too well. When the doctor used the word she didn't want to hear—twins—Paige, faced with the possibility that "we’d have to leave our beloved neighborhood for a place with cheaper rents," decided to use her "contingency plan" of selective reduction. "I’d never thought—or felt—through actually using it," she writes in a possibly wrenching, possibly infuriating account for Elle. "I didn’t even know how the procedure was done. Now I was horrified at the idea of terminating one of the fetuses growing inside me by injecting potassium chloride into his or her heart."

Paige recounts her doubts and guilt, but undergoes the procedure—picking to keep the girl fetus, because she already had a son—and explains how she made her peace with it. "What I couldn’t foresee, lying there on the table, was how guilty I’d feel watching my son struggle with having to share his mother with only one sibling: the girl I’d give birth to seven months later. Nor could I anticipate the number of times that I’d think to myself—as I stumbled out of bed to breast-feed in the middle of the night, or yelled 'No!' to my son as he threw a ball too close to the baby, or harangued my husband with the tally of how many diapers each of us had changed—thank God we didn’t have twins. We’d made the right decision, for us." (Read more artificial insemination stories.)

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