10 December, 2008

Controversial

An Indian woman has given birth to her first child at the age of 70 after IVF treatment.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24769548-1702,00.html


I can hear you now. Most of you are reacting like I did. Precisely, "Ugh."

There are a lot of different ways to look at this. Some people will applaud and say their congratulations. Many think that playing God is wrong, regardless of age. Some are against IVF for religious reasons. Plenty of people will wonder why people in their 70s think it is appropriate to have a child (particularly when their life expectancy falls short of the child even beginning puberty). Is it fair to the child to have elderly parents? Will they have the energy to keep up with their child? (I say no... but then, I digress.)

Now, this child was IVF. It's pretty much guaranteed that it wasn't her egg; and extremely long odds on using his sperm. That means she had both a donor egg and donor sperm. Another can of worms.

Personally, if this couple were 30 years younger, well, no big deal. But I do, personally, take issue with the ridiculous fascination so many people have with passing on their own DNA.

Why do infertile couples turn to IVF? Why do they feel their entire lives are incomplete if they have not procreated? For some people, the quest for a DNA child border on obscene. When this world is full of children without parents, why are we creating more instead of playing family match?

If you ask a desperate IVF family why they do it, they all say the same... "We desperately want a child of our own flesh and blood." But what about the rights of the child? That child is being created for the adults' benefit. Surely this is a selfish reason for having a child. Why is an adopted child not as special?

Of course some families don't mind if Junior doesn't look like his daddy. They are the heroes, in my book. We are 100 years late in supporting women with unwanted pregnancies. It's 2008 people, and with all our technologies, we are still destroying healthy babies while other women are desperately trying to create babies.

Are we stupid? Forget about the ethics for a moment and just consider the practicalities. How ridiculous is it!? It's a bit like bulldozing a brand new house and then the owner goes begging on the streets to raise money to build a house!

I think we could go a long way to reducing this silly paradox just by paying women a welfare allowance while pregnant... the same amount they would get after the baby is born, so that way anyone wanting their child keeps it, and anyone not wanting it might think twice and agree to at least carry it to term... after all, they do have a medical condition and deserve payment for their "work", even if we don't pay a red cent for the child itself.

Controversial, yes, but then, there's little else that encourages adoption when most of our society frowns on unwanted pregnancy as something to "get rid of".

~ Elisa

Caveat: I do not describe myself as pro-choice, or anti-abortion, or blah blah blah. The only way you could pidgeonhole me is to say that I do not believe in "abortion as birth control" or of convenience.
I am pro-informed-choice. In an ideal world, women would not terminate unless it were medically necessary. But the reality is that society has many different views on the subject, so to that, I say, "Women should make an INFORMED DECISION, on all three options, not just two."