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Reflecting on the Importance of Family During NIAW
I visited my mom at the nursing home the other day. She has pathologically poor short term memory, a result of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm aggravated by a second hemorrhage at the hands of a fellow learning to place an intracerebral catheter.
"Mom”, I said, “I received this beautiful note from a past patient thanking me for her child." Instantly, mom's face grew a smile so wide with pride and joy soaking in the praise that she shared with her son, and deservedly so.
Families are precious to the Kreiners. Mom grew up in a large close-knit family that grew even closer in the shared beds of her tenement apartment. I was the fourth son, followed eight years later by my sister. Our family was an essential part of my growth and development. I was the first in the family to become a physician, and between my mother and her four sisters, I was groomed to be a physician that families would feel comfortable with.
My first year in medical school, 1977, was when the first baby was born via in vitro fertilization (IVF). Infertile couples previously unable to create a family with their own gametes were now able to have families of their own.
My destiny was clear. I wanted to help others in need build their own families.
Families are so valuable to me that aiding those who cannot create families on their own brings me an inner peace and satisfaction I don't think I could get from any other occupation or service.
I discussed with mom that National Infertility Awareness Week was coming up and told her that I wanted to do something special for couples that were having difficulty conceiving on their own. That's when my mom, sitting in her wheelchair, expressed with pure sincerity and sympathy how infertility is the worst affliction and how badly she felt for those who were unable to have a baby and complete their families. "David," she said, “give them a free IVF and make them a baby."
My wish is that someday, all who need and wish to do so can do IVF and have that baby of their dreams.