Thursday, February 26, 2009

the ethics of pregnancy

I've been watching the story of Nadya Suleman, the woman who gave birth to octuplets a few weeks ago, with a sense of horror growing with everything I hear. In a nutshell, this woman has six children as a single mother, all by sperm-donor IVF, and decided to have an IVF session to have more. One IVF doctor had already told her no, so she found another one that was not only willing to do the procedure, but break established protocol and implant more embryos than the clinical standard. And so she wound up pregnant with septuplets that turned out to be octuplets when they were delivered by Caesarian section at 30.5 weeks gestation.

This woman has no job, has been accepting disability for back problems for years, lives with her parents after they lost their original house because they bought one for her, has no husband or partner, and STILL had IVF to have another 8 babies. She is also apparently a fan of plastic surgery and has had several operations to look more like Angelina Jolie.

This situation is so far beyond the line that it's not even in the same timezone. I find this woman morally repugnant, I am disgusted at her waste of public resources, and I am appalled that any doctor would feed her insanity. Ms. Suleman is far more interested in attempting to get onto talk shows, start her own reality show, whine to the press, entertain offers to become a porn star, and generally be a self-absorbed wretch than she is willing to parent any single one of her fourteen children. I firmly believe that she lost the right to the octuplets when she had to have a team of 46 people to deliver them, all paid for by the state as she has no insurance, and could not be bothered to even stay in the hospital with them. I have one acquaintance who had a premature baby recently, and she and her husband are at the hospital with their child from 8am to 8pm every day. I doubt Ms. Suleman has spent more than an hour per day at the hospital with her octuplets unless there are cameras involved. I feel that the state needs to take all fourteen of her children away from her, sterilize her, and leave her to support herself completely on her own. While I am encouraged by the tide of public opinion being very against her, I somehow doubt this will happen and all fourteen of those children will grow up poorly cared for and with a low chance of success in life. What a waste.

As idiotic and narcissistic as Ms. Suleman is, I am even futher appalled and upset at the doctor who would give this woman IVF at all. I have a feeling that there is going to be a significant backlash against IVF centers after this situation, and I believe it is high time for that. It is highly irresponsible to implant multiple embryos at one time, and I think it should be illegal to implant more than three - and if any splits occur, the pregnancy should be reduced to three, no questions asked. There is absolutely no reason to try to have quadruplets or higher order multiples, and anyone who has a moral problem with selective reduction should also have a moral problem with undergoing IVF in the first place. I am actually quite impressed by the Roman Catholic Church, who recently stated that they are against IVF for the same reasons that they are against abortions and birth control.

From a strictly evolutionary point of view, I am firmly against IVF as a concept. More and more couples go through IVF to have children, because they are unable to have them on their own. Perhaps that is genetics telling you something, people! If you are unable to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy, as hard as it is I think that is a pretty clear sign you are not supposed to have children. It's not fair and it is very hard on many women, as our society places great value on having your own biological children, but that's the way it is. What are these IVF daughters going to do in thirty years? Will they even be able to get pregnant naturally? Or will they also need to have IVF to have children? It seems to me that you should just let nature tell you whether you can have children and accept the answer, whether that answer is yes or no.

And humans should never, EVER have litters.

No comments: