Saturday, December 30, 2006

The ethics of procreation

And then this news out of Spain that a woman of 67 years has just given birth to twins conceived via in vitro fertilization:

As a Christian, a person of the Book, I believe that God's commandment to Adam and Eve to "multiply and replenish the Earth" has not be rescinded. Every life created can be sustained by the world, for I believe, were it not so, God would tell us that the commandment had been fulfilled. As He has been silent on the matter, I assume that children are a blessing and a duty.

That's not to say that I should breed like mad, just for the sake of having children. I believe that I should not bring more children into the world than I and my wife can provide for. Now, "providing for" has no exact definition. What level of comfort and/or sacrifice is too much. My maternal grandfather, 94, was an orphan, and he grew up facing privations that most Americans would no longer tolerate. I think that I can reasonably provide for up to five children on my salary. I should be able to feed and dress them, provide them with comfortable shelter, and be able to provide for their higher education (with some help from them to earn scholarships). I do not believe that I should have any children after age 40, which means I've got 7 years and Mickelle has 10.

See, nowadays, people choose to wait until much later to have children. My parents had me when they were 23 and 22. I remember asking my Mom one time how old she was, and she told me "29." Marley was born when I was 28. My parents are in their mid 50's and their house is an empty nest, which is fine. But my reasoning for not wanting to have children past 40 is that they really wouldn't get to know their grandparents that well. I am 33 and three of my grandparents are still alive, which means that my daughter will have memories of her great-grandparents. If I have children past 40, and they wait as long as I did to have kids, then my grandchildren will only ever know an old man. I want to be able to play and cavort with my grandchildren.

Sadly, some people have children when they too are children. While their bodies may have developed sexually, while they might be filled with passions and lusts and desires, mentally, without the commitment of a marriage, they are maturity-capable of raising a child---especially in our structured society of school, college, marriage, etc. A child gums up the works. Furthermore, given the legacy of slavery, some races will not give up their children for adoption, no matter how much better life would be for the baby and the mother. This is one side of the problem.

Another one is the 40 something crowd of DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) couples suddenly deciding that they HAVE to have a child, and so they have an only child, that they dote on, and spoil, and this child then grows into a narcissistic dullard. I have seen this child often in New Orleans. Very wealthy parents, Volvo station wagon, Hispanic nanny, the whole cliche come to life before my own eyes. I'm not saying that only children are all this way. Far from it. I am saying that wealthy people having children in their 40s is a really bad idea, and not fair to the child.

And finally, as we explore the ethics of procreation, we have the people who ignored their biological clocks for so long that they have to resort to expensive science to conceive, and they do. At 67, I can only imagine the handfuls of pills this woman must have downed daily in order to get her reproductive system up and running enough so that she didn't naturally abort. She is a full decade and then some past the last vestige of a menstrual cycle. And now she has twins. Surely her husband is thrilled as her breasts will have swelled and erased the ravages of time and gravity on her bosom....that is, if her husband is even alive still. And now these children will grow up with a grand----mother. By the time they go through puberty, she stands a very real chance of being deceased. What then? Suddenly the children are adopted by someone else. By the time they reach adulthood, she will be 85, provided she is still alive.

What are the ethics of child rearing at such an advanced age? I had a friend in high school whose dad was in his 70s when he graduated, and he had a younger sister. I imagine that his father, never in great health, has since passed away. I would never ask this friend if he felt cheated out of his father's presence in this life. I wonder.

No matter the reason, I think this woman es una anciana narcisa y necia y no es justo para sus gemelitos.

1 comment:

brett said...

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