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Rachel Gurevich

Jennifer Lopez, IVF, and Why We’re So Sensitive

By January 17, 2010

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Jennifer Lopez will be staring in an upcoming movie, "The Back-Up Plan", which tells the story of a woman who uses fertility treatment to get pregnant.

However, Lopez made clear in a recent interview with Elle magazine that she herself would never use IVF. According to FoxNews.com, she's quoted in the interview saying, "I ... believe in God and I have a lot of faith in that, so I just felt like you don't mess with things like that. And I guess deep down I really felt like either this is not going to happen for me or it is. You know what I mean? And if it is, it will. And if it's not, it's not going to."

There are a lot of people upset about her statement. So much so that the American Fertility Association has felt the need to come out with a statement supporting J.Lo's "right to not use IVF", just as they support those that do want to use IVF.

Now, of course, J.Lo can do (and think and say) whatever she wants. But I don't think people are upset that she wouldn't consider IVF, but upset with how she said what she said.

I think that when those of us in the infertility community read her statement, we took it personally. By her saying her faith in God is the reason she wouldn't consider IVF, it felt as if she were saying that those that do use IVF don't have faith, or don't believe in God.

Plenty of those in the infertility community are big believers, and come from all walks of life and religions. And yes, some of us have religious objections to some fertility treatments, including IVF. It can be a huge struggle.

Those people with religious objections to IVF, however, may have other options, which they may or may not know about.

Some are worried about extra embryos, or fertilization outside of the body. For these women, a procedure like GIFT may be better. Or they may ask that the doctor create only one or two embryos, even if this may lower their chances of success.

Some couples may go through special screening and testing before treatment so that any leftover embryos can be donated to another couple. Or they may keep trying for babies as long as they have leftover embryos to use.

And some will decide that IVF or any fertility treatment is just not for them, for any number of reasons. And that's fine.

But that doesn't mean that those of us that choose to use IVF don't believe in God, or have just as much faith as someone who doesn't use IVF. Some of us believe that God would want us to use IVF to have child, just like God may want us to take medication to cure any illness or disease.

I also think it's much easier for a person to say they wouldn't use IVF or fertility treatments when they conceived without help. Since J.Lo says her twins were conceived "naturally", I can't expect her to understand where those of us who can't get pregnant "naturally" are coming from.

But then again, J.Lo is only a celebrity - not a religious leader or politician. I don't know if she intended to judge anyone else. She was just talking about her personal feelings - probably without thinking about the possible wide impact her words might have on those dealing with infertility.

What are your thoughts? Please do share, I'd love to hear from you!

January 17, 2010 at 11:01 pm
(1) Malky B. says:

I’m not so sure JLo didn’t use IVF herself. I think she just wants us to believe she didn’t because of her religion. I think her statement was pretty ignorant either way. Many of us believe in G-d. If we choose to do IVF, it does not mean we do not believe. Do we hope G-d will perform a miracle and let us conceive naturally sure. But if we choose to try IVF that has nothing to do with us not believing.

January 18, 2010 at 2:54 am
(2) Jackie says:

Jennifer is a celebrity and anything she says will be put under a microscope. Whether or not she choose to use IVF is her business. If she says she didn’t, I give her the benefit of the doubt. I honestly think people are taking what she said personal when she probably doesn’t even know you. It was just a statement on what she was thinking at the time and you’re all making her feel bad for speaking the truth about what she believes. Move on people…everyone is titled to have and speak their opinions…that doesn’t mean you have to like it!

January 18, 2010 at 9:05 am
(3) Beth says:

I think many people who oppose IVF do not understand it at all. A neighbor sent me a link to a major Catholic publication that claimed that a certain natural ‘alternative’ to IVF had significantly higher success rates than IVF, so she wondered why I’d ever consider IVF in the first place.

I had to explain basic reproduction to her to make her understand that IVF was our only choice (not that I should have to justify my choice).

That said, if JLo is uncomfortable with the idea of IVF, fine. It’s kind of sad that her fertility or lack thereof is tabloid news.

January 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm
(4) Charlene says:

What “major Catholic publication” are you referring to? Our own objection to IVF is that the doctors and their field have no interest whatsoever (or simply pay lip service) in helping us understand WHY we can’t have children…and are VERY interested in our deposit. If you are referring to NaProTechnology (www.naprotechnology.com), their success rates ARE much higher than IVF AND they work with patients in finding out what’s wrong with the body and fix it–medically or surgically…to help us with our pregnancy.

January 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm
(5) tania says:

I agree with Malky B. I believe she had a little help conceiving her twins & it wasn’t just from god. Actually I’m quite sure that most of the Hollywood actresses in Jennifer’s age group & older have used some form of infertility treatments. They will never let it be known however. It just saddens me that they would have to lie about something as great as all the options we now have to conceive our wonderful babies!!

January 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm
(6) Ruby says:

I think people should stop being so judgemental. JLo is entitle to her opinion. I feel exactly like she does but that does not mean anyone who choses IVF don’t believe in God. It’s a personal choice and any comments are also personal.

Move on we have bigger things to be concern about.

January 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm
(7) Lucie says:

I think that she probably meant well, but didn’t realize that her words will be used against her at some point or time. We really don’t know everything about her either only than what she allows us to know..who knows, maybe she did have to use it in order to have kids..if anyone noticed she never had kids with any of her ex husbands right? But all of a sudden she has twins? C’mon people, open your mind a little bit, maybe she “had to come off like” that to take away the reflection of what she needed to do for herself to conceive….One never knows..all and all it’s no one’s business anyway..I don’t care..I care about real issues in life like the real people who should have more recognition for what they do to help others and they too are unfortunate…I care about real things like Haiti, not who can or can’t get pregnant.

January 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(8) Stephanie says:

I agree with you Rachel. I think its one of the many things people say that are hurtful to those dealing with infertility, but they don’t mean to be hurtful, like the “just relax and it will happen” comment. They don’t understand until you are in that situation. It would have probably been better if Jennifer would have said she wouldn’t have IVF because of her personal choice, and just left it at that. Before dealing with my own infertility, I would have said no way to IVF, but now I would consider it as a last resort.

January 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm
(9) Dani says:

J LO should never say never. She has children now, but what if whatver they did (I am sure they did something) didnt work….

January 21, 2010 at 6:50 am
(10) Diana says:

100 % with Ruby.

January 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm
(11) Bodunk says:

Who really cares what anybody says about their religion or anyone else’s religions? Mythology only affects us when it leads to wars, squanders resources or breeds strife and intolerance among believers of opposing myths.

January 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm
(12) Julie says:

I’m assuming that the people who are saying things along the line of, “move on there are more important things to worry about” have children. If you can’t/don’t you’d understand that that’s a pretty HUGE thing to worry about in your life and it can be consuming!

January 31, 2010 at 6:14 am
(13) Thajba S says:

I believe in God too, but I also know that I have to do some effort to get pregnant and have a baby, I think her statement was really ignorant, she don’t have to say that in public some people are suffering and they desperatly want a baby.

February 11, 2010 at 1:13 am
(14) Rachel says:

Who knows for sure about JLo but its amazing to me that celebrities don’t ‘come out of the closet’ about infertility. Its SO universal and common and yet apparently its still SO taboo to go public about it. They are mere mortals like the rest of us after all!! We’ve seen celebrities come out about depression and bi polar disorder YET infertility remains a hot potato, I think it’s a shame really.

March 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm
(15) shelly says:

I agree with you Beverley. But I am an atheist and to be honest I’m really sick and tired of everyone going on about they’re all waiting for God to do this and that for them. I’m sorry if that offends people but that’s the way I feel. Infertility is a MEDICAL CONDITION just like diabetes or heart disease or whatever! If you’re having a heart attack, you don’t just “leave it to God”, You get your butt to a hospital. Well what’s wrong with seeking out fertility treatment that sometimes work sometimes doesn’t just like treatment for any other disease..they sometimes work sometimes don’t.

Just for the record..I think Jennifer is lying.

April 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm
(16) Jamie says:

Everyone has a right to their opinion. I find it funny that JLo holds the faith as for the reason she would not use IVF, shouldn’t her faith have stopped her from getting 2 divorces or sleeping with men out of wedlock, or using birth control just to name a few things.
I did IVF with my son and I thank God everyday that HE THE LORD allowed me to get pregnant. It’s a 50/50 chance so GOD is in all we do, if you believe in him, he is the one who gave the knowledge!! I am currently pregnant with identical twins that yes we did IVF with so again THE LORD has given us these gifts!
I hope that JLo’s comments don’t stop someone from seeking help with a medical condition because that’s what it is!! There are many women out there who are embrassed that they couldn’t get pregnant on their own they need to realize that it’s not their fault and they have nothing to be embrassed of. I understand not wanting to tell the world your private issues but if someone has cancer they discuss it. All I am saying is it’s not against GOD and JLo is not someone who I would take advice on for anything. Good luck to all who are trying to have babies!!!

July 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm
(17) kara says:

to the one who left the comment about naprotechnology. I am Catholic and I am appalled by the Pope Paul VI Institute statements. One I went through IVF and went through rigorous testing to determine what was wrong first. They say IVF clinics don’t treat disease – that is BS. I could not move ahead until I went through 6 months of treatment, accupuncture, diet changes etc. Also, the success rates they post are for 40+ year old women. The rates vary by age and other factors. They basically lied to make themselves look better – that in itself is not moral behavior.

July 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm
(18) Teddy says:

I have no problem with Jennifer Lopez’s statement. I myself have had difficulty with pregnancy (3 miscarriages), but I think adoption would be my alternative. There are so many helpless children who need homes out there. I also don’t understand people who object to abortion, but believe in IVF. They are both medical intervention, and selfish acts. The baby itself never has the choice to be conceived. Regardless, you have the right to do either.

July 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm
(19) Teddy says:

For the record, I believe conceiving naturally is also selfish. Since, once again, the baby had no choice in being conceived. However, being a GREAT parent once that baby arrives is completely unselfish.

October 27, 2010 at 2:08 am
(20) Lynne says:

I think people who say or imply that IVF is somehow messing with God are ignorant. Science just helps the process along, but the embryo is just released into the womb and still has to implant and grow into a fetus by itself … and that process is still a mystery to doctors on how that happens – perhaps that is God’s miracle. If IVF were purely science then it would result in a 100% success rate, but that’s not the case… the pregnancy rate for IVF is not much higher than a ‘natural’ pregnancy. My personal opinion… I can’t stand her ….pompous, self righteous, lying, husband stealing, home wrecking egomaniac who is full of herself.

January 4, 2011 at 12:45 am
(21) Nadine says:

I am 36 year old women dealing with infertility (3 years of trying naturally). Although I am considering many options, my husband and I have decided that IVF is not an option we will consider. This is based on my own religious convictions.

January 10, 2011 at 8:10 am
(22) Samantha says:

A few years ago during a discussion with a friend about her sister-in-law undergoing IVF I felt that it wasn’t natural and wouldn’t ever wish to do it. Fast-forward to October 2010 and my husband is told that his motility is at 25% which means IVF+ICSI or no biological children. I fought my demons as there is nothing I want more for us than to have a family together but in over 2 years of trying the old fashioned way, it is pretty clear that the chances of natural conception are slim to none. Part of me still has a few doubts about it but I want to have a family with my husband and also want to make him happy as well as do something that I’ve wanted to do since I was young. My husband is Methodist and I am Catholic (although not strict in the slightest) and God’s message was about love, nothing else.

Friends of mine who have children try to say the right thing but they all admit that it probably sounds a little patronising and stale coming from them as there is no way they could understand. I think either she is just one of those rather blissfully ignorant people who has never had the pain and heartache of being told “your only option is IVF. I’m sorry”, or she is trying to deny it because it is seen as ‘taboo’.

If gay couples are accepted in society along with medication, cosmetic surgery and general surgery, then why not fertility treatment?

February 23, 2011 at 1:05 am
(23) jenna shelley says:

People say things all the time without much pre-thought, context or consideration as to what it could mean to others. However, those in the public eye need to be mindful of their voiced opinions. Unfortunately the general public give power to these statements made by celebrities by reporting as though their opinion is being made from in informed and educated position. Lets not forgot JLo is an entertainer. She is not an expert in fertility or religion and although her statement may hurt those who believe in god and have had IVF lets remember that she is coming from a place of ignorance and just made a simple thoughtless statement. A vast majority of people support IVF and I for one support the use of IVF and understand the desire to become parents and the inability to do so naturally.

February 19, 2012 at 3:59 am
(24) Elle says:

I’m one who is considering IVF and my reglious belief does play into that decision. However, in my mind I keep coming back to why did God allow man to develop the science and technology to assist in getting pregnant if he didn’t want man to use it? If it was truly against God’s will then wouldn’t it have a 0% sucess rate?

I also believe everyone has a right to their opinion and that many times the media spins what celebs say to sell stories. However, assuming what she said was used in context, doesn’t it make you wonder why, if you are opposed to IVF for faith based reasons then accept a job/role in a movie that plays against your beliefs? How will she explain that to the twins – do what I say, not what I do?

I fine encouragement from reading others stories and struggles so thanks for sharing.

March 17, 2012 at 12:01 am
(25) Rachel says:

Wake up people! Her statement screams of “overcompensation!” as she tries to cover something up that she thinks makes her look less than “perfect”. I’m sure she sounded so dogmatic because coming out “against IVF” would help dispel any idea that they used treatments (even though I’m SURE they did).
. Like others have ment’d…you’re MORE likely to have infertility issues as you age. Considering it took them 4 years of trying after JLo said she wanted kids right away with Marc, and then whammo—twins… leads me to believe they tried all the avenues (fert. drugs, IUIs and then some IVFs). Just makes me laugh at how ignorant people are on this topic. And I frankly don’t care what method they used…Babies are gifts no matter if they’re brought into this world in a drunken one-night stand or if their parents fought hard to have them.

July 22, 2012 at 5:55 am
(26) pane fiala says:

Everyone has the right to their own opinion in regard to IVF,however the comment made by Jennifer Lopez basing her opposition on the procedure on the fact that she has faith in GOD.I am a christian and i think that many women have benefited from this option,fortunately in our generation we are blessed with these medical breakthroughs that weren’t avaiable to families before.God wants us to be happy and to insinuate that using science to become pregnant is a sin,should be reconsidered.. and besides..”FAITH” without works is dead…

May 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm
(27) LielaM says:

The American Fertility Association was foolish to defend Jennifer Lopez. Nobody ever disagreed with J Lo’s “right to not use IVF”.

What they disagreed with were her judgmental comments towards other people who need IVF to conceive.

Anyway, fraternal twins at her age often points to using donor eggs to conceive. Just sayin…..

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