I Don’t Need Ovaries to be Fertile

By Feature Writer Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest On July 25th, 1978, Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube” baby was born in England. I was eleven years old and had been infertile for three years, since the removal of my second ovary, and, I had thought then, the chance of ever experiencing pregnancy had been taken harshly from me. My doctor had shaken his head upon discovering that a second cyst had encapsulated a second ovary in 18 months. “I’ve never heard of anything like this happening to a child,” he had told my parents, and that admission, coming from a doctor, had left me feeling I if I were the only person to ever experience the isolation and loss and betrayal one’s own body can bring them.

But with the birth of Louise Brown, I realized that there was someone else – Lesley Brown – Louise’s mother, who knew exactly how I felt. She had tried for years to become pregnant, only to be thwarted by blocked fallopian tubes and failure. She agreed to IVF – at that time a purely experimental procedure that had never resulted in a baby, and made history. She was my very own personal Neil Armstrong. Four years later, she had a second daughter, Natalie, who was IVF baby number forty for the planet. Leslie Brown taught me something else when I was only eleven years old and trying to come to terms what it would mean for me never to have a biological child – that choices remain no matter what the situation. At eight I had bravely announced, “So what? I’ll just adopt then,” when my parents explained to me that the second ovary had not been saved, but truthfully, even then, I longed for the babies that would someday be mine. (My mother nicknamed me “Mother Earth” when I was only three.) They would have my blue eyes, and my cute nose and my freckles and have really good singing voices and there would be ten of them.

“Oh my little Mother Earth,” My Mom would laugh, “ten is too many.”

Her voice had a different tone on July 25th, 1978, that monumental day, one that was hoarse with emotion and longing for me to have everything I wished for as a woman. She held me close and promised me that I would grow up to have the choice to be pregnant someday, if that was what I desired, because if in England they could fetch an egg through a blocked fallopian tube and whip up a zygote in a Petri dish, science would evolve, and it would be done with a donor egg. On February 3rd, 1984, eight years to the month that I lost my second ovary, the 1st IVF donor egg baby was born. Choices grew.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at



Becky and Mike Mooers said...

Oh my goodness that was beautiful! As a new mother who struggles with infertility for years, and as a preschool teacher raising others children...that hit me to the core! Loved it!

Tracy said...

This is beautiful! I can not imagine the pain of dealing with infertility at 11 (it was almost too much for me at 28). Your story is beautiful and I am sure it will touch many peoples hearts. Thank you for sharing:)

Momma to 2 adopted children from China and Vietnam

ChildFree said...

It is funny how some people get so upset about being infertile. I guess no one can have what they want. I want to have everything ripped out so i can't have children or periods. And others want to have kids so bad.

Strange no one is ever happy with what they have been given.

TheOriginalDenverNanny said...

Beautiful post!!

My IF/MFIF diagnosis contributed to divorce at 23. In working through my pain, I have realized if someday I conceive I will be 1st surprised and 2nd ecstatic! If not, I know I will grieve, but as the PP said, I help raise dozens of children now. When I'm finally graduate and have my own classroom, I will be impacting the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of children. That doesn't take away the pain, but I still get to spend my days with little ones.

Childfree: I think we all just want to have the life we've always imagined... You choose to live childfree, which is a decision often just as difficult as choosing to pursue infertility treatment. I choose to *try* to have children-- whether via "natural" conception, artificial reproduction techiniques, or adoption... or maybe I never have children & I do decide to live childfree.
I love that we live in a country where we can make those choices for ourselves--and find others who both support and encourage our decisions!!

Think before you type said...

ChildFree, I find it hard to believe anyone could be "happy" about having their ovaries removed at 11!! It's way different to CHOOSE to be childfree instead of that decision being taken away from you. Your comment was rude and insensitve.

Yes, I am infertile but have children through adoption-so I am in no way bitter or personally offended by your comment. I am a mother and that was all that ever mattered to me....just wanted to put that out there so you couldn't turn it around on me not being happy with what I was given.

ChildFree said...

My point was...

Some people who didn't choose to lose their ovaries - still want to have kids. So they do all the methods available to get them kids.

Others who have all the necessary equipment to have children and don't want them can go about getting rid of the ability to reproduce.

I was make the general statement that no one is ever happy or content with the way life gives them obstacles. If this were the opposite the people who couldn't reproduce would be happy without kids and those who could would have kids. Basically this means life is a sick twisted game.

It was a philisophical statement. In no way did I say it was her choice.

NoKidHere said...

I'm with ChildFree. And it seems like someone is way being way too sensitive and turning someone's comment into something else entirely. Anyway...

I DON'T want children. Ever. Period. And I see so many people trying so unbelievably hard, some to the point of ruining their marriages and sometimes even their sanity and entire lives, to try to have children. I wish I could trade with them. I would happily give my uselessly capable body to them, and take theirs in its place. If only. Not to mention, on a selfish aspect, I could stop paying for and dealing with the nuisance of birth control.

NoChildrenForMe said...

I'm with ChildFree and NoKidHere. I absolutely do NOT want kids. I don't like kids (don't worry, I'm not a nanny or a babysitter or anything like that. I just like to come to this site because there are interesting discussions.) I wish I could just have my uterus taken out, so I don't have to deal with periods or pregnancy. Unfortunately, since I'm only 19 and don't have children, no doctor will do this for me.

On the topic of this post, I don't see why so many women feel like they just HAVE to have kids and if they don't, they won't feel whole and fulfilled. And it gets me very upset when people say that even when you adopt, it's not like having your OWN kid and you don't feel the same connection with the child as you would have if you had carried and given birth to it.

sierra said...

Beccy, as one of you're "children" you'll always be like a mom to me. You're the best nanna anyone could as for, and any child would be lucky to have you. Although I don't have the blue eyes and freckles you wanted in your children, I know I am always your daughter forever.

MissMannah said...

Rebecca, your post was so touching and thank you for sharing it with us. I was diagnosed with PCOS 6 years ago and the thought of infertility haunts me. My fiance and I aren't in a financial position for children yet, so it doesn't matter, but I am sometimes rigid with fear that when the time comes I won't be able to conceive naturally. I hope if it turns out that I can't, I can keep your inspiring attitude.

Observer said...

NoKidHere, you could give your "uselessly capable" body to an infertile woman via surrogate pregnancy or by donating eggs and allow a family to have their dreams fulfilled. :)

Kat in her hat said...

Wonderful point "Observer", my sister has always wanted to be a surrogate mother (and now that she has two of her own) she's looking into fulfilling that desire. :)

To the author of this posting, I can't tell you how much you touched me or how beautiful I found your posting. You sound like an amazing woman and any child lucky enough to have you as his or her mentor is truly blessed. Thank you for making me smile (and even tear up) by sharing your life with us, and thank you for having a hand in raising so many wonderful children!

ChildFree said...

ANother point of having no kids is - no pregnancy. Surrogate is not an option. Why the hell would I ruin my body?

jojo said...

Listen witch, no one cares what you do with your body. Of course you could make 8 thousand for just your eggs. Wouldn't ruin your body either. But your eggs sound questionable.

ChildFree said...

My eggs can't be used. First off in my state it is only $3,000 in my state and I can't donate because I'm a smoker. And it does ruin your body. All those hormones, it's very stressful on the body. You don't know what you're talking about.

Oh and I am actually a witch so you didn't hurt my feelings any. It's funny when people don't know who they are talking to. LOL

costanza said...

Funny how Childfree knew that donating eggs cost $3000 and that she couldn't be a donor because she smoked. I'm not sure that would be general knowledge. I sure the hell don't know the going rate in my state! Methinks maybe her selfish ass looked into it before?

I have tried to hold my tongue because I think a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body, but you Childfree, sound like you made the best decision you could -- for yourself and the sad future of your potential children.

And I would like to thank you!

costanza said...

BTW, you being so concerned about your body and all, Childfree -- I thought you should know that smoking causes premature aging, wrinkles and yellow teeth.

So yeah, keep that body of yours in top form -- you're gonna need it!

let's get real said...

Um ChildFree, I'm seriously not trying to be rude, but I'm confused. You do know that smoking actually ruins your body right? Like, your lungs and the other organs that, you know, keep you alive? I just don't see how you can be so concerned about other things ruining your body when you are intentionally harming it yourself.

Bostonnanny said...

Being a surrogate and donating eggs are a painful process. You have to inject your self with hormones everyday, go to multiple doctor's visits and can't have sex for the first few months. Besides that what they pay and what you get are dependent on what people are looking for. The women who make 8,000 for eggs are most likely blond, blue eyes and graduated from an Ivy league. Everyone makes thousands less.

You also have to do a ton of paper work, medical exams and wait months for some couple to read your profile and pick u.

After having a child your body does change completely and you could become emotionally attached to the child your carrying, even if it isn't yours.

For surrogates they recommend that you have your own child first.

Although I think its a wonderful thing, its a huge commitment and if you break everything down, its not worth the money.

ChildFree said...

I did look into it. I thought that since I am a very attractive woman who has very sought after genes that I would try and donate my eggs. So I looked into it, thinking it would be a good thing. Until I found out what the women really went through to donate eggs. That would be absolute hell. For what they get paid it ain't worth the procedure.

Yes I know smoking causes body issues. However it won't do anything to my belly, my emotions, nor my vagina. Plus kids ruin relationships and sex lives. I can name over 100 reasons not to have kids, I haven't heard one good reason to have one.

This is not a smoking discussion but a child free discussion. You judgmental harpes.

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