Choosing Not to Have Twins

The gut-wrenching article, “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy,” by Ruth Padawer, which will be published in The New York Times Magazine this Sunday but is available online now, is a must-read. It uncovers the growing trend of secretive selective reduction in women who are pregnant with twins—a topic that is fraught with emotional and ethical issues that Padawer explores deftly. Even if you are pro-choice, contemplating choosing to abort one of your healthy twins is painful, and yet the couples in the article speak honestly and compellingly about their difficult decision. Certainly, parenthood is more demanding and exhausting than any of us knew beforehand, and parenting twins can be an overwhelming and intense experience. But our children also bring us ineffable joy that we can’t imagine living without. Please read and share this story, and tell us what you think about this uniquely 21st century issue.

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  1. [...] Choosing not to have twins ( [...]

  2. by Julie

    On August 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    What a difficult decision just to think about.

  3. by beth

    On August 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Oh my God, I wish I hadn’t read that at all.
    If they had 2 children already, if finances were an issue, why did they spend the money to conceive again??!! So, if she had conceived the twins “naturally”, she wouldn’t even consider exterminating one of them??!! This is sickening.

  4. by K

    On August 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    This is disgusting. How do you pick and choose which life to end because you are too selfish to sacrifice for the children you chose to get pregnant with?

  5. by Lauren

    On August 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Call it “selective reduction” or whatever if that makes you feel better, but how can you justify eliminating your child? Especially when it took such effort to conceive?! This disgusts me!

  6. by Sarah

    On August 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Murder is still murder. A child deserves to live! They should consider adoption. There are lots of parents waiting to adopt.

  7. by B

    On August 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    COMPLETELY DISGUSTED about this story!! This woman is soo DEPRAVED,UNGRATEFUL,AND SELFISH! So many things to say about this but it’s all just too much..

  8. by j

    On August 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Have not read the article, but my first pregnancy was with multiples, and if I chose a hospital that was not pro life, I feel at least one of them would have made it full term instead of all of them dying in utero. Every mother knows what is right for them, and should not have to justify or defend their choice one way or another. For the naysayers, I volunteer regularly with orphans and stand by this statement.

  9. by Loiris

    On August 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Every person that had a negative comment to put needs to seriously get themselves evaluated. You never know the real reason behind this choice. This extremely hard and emotionally stressing choice. These choices were made because the parent felt it was what was right for both them and fetus. Also keep in mind that maybe health could have been a factor for both mother and baby.

  10. by Theresa

    On August 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I honestly dont think anyone should kill or any child inside the matter what…if you are prone to have twins, then let it is God’s will..period. hey speaking of moms,
    If there are any moms out there who are really sersious about making some extra income at home without selling a single thing or touching any kind of inventory, then I highly suggest going to This company will treat you like family and you won’t get laid is amazing.

  11. by MH

    On August 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    sick sick sick. people should have a license to procreate (period)

  12. by Michelle

    On August 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Wow, I really wish I hadn’t clicked on this link to begin with. I can’t even imagine making a choice like that, and frankly it makes me sick. They are both your children. Maybe they should’ve just been happy with the ones they had already and not decide against the number that God decided to bless them with. Geez!

  13. by Tonya

    On August 19, 2011 at 9:20 am

    If a woman can abort one or any of her babies, she does not have the true heart of a mother, is not having children for the right reasons, and should not get pregnant. I feel for the children born into these families, which are obviously not centered around love, but status and convenience. When are we going to start treating children like human beings and not toys or pets?

  14. by Luna

    On August 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    This is so horrible and I am totally disgusted. How anyone can justify this in any way is beyond me.

    Btw, I was an avid pro-choicer for many, many years who had 2 abortions(at 16 and 21 with my first boyfriend). It was only until this year at age 36, when my son was 7 months old, did I realize exactly what I had done. It is my life’s biggest regret and I have only begun to mourn those two children. My babies.

  15. by Susie

    On August 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Why would someone do this? What if something went wrong and BOTH babies were lost? Or it failed and the child was deformed? People are stupid. If you create the life suck it up. Don’t end the life just cuz you don’t want it. Their are plenty of people in the world who can’t conceive their own. Not to mention the whole “what if i killed the wrong twin?” What happens if the one born has mental/physical disabilities? People don’t think.

    To me the only time it is ok to abort a baby by choice is if it could cause the mother/baby/or both to die for the pregnancy to continue.

  16. by Lori

    On August 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I was blessed with identical twin girls naturally, while their father and I lived in a 600sq ft apt, living paycheck to paycheck, 2 years later we were blessed again with a handsome little man, and I couldn’t be happier! To think people would do this for anything other than health reasons is beyond me, and sad for them, they really are missing out on a rare blessing!

  17. by Christina

    On August 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I am a mother of boy/girl twins that were naturally conceived. When I found out I was pregnant of twins I was scared to death, mostly about how will I provide with 2 babies!?! But that only lasted about an hour and then I thought what an amazing thing that I will be able to have double the blessings. How on earth could people choose to kill such an amazing blessing? The way I feel is that if God blessed you when twins or any type of multiples, he will bless you with the means to provide for them.

    People are so selfish and this breaks my heart. I will be going home to hug my babies even tighter for the poor babies that didnt get to make it to this world because of their selfish parents.

  18. by Gina

    On August 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I’m so tired of people thinking they have the right to take a life. AND the fact that a magazine can publish an article so-matter-of- fact makes me sick. I didn’t read the article, don’t want to read the article and as a mother of twins never cared what the doctors said during my pregnancy. Me with my bad cervix and 40 year old body moved forward with the pregnancy and although they were premature by 10 weeks, they are perfect, beautiful and very healthy! Furthermore, if there’s anyone out there considering in vitro, use your head! It’s simple, don’t implant more than the body can handle. Lastly, if you have one that you don’t want, give the baby to me! I’d be happy to love it for you!

  19. by S

    On August 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    That article really upsets me. I do not understand how someone can have the money to go through infertility treatments but not have money to actually take care of the child….What a waste. Why would you spend all of that money to undo what you did…Not to mention the moral implications. It really makes me sick to my stomach. It seems very selfish. I would almost venture to say that the person doesn’t deserve to have children…It is not ok to take the life of a child because they have become “inconvienent” it feels like this is what is happening here..And why wait until 14 weeks? I am just sick over this….

  20. by Annie

    On August 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    OMG. Just when u thought u heard it all.I am a nurse who works on a mother -baby unit. Every single newborn is beautiful! Children make the world go around! I do not want to judge but I had twins and I could not fathom taking one over the other! My children are my LIFE. How could this be allowed to go on? I am appalled and sick to my stomach.

  21. by Jenni

    On August 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I just don’t understand. How can someone go to such leangths to become pregnant and then to abort one of the babies because is “not what you ordered” is horrible. How do you think the child you “picked” will feel when he or she knows that they were allowed to be born and not their brother or sister. I would think that they would alway wonder what it would be like if their twin was allowed to be born with them? Or what if they were the child that was aborted and their twin had of lived. We should not be able to make these decisions.

  22. by Sue

    On August 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    She had to have known about the possibility of conceiving multiples before choosing fertility treatment. She should have been willing to acept that risk responsibly. What about the feelings of the twin chosen to live? How would a person feel once he/she that his or mother chose to abort one’s twin. And yes, the surviving twin will find out somehow! What kind of relationship will the parents have with the child then????

  23. by Kate

    On August 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    What difference does it make whether they’re born or not? Why not wait until they’re born, then if it’s inconvenient to your carefully structured life, you can just kill one at that point. Maybe the one that cries more or is more difficult to feed. Honestly – this is not a 21st Century issue. It’s a very simple moral issue that our modern laws are ignoring. It makes me physically sick to my stomach.

    I had twins – they told me when I was pregnant that I’d lose them (and potentially myself) … I called experts throughout the U.S. and went and found myself a different doc … I now have two amazingly beautiful, healthy children and am so grateful I didn’t listen to the doomsday doc.

  24. by Ruth

    On August 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    There will not be a day that goes by that this “mother” doesn’t think about her decision. She will wonder if she did the right thing, and try and convince herself that she did, but as she looks at her surviving twin she will lament the fact that she ever tried to play God. She will end up feeling horrible about what she and her husband decided, but as time moves on she will realize that SHE was the one that could have decided something different—because they were in her body. She was the one carrying the babies. Her decision will eventually destroy her self esteem and affect every other part of her life, and unfortunately, negatively impact every other family member as well.

    I am the mother of twin girls. I can’t imagine one without the other. They have been such a blessing to me and the rest of our family. The woman in this story, “Jenny”, has tried to justify her decision, but there is no excuse other than selfishness. The bottom line is she put her desires before her child’s right to live. That’s not what a real mother does.

  25. by Kara

    On August 26, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I think this article, published a few years ago in Self magazine, is much more thought-provoking because the reasons for the selective reduction were much more concrete and health-related (not just “Oh, darn it, I’m too old to have TWO infants!”). My OB is actually quoted in there :)

  26. by Jennefer Wassinger

    On August 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    The heart of your writing while sounding agreeable in the beginning, did not really sit very well with me personally after some time. Somewhere within the sentences you actually were able to make me a believer but just for a short while. I however have got a problem with your leaps in assumptions and you would do well to help fill in those gaps. In the event that you actually can accomplish that, I could certainly end up being fascinated.

  27. by Beth

    On August 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I couldn’t bring myself to open the link for this article. I can’t fathom any woman chosing to abort her baby but to chose to get pregnant & abort any/all but one just b/c you didn’t want more than one??? Sick & stupid people. Before I tried to conceive my fourth child, I prayed for twins (yes, you read that right). After finding out I was pregnant, the day I started bleeding & thought I was losing my baby, I found out I was pregnant with twins but losing one of them. The boy I had is rough & tumble & gets into everything & we did go on to have another after him, our 5th & last baby… but I still wish his twin had lived. How could a woman chose to kill one of hers???

  28. by Caterina

    On August 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Wow. This article was published the day after I delivered two identical boys 8 weeks prematurely. Although the choice to abort any twin does not sit well with me, I can’t seem to muster up the indignant rage of other twin moms. When my husband and I found out we were having twins (naturally conceived, no fertility treatments) we could not have been more shocked. To be honest, we were scared, horrified, and extremely ambivalent to say the least. This was not what we signed up for. How was I going to love them enough? How would we afford them? One kid was going to be expensive enough! Eventually I had the courage to admit to my husband that had we gone back in for a sonogram the next day only to find out that one fetus had “vanished” on its own, I would have been relieved. He admitted he had felt the same way. Flash forward to the present and now we have two beautiful babies who are healthy little monsters about to come home from the NICU. We are lucky in that we have huge support systems, good health insurance and a wonderful marriage. Without those 3 things I don’t know that I could do it. Even with those things, I couldn’t be more nervous about the hurdles facing us. Would I ever have considered selective reduction? If I’m honest, the thought did cross my mind for about two seconds. I could never have gone through with it. Do I judge women who chose to have two embryos implanted only to abort one later? I’m trying like hell not to. That is, as they say, “above my pay grade.” In the end, I made my choice. Let other women make their choices and let the consequences of them be their own. I hope they don’t end up regretting it in the future.

  29. by Nichole

    On August 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

    OMG this is just sad

  30. by Andi L.

    On September 5, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Unbelievable. This is so irresponsible and so cruel. Talk about “playing God…” This amazes me that the magazine even published this outrage. Pro choice is pro kill–because it is INCONVENIENT for the parents. Wow. Grow up and face your life and sell the boat or sell something that you don’t need and let the child have the life that God intended. You are not God. Geeze—-

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    On September 9, 2011 at 3:30 am

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    On November 30, 2011 at 7:07 am

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  33. by Jean

    On December 4, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I am the mother of 22 year old natural identical twin boys. I am appalled at this trend. Yes they were a big surprise and a financial strain sometimes but 22 years down the road one is an

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