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One Egg At A Time, Please, Just One Egg At A Time
May 12, 2005 2:40 PM   Subscribe

One Egg At A Time, Please, Just One Egg At A Time!

Representative Lonnie Napier has a great idea! IVF requires eggs to be harvested from a woman, combined with a man's sperm outside of the woman's body, then putting several embryos back in hopes of getting one to implant and grow, resulting in a baby. Rep. Napier, being strongly pro-life and opposed to IVF, thinks the way to solve this is to fertilize only one egg at a time. And to violate this new law would be a class D felony in Kentucky, punishable with 1-5 years in prison.

Via And I Wasted All That Birth Control...
posted by OhPuhLeez (71 comments total)

 
props for being morally consistent at least.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:41 PM on May 12, 2005


Apologies - bad link to Rep. Napier's homepage.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 2:42 PM on May 12, 2005


"i've seen ugly, but this is like circus ugly"
--Peter Griffin, Family Guy
posted by clevershark at 2:43 PM on May 12, 2005


Not always a bad thing...

posted by pieisexactlythree at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2005


ditto heywood, I was wondering when some jackass* would finally get to this point.

*jackass because it costs about 10 grand a pop, and the reason they throw so many embryos at a time is it increases the odds of success. One at a time would be successful about 5% of the time

on preview:
yeah pie, unfortunate side effect of probability.
posted by slapshot57 at 2:52 PM on May 12, 2005


I would totally support this. Not because I give a shit about embryos, but I want to discourage people from having in vitro fertilization. Specifically I want to discourage people on my insurance plan.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:24 PM on May 12, 2005


I think folks who do IVF are incredibly selfish and I don't condone it, but if they make that decision, they should have the option to have the procedure done correctly, for chrissake. This guy is off his rocker.
posted by Specklet at 3:27 PM on May 12, 2005


Mayor Curley, I think there are collectively ten insurance providers in the entire country that cover fertility treatment of any kind.

Your money is safe.

Meanwhile, insurance companies keep doling out the Viagra.

Lovely.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 3:28 PM on May 12, 2005


Speck, help me out. Why are people who choose IVF selfish?
posted by The Bellman at 3:30 PM on May 12, 2005


Specklet, there are exceptions to the selfishness of IVF'ees. Specifically, people who want the umbililcal stem cells to save the life of an earlier child with a condition such as thalassemia.

Generally however, I agree that people who want the faux imortality of genetic offspring when there are so many adoptable children available are freakin' dumb.

On the bright side, at least Texas doesn't have a monopoly on idiocy and regressive politics. Oh wait, that's not a bright side.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:35 PM on May 12, 2005


I think Speck is referring to the number of kids waiting in vain to be adopted.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:36 PM on May 12, 2005


Most people who have IVF have to pay for most of it out of their pockets. If that qualifies as selfish, is it equally selfish for couples with normal fertility to have kids the typical way? (And I just had one.)

People with fertility problems who pursue IVF are often told: "Well, why don't you just adopt?" And of course adoption is a great thing, but when was the last time you heard that said to a young straight married couple who planned to get pregnant the typical way? People never call them selfish. (Unless they choose to get pregnant more than three times, which seems to be most people's tipping point for what's acceptable.)

I wonder if Rep. Napier will next try to limit the number of sperm released during each orgasm to one?
posted by lisa g at 3:39 PM on May 12, 2005


And why is it the responsibility of people with fertility issues to adopt those children?

I know plenty of infertile people who have chosen the adoption route...but Ialso know at least a few fertile people who have chosen to go that route too.

This notion that if you can't get pregnant without assistance automatically making you the placement center for the world's "poor unadobtables" is a joke.

Until you've walked in those shoes, you can't say how you'll feel about it or what you'll choose to do.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 3:41 PM on May 12, 2005


I wonder if Rep. Napier will next try to limit the number of sperm released during each orgasm to one?

awesome.

BTW, IVF or plain old fashioned conception both seem slightly odd to me when there are adoptable kids, but I'll admit I'm very biased since I have no desire to reproduce. I'll withdraw my "freakin' dumb" comment, as that was overly harsh.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:48 PM on May 12, 2005


If I'm not mistaken, the costs of adoption are often quite comparable to the costs of IVF. So if you are a fertile couple, it looks kind of expensive to adopt (or IVF), while if you are unfertile, you obviously can't go the cheaper route.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:05 PM on May 12, 2005


If you're going to say that anyone who has a kid is selfish, fine.

If you're going to differentiate on the selfishness scale between people who have kids by different methods -- wtf?

Also, some states mandate that insurers cover ivf.
posted by Mid at 4:09 PM on May 12, 2005


BrotherCaine wrote " Generally however, I agree that people who want the faux imortality of genetic offspring when there are so many adoptable children available are freakin' dumb."

You could easily say the same about any couple who wants to have their own children, naturally or otherwise. There will always be a surplus of adoptable children in the world, and the notion that this surplus imposes some kind of special moral obligation on infertile couples to adopt rather than attempt to have their own biological children is absurd. What about about a couple deciding to conceive naturally? What about people who "selfishly" choose not to have any children at all? Aren't these people denying comfort and care to the same parentless children? Are they not under the same moral obligation to provide for the world's children? [On preview I see that you've withdrawn your comment. I appreciate that.]

bashos_frog wrote "If I'm not mistaken, the costs of adoption are often quite comparable to the costs of IVF."

That's exactly right. Indeed, adoption can often be significantly more expensive than IVF. My wife and I have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 on IVF. We are in the middle of our fourth cycle right now. That same sum of money would be enough to cover one international adoption.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:15 PM on May 12, 2005


True, Monju.

I wonder how many more people -- fertile, subfertile and infertile -- would consider adoption if the costs were covered the same way maternity, pre-natal, labor and delivery costs are...
posted by OhPuhLeez at 4:24 PM on May 12, 2005


Whoa! Someone who knows how to post in-lines, please post Rep. Napier's picture.
posted by Mid at 4:24 PM on May 12, 2005


I in no way intended for my original comment about the preference for genetic reproduction over adoption to apply solely to fertility challenged couples, nor do I feel that the language implies that. I will admit that the context easily leads to that assumption however, and for my lack of clarity I apologize.

The one difference between infertile and fertile couples regarding adoption, is that infertile couples must by definition intend to have children after deliberating on that choice. Fertile couples can have children for a variety of unintentional or involuntary reasons. I would argue that the respective 'responsibility' to adopt is equal in both cases, except for the involuntary cases (rape, incest, etc). Couples with no children may be making a 'selfish' choice not to make a home for a parentless child, or may have made the difficult admission that they are not fit to parent due to health, finance, etc...
Each case would probably have to be judged on it's own, but if I can't make the occasional overgeneralization, I'd probably not be able to say much of anything.

In our discussion about the relative costs of adoption vs IVF, no mention has been made about the organizations that grant money or tax credits to adoptive couples. Is there anyone who has been through the process of trying to get a grant to adopt and/or for fertility treatments (I know there aren't many entities interested in the latter).
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:51 PM on May 12, 2005




I'm certain the person who's most in favor of IVF--that is, reproduction without sex--is Rep. Napier's wife.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:52 PM on May 12, 2005


What a cretin. It's unconstitutional in any case.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:58 PM on May 12, 2005


Is it just me, or is his face way, way off-center?
posted by iron chef morimoto at 5:01 PM on May 12, 2005


I wonder how many more people -- fertile, subfertile and infertile -- would consider adoption if the costs were covered the same way maternity, pre-natal, labor and delivery costs are...

I would (fertile). Honest. Adoption is a great idea in theory, but it *seems* like I wouldn't have any money left over to raise the damn kid.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:10 PM on May 12, 2005


Adoption isn't always an option. Many adoption agencies (both foreign and domestic) have requirements of adoptive parents that exclude couples due, ironically, to the same medical problems which lead to their fertility problems. As a prime example, women with PCOS are often fertility-challenged and some agencies consider it to render them unhealthy enough (because of blood-sugar issues as well, often, their weight) to justify denying adoption.

Foreign countries often have age requirements that are well within the age limits of natural fertility, but younger than many couples seeking IVF. Adopting across racial/ethnic lines is not to be undertaken lightly and many people are opposed to it for very legitimate reasons.

Public adoption agencies typically have more liberal requirements for adoptive parents but the children tend to be older, "hard to place," foster-homed (which tends to create bonding problems) or saddled with physical, emotional or psychological disabilities. These are not challenges that every couple feels willing or capable of facing. And there is no reason why infertile people should have to be the ones who take on the extra burden (as if they aren't burdened enough) of raising the children with strikes against them.

As for this bill, IVF already fails more often than it succeeds. Putting extra barriers in place which will complicate the process -- which is already extraordinarily taxing physically and emotionally as it is -- is entirely inavisable on every level. I don't see anything which indicates that Rep. Napier is a doctor of any kind, let alone an infertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist, so I cannot see why he -- or his legislative colleagues -- could feel that he is qualified to write public policy on this matter.
posted by Dreama at 5:33 PM on May 12, 2005


I'm in favor of IVF and really want to do it, not because of fertility problems but because I want to create pedigreed test tube babies. I could give a damn whether my children are my genetic offspring. I'd much rather have a crack squad children with Nobel prize and Olympic gold-winning genes than my own mediocre ones. I'd also like a mausoleum with my body perfectly preserved under glass like Lenin. Armed guards would be nice, too. Some people call me ostentatious, and they'll be the first to be arrested when I take power.
posted by mullingitover at 5:33 PM on May 12, 2005


I'd also like a mausoleum with my body perfectly preserved under glass like Lenin - Mullingitover


Mulling, I'd be happy to shove you under there now...
posted by OhPuhLeez at 5:49 PM on May 12, 2005


Dreama, Rep. Napier may not be a doctor, but as a republican he automatically becomes an expert on women's reproductive systems, capable of commenting on the effects of contraception, abortion and fertility

mullingitover, don't forget to install beautiful fountains in the plaza in front of your palace to wash away the blood of protestors.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:22 PM on May 12, 2005


oops, forgot to use < > for </sarcasm> tag.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:24 PM on May 12, 2005


Metafilter should have an option to block comments from specific posters cause I don't ever, ever, ever, want to hear anything Specklet says again. As someone who is having fertility issues and is thinking of going through IVF you should be ashamed of yourself. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects about 6.1 million people in the U.S., equivalent to ten percent of the reproductive age population. You've probably just insulted 10% of Americans. Mabye you'd like to insult cancer patients next.
posted by tayknight at 6:42 PM on May 12, 2005


Metafilter should have an option to block comments from specific posters cause I don't ever, ever, ever, want to hear anything Specklet says again.

Metafilter should because you don't want. With that attitude, I'm guessing you must be having trouble conceiving because you're a Baby Boomer and it's getting late.

And comparing cancer patients to people who aren't going to die but can't reach self-validation through another fucking person on the planet is wicked over-dramatic. Take your self-absorbed neuroses to an appropriate forum. There must be ten where shallow hags complain that how unfair it is that they can't have a baby even though it's a rght guaranteed in the Constitution.

Mayor Curley, I think there are collectively ten insurance providers in the entire country that cover fertility treatment of any kind.

Your money is safe.


How do you know which insurance provider I have? But thanks for your supposition of my ignorance.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:02 PM on May 12, 2005


With that attitude, I'm guessing you must be having trouble conceiving because you're a Baby Boomer and it's getting late.

Not my place to respond, but I'd like to point out there are plenty of people who go through IVF when young. My wife and I did one unsuccessful IVF round of IVF this year (we were 31 and 32). There are plenty of people who need extensive fertility treatment young. For example, any woman who at any time in her life did chemo- or radio-therapy for cancer has a good chance of winding up in IVF. We didn't do anything wrong, we were just unlucky.

The idea that people do IVF for fun is nuts. IVF is six weeks of self-administered daily injections of hormones that fuck up your system. This is followed by surgery (where needles are stuck through the vagina and uterus) and an outpatient implantation. IVF is usually only recommended after a year of fertility treatment.

A successful IVF is then followed by two more months of daily injections.

On average each implanted egg has around a 15-20% chance of resulting in a baby. Typically multiple eggs (usually a max of 3) are implanted to increase the chances of conception. In cases where more that 3 implant the couple will likely be advised to abort one of the embryos. The chances of triplets from IVF is around 1-4 percent.

The cases you see in the news of people having seven kids are not the result of IVF, but rather unmonitored fertility drug usage. Technically doctors are supposed to moniter a woman’s response to the drugs and tell the couple to abstain from sex / insemination if there is a high chance of multiples. High order multiples are usually the result of a doctor not doing their job.

Also Mayor Curly, please don't be a dick. People who end up going though this don't need shit from people like you.
posted by phatboy at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2005


Wow, I didn't know there were so many, I have to say, ignorant assholes on metafilter.

I mean ignorant in the true sense, i.e., you don't know what you don't know. Probably you are all in your twenties, and I was probably a big mouth, know-it-all, dumb ass when I was that age, too, so I forgive your stupidity.

IVF is "incredibly selfish"?

I've heard some stupid shit in my 50 years, but that is both the stupidest and shittiest.

I can say that this IVF parent chose that route because his spouse is at risk for a deadly genetic disease, and rather than take the risk of passing those bad genes on with kids of "our own," we did IVF with donor eggs from another female.

Nobody does IVF because they are selfish. It is in every case, harder physically and emotionally, than a normal pregnancy.

So keep your fucking mouths shut unless you're talking about something you understand, like video games or internet porn, and go back to eating your cheetos and picking your toenails while you keep replaying that Paris Hilton video.
posted by centerpunch at 8:04 PM on May 12, 2005


Biblically speaking, a fertilized egg is not a person. The criterion is being able to breathe on its own; no first-trimester fetus can do that, let alone a week-old embryo.

Why do you think the Bible refers to "the BREATH of life"? YHVH breathed life into Adam, he did not fertilize any eggs from anything.

These fundy extremists need to read their own Bible.
posted by davy at 8:21 PM on May 12, 2005


Not my place to respond, but I'd like to point out there are plenty of people who go through IVF when young. My wife and I did one unsuccessful IVF round of IVF this year (we were 31 and 32).

31 and 32 are not young when talking fertility. At 28 years old, I can no longer donate eggs because I am past my prime. Maybe some organizations would take them, but I looked into it a few years ago, never took advantage of it, and am now too old.

Society may have pushed us to having kids at an older age, but our bodies haven't caught up. I don't remember the technical term (any doctors/nurses that can help me out?) but women pregnant at 35 and up are considered high risk pregnancies. THe likelihood of downs syndrome is higher. A bunch of other things that I don't specifically recall because I don't want to have kids, natural, adopted, or otherwise.

Just saying that because you feel young, doesn't mean reproductively you are. I suspect if only 14 to 24 year women were reproducing, the need for fertility treatment would be much lower.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:22 PM on May 12, 2005


One egg is not enough...the procedure is risky enough and failure-prone anyway. If people who are pro-life want a safe way to have IVF, they'll have to wait til it's more certain--i'd say 50 years?

There is the Snowflake thing tho--for those leftovers--Embryo 'Adoption' Matches Donors and Would-be Parents
posted by amberglow at 8:26 PM on May 12, 2005


Nobody does IVF because they are selfish.
Well, it is equally as selfish as having children "naturally", in that they are both caused by a desire to reproduce - I cannot think of any reason other than selfishness to do that.

In related news, Australia has been considering restricting couples to no more than 3 attempts per year for women under 42 and 3 in total for those over 42.
posted by dg at 8:28 PM on May 12, 2005


> > Nobody does IVF because they are selfish.

> Well, it is equally as selfish as having children "naturally", in that they are both caused by a desire to >reproduce - I cannot think of any reason other than selfishness to do that.

Stupidity helps sometimes.
posted by davy at 9:17 PM on May 12, 2005


Nobody does IVF because they are selfish. It is in every case, harder physically and emotionally, than a normal pregnancy.

Being physically and emotionally challenging does not exclude something from being selfish.

Consider people who climb Mount Everest. It is self-aggrandizement. The resources consumed by such an endeavor are thus consumed selfishly.

While a walk up a hill will also consume resources it does so at a significantly lesser rate. It is also typically not done for some personal glory.
posted by prak at 11:19 PM on May 12, 2005


You didn't need my supposition, Mayor Curley - you proved it with your comments.

Enjoy your free viagra ;).
posted by OhPuhLeez at 11:36 PM on May 12, 2005


dg, you need to clarify that the Australian government is limiting the number of IVF cycles that qualify for taxpayer subsidy via Medicare, NOT the number of cycles available if the couple can fund the procedure themselves.

And while I have a lot of sympathy, there are a lot of treatments which are similarly restricted on Medicare, such as those for people with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. So I'm having some trouble working out why one group is more deserving of public sympathy than another.
posted by arha at 11:43 PM on May 12, 2005


Mayor Curley, you seem extra-vituperative today. Are you wearing a barbed wire thong or something? Is it riding up?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:58 PM on May 12, 2005


Okay, I give the guy credit for being consistant, even if he's wrong. If he truly believes that life begins at the moment of union of sperm and egg, and if he truly believes that human life is sacred, then to him IVF is just as bad as killing babies for spare organs. You can disagree with him that life begins at conception (davy), or disagree that life is absolutely sacred, but his position is a very rational combination of those two beliefs. It's not "irrational", it's a very rational position based on two premises that can be debated.

We all agree that killing infants to take their spare parts would be abominable. He just moves the moment at which protection starts a lot earlier. You can debate whether he's reading the bible right, or whether what the bible says matters, but the position makes sense if you accept the premises.

I wonder if Rep. Napier will next try to limit the number of sperm released during each orgasm to one?

See, if he believes that human life begins at the unison of sperm and egg then he could care less how many sperm you waste looking at nudie magazines. Nor would he care how many menstrual cycles women go through without bearing children - human life has not been created yet.

he automatically becomes an expert on women's reproductive systems, capable of commenting on the effects of contraception, abortion and fertility

Again, if you accept his premise then this has nothing to do with a woman's reproductive system in particular and instead is all about human life in a very small form. We would all blanch if somebody proposed killing a child to take its organs and they justified it as "a parent's right" or similar.

I don't accept his premises and don't personally believe that single-cell unions of sperm and egg deserve this level of protection, but don't call his position "irrational." When you do so it makes it harder to refute him and actually makes his cause a lot easier.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:52 AM on May 13, 2005


dg, you need to clarify that the Australian government is limiting the number of IVF cycles that qualify for taxpayer subsidy via Medicare, NOT the number of cycles available if the couple can fund the procedure themselves.
Sorry - being so used to free health care, I forgot to specify that ;-)

Like you, I have little sympathy in this area- my completely non-scientific view is that some people were never meant to bear children. I feel that our Medicare dollars could be better spent in other areas, myself.
posted by dg at 5:18 AM on May 13, 2005


Curley: if the commenters are "shallow hags," does that make you the guy who hangs out on the internet baiting and insulting shallow hags?

Way to be, man!
posted by Mid at 6:38 AM on May 13, 2005


You people have just caused an immeasurable amount of pain to people who cannot conceive by natural means. Whether you believe IVF is okay or not.

For the record I am/was as fertile as a daggone rabbit-three kids when the oldest was two and a half, no multiples.

For someone who wants a child, some of the comments in this thread would be past cruel. And quite ignorant. Those of us who are blessed with children or do not want any should not assume we know what is best for those who want to have children but are infertile or subfertile. If you read some of the blogs out there you would know that trying to grow a family in such a case-either thru adoption or reproductive technology-can be a maddening, frustrating, and excruciatingly painful process.
posted by konolia at 6:48 AM on May 13, 2005


The "oh, just get over your infertility" crowd sounds like they didn't get enough hugs and kisses from mommy, perhaps they would have been better served having been raised by someone who knows WHAT A FUCKING SACRIFICE and act of pure love it is to raise a child well. Selfish, hah hah hah hah. No one is more selfish than someone who refuses to walk a mile in anothers shoes.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:11 AM on May 13, 2005


Selfishness is an insistence on having your own way even though it infringes on the rights of others. Having IVF, even on a company insurance plan, hardly qualifies, anymore than getting braces does. These are legitimate uses of medical insurance.
posted by orange swan at 9:25 AM on May 13, 2005


I'm 29 Curley (as is my wife), you're wrong again.
posted by tayknight at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2005


Curley: if the commenters are "shallow hags," does that make you the guy who hangs out on the internet baiting and insulting shallow hags?

No, it makes me the irritable guy who will say "I don't want to hear it" when someone suggests that they need a baby to pop out of their loins to feel like a human being. Because I can't imagine that people are that selfish. There are six billion fucking people on this planet. Obviously, it isn't feasible to ask people not to reproduce, but do people realy need to act like it's the greatest tragedy in thw world? "Oh, woe! Woe is me! Me! Look at me! It says in the bible or the constitution or something that I am entitled to have children and yet I cannot. This is like having cancer!"

Let me reiterate that point-- that self-centered, shallow hag that I was making fun of likened infertility to cancer. Like not reproducing was the end of your life, as cancr often is. Do you really want someone like that to reproduce?

You can me callous, but I'm not going to equate any non-terminal problem I have to cancer.
Those of us who are blessed with children or do not want any should not assume we know what is best for those who want to have children but are infertile or subfertile.

What if we can see what's best for the planet? Many of us don't think that there's an invisible superhero putting back the resources that six billion of us are destroying. And we certainly don't think that large scale disasters that kill most of the world's people would be a good thing and make a swell story for kids.

The "oh, just get over your infertility" crowd sounds like they didn't get enough hugs and kisses from mommy

We got more than just hugs and kisses. We got decent lessons that you missed like "there's more to life than to spawning and dying." For instance, my parents taught me that while I am the most important person in their eyes, I am just one of six billion people to everyone else and I wasn't enititled to anything even though I might want it very, very much.

Actually, it sounds like the problem is the converse of what you described-- the "oh, infertility is the bigest curse ever" crowd got too much attention from their parents and got everything they wanted from them. Consequently, you pout when you can't get what you want and think your life is over if you don't have a child to repeat the process.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:46 AM on May 13, 2005


I'm 29 Curley (as is my wife), you're wrong again.

And you're as thick as you are self-centered-- my "guess" was a device to suggest that you're as self-absorbed as a stereotypical baby boomer.

But if I had to guess for real, I'd suggest that there's a big clot of ill will from cancer patients who are appalled that you liken your problem to theirs.

And that clot is blocking your wife's cervix.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:54 AM on May 13, 2005


Curley
I ain't infertile, I am helping to raise a child that is not mine biologically and when I'm married I'm going to adopt her.

My parents taught me that life is hard, rarely fair and the more empathy we can offer others the better we are doing to share the burden and joy of life.

"there's more to life than to spawning and dying."


Like all the living in between, chief, and what you do with your life, simply not procreating doesn't award you the fucking humanitarian of the year medal. Nor the right to decide who does or does not deserve the right to reproduce by some accident of biology. The quality and humanity of a life far outweighs the absolutley random assignment of who gets to give it and I'd rather have someone who knows the value and difficulty of creating it, than ten people who shit out a kid and ignore them as their nature granted right.

Here are some other lessons your parents must have taught you: You win most arguements with a hostile swagger and a holier than thou attitude, right?
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2005


I do think Mayor Curley's gone quite a bit overboard on the vituperative front (actually, rereading his last few comments, that's a huge understatement), but Specklet's and BrotherCaine's comments drew more ad hominem response than they deserved, too.

It is of course selfish to insist on having your own genetically related children when there are so many unwanted children in the world who might love to have you as a parent. Saying this shouldn't cause the infuriated responses it did.

But this order of selfishness is one that as a society (and as a vast, vast majority of individuals, even the most contrarian ones) we tend to condone. The kind of selfishness that leads me to want to conceive and raise my own child is the same kind that keeps me from giving half or more of my income to fight poverty. An even better example: it's the same kind of selfishness that allows me to eat meat even though I know that the world would be better if we didn't, that a mostly vegetarian world-society would have more resources available to feed the needy (not to mention fewer suffering animals). It's the same kind of selfishness that makes me want to have and take care of a kitten once I move into a new apartment even though there are human beings who could be better served by the millions and millions of dollars we spend annually on pet products.

We're all terrible people living in a terrible world, and at least having a baby involves a level of selflessness toward a small human being that, though not quite as pure as taking care of an otherwise-unwanted child, is still rather immense.

(Plus, babies are cute.)
posted by nobody at 10:39 AM on May 13, 2005


"You people have just caused an immeasurable amount of pain to people who cannot conceive by natural means. Whether you believe IVF is okay or not....For someone who wants a child, some of the comments in this thread would be past cruel. And quite ignorant."

Not "blessed" with kids, here, nor able to bear any (cancer survivor), nor even certain I want any, I still feel fine about everyone expressing opinions on the subject, even if some might find them "cruel" or even "ignorant."

Many, many things in life are tough. Not getting something you want is frustrating and sad. Everyone's got their own tragedy at home.

For god's sake, if it's too painful for someone to tolerate the vigorous debate of certain issues on an online board, perhaps the afflicted person should skip the FPP in question -- or just go read Gawker.

No offense intended, Konolia.
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:08 AM on May 13, 2005


Mayor Curley: "And that clot is blocking your wife's cervix."

You are using someone's wife's medical condition as a debating point? This is beneath contempt.
posted by Mid at 11:27 AM on May 13, 2005


What if we can see what's best for the planet? Many of us don't think that there's an invisible superhero putting back the resources that six billion of us are destroying.

Wow, Curley. Extending that thought, if having kids=destroying planet, wouldn't suicide=saving planet? Please do me the favour of starting to save the world.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2005


MeTa

(I didn't start it, just saw that no one had posted it here)
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:31 PM on May 13, 2005


I sympathize with Curley, here. From this thread, I get the feeling that IVF is an expensive, time-consuming, and potentially emotionally traumatic process that shouldn't be undertaken without serious consideration. I've also heard the same thing applied to adoption. If you're willing to put that kind of time and money into having a kid, then why not get a kid that's already there and desperately needs a home instead of creating a new one?

You cannot chastise Curley for his comments with the "IVF is traumatic and painful and expensive and you hurt my feelings" defense, and then argue against adoption because it's hard. They're both hard. Pick the one that's going to help people.
posted by schroedinger at 6:03 PM on May 13, 2005


"there's more to life than to spawning and dying."

Prove it.

(devil's advocate, but seriously)
posted by scarabic at 7:43 PM on May 13, 2005


"IVF is traumatic and painful and expensive and you hurt my feelings" defense, and then argue against adoption because it's hard.

Who the heck is making that argument? Anyway, no one here is arguing against adoption. The point is that having a medical condition doesn’t make it ok for people to preach about what choices you should make in a very personal issue.

Anyway, read up on adoption. Adopting because you can't have your own kids is a big red flag for an adoption agency. Anyone trying to adopt a kid because they are upset about their inability to have one will be referred to counseling pretty quickly. Adoption and infertility are two completely separate matters. One isn't the solution to the other. People need to adopt kids because they want to adopt kids, not because they are infertile. With regards to "helping people", it is the obligation of everyone to help out the abandoned kids of the world. Being fertile doesn't somehow remove this obligation. If you have your own kids then is it somehow ok to leave the unwanted kids screwed?

All that said, I think adoption is a great thing for everyone involved, and more people should do it.

Anyway, no one is on curly's case because of his opinion, they are on he case because he is being an asshole.
posted by phatboy at 8:43 PM on May 13, 2005


As someone who favors the procreative view (but not without reservations), I'd just like to ask the folks opposed to reflect on whether or not they have actually done a correct, um, "impact analysis" of procreation alongside a similar anaylsis of a great many activities they themselves engage in...and perhaps feel they have a "right" to engage in.

I've not done such an analysis myself and my intuition tells me that I shouldn't be surprised at results anywhere across the spectrum of support or rebuttal of such a negative view of procreation.

I'm just asking people to consider whether procreation might be a convenient and cliched target, especially for those who are (for whatever reasons) not themselves emotionally invested in having children. Meanwhile, many such people continue to own their own vehicles and drive. As an example. Smug moral denouncements, certainly when they're vicious, are always suspicious to me. But when there's a whiff of hypocrisy? Very suspicious. And smug, vicious, moral denouncements are almost invariably accompanied by that whiff. Funny how that works.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:47 AM on May 14, 2005


In terms of impact analysis, EB: don't the generational probabilities favor adoption over procreation? I mean, if you're looking at a case where you either have one child that grows up to drive a car versus the case where two kids do the same thing, adoption seems to clearly be the winner, here.

Interestingly, this environmental view favors industrialized nations adopting from similarly industrialized nations, as otherwise, you'd be bringing a low-impact future consumer into a high-impact environment.
posted by catachresoid at 5:42 AM on May 14, 2005


Or they can have two children who don't drive cars in cities and use public transit. Does this give poor people more right to procreate?

Very good point, EB. If your ecological footprint is near 1, then maybe you can be all superior about how much you help the planet. If not, you don't have any credibility.

But this is off-topic, since the topic was about the proposal that only one egg could be implated at one time, which would seem to be bad all around - less effective, and ultimately more expensive.
posted by jb at 2:13 PM on May 14, 2005


EB and jb:

Having an ecological footprint near 1?

This thread has seen enough vitriol, so let me politely ask you if you are out of your mind.

During college I lived on about $4000 per annum after taxes and $150/mo rent - no car, or other means of directly polluting, either.

Was my 'ecological footprint' greater than or less than one? How in the hell would you calculate that? You can't simply divide world GDP by population here - inflation, different local costs of living, different pollution/resource acquisition methods by various companies you purchase from etc. all make such an evaluation impossible and render your point completely meaningless.

Unless, EB, your point wasn't to make a substantiative counter-argument, but rather to setup a strawman composed of "hypocrisy!" histrionics and burn it.
posted by Ryvar at 2:57 PM on May 14, 2005


Actually, if you look it up, anyone who lives short of extreme poverty in North America will still have a footprint greater than 1. I live on a student's budget in a small, shared apartment, and walk everywhere, etc, and were I to be a vegetarian and never fly anywhere, I would still have a footprint of about 2. We're all just that rich and hog that many resources. But the point is that anyone complaining about the earth and overpopulation who drives a car, lives in a detached home, etc, really is just being a hypocrite. If they cared that much, they would make their own lifestyle comform to their beliefs, rather than just trying to impose it on others.
posted by jb at 5:01 PM on May 14, 2005


(by extreme poverty, I mean homelessness.)
posted by jb at 5:03 PM on May 14, 2005


Yes, jb pretty much gets what I was hinting at...it squares with both what I've read and intuition. As I think I've said in other, similar debates, just the fact that someone is participating in such a discussion via a computer almost requires that they are consuming, directly or indirectly a huge amount of resources.

However, that really doesn't help my side of the procreation debate very much, unless any children being produced were going to mysteriously not be such consumptive developed-world citizens.

Even so, the main idea stands: developed world people tend to vastly underestimate the huge impact of even what they consider an "environmentally friendly" lifestyle has on "the planet", and it's not at all clear to me that some changes in lifefstyle (though very radical for developed-world people...but then, in the larger context, opposing procreation for these sorts of reasons is also quite radical, right?) might have a greater positive benefit to "the planet" than would avoiding procreation (assuming that child's lifetime impact to be about average for a developed world person).

But maybe not. That's why I said that I woudn't be surprised if having a child is unavoidably the worst thing you can do (in these terms of environmental impact) or, alternatively, there's some lifestyle changes which, say, ryvar could be doing right now that would benefit the benefit more than not adding another developed world person to it. Dunno. But if you think this is an important issue—enough to be hateful to others about their choices and evaluations—then it's worth thinking seriously about it, investigating it, and making informed judgments instead of just indulging one's particular biases.

It's nice, jb, to find someone thinking along the same lines. A kind of general principle to me, also of course sort of a something much more than a pet-peeve of mine, is that if you think some belief is really important and you spout off about it and you put forth any rationalizations about it whatsoever, then surely that belief's worth a large amount of continuing intellectual effort. Right? 'Cept you wouldn't think so given how most people behave.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:40 PM on May 14, 2005


" In terms of impact analysis, EB: don't the generational probabilities favor adoption over procreation?"

I'd think very much so. I'm pretty pro-adoption. It's mostly that I'm anti-anti-procreation; not so much that I'm pro-procreation. (Ugh, such constructions.) If you get my drift.

Arguing about this probably isn't honest without disclosing one's own predispositions/strong emotions, because it's almost impossible that they're not in play (especially in the case, of course, on the procreative side). I don't have kids, but I've wanted kids since my mid-twenties. Not just in a typical paternalistic way, I think, but also maternalistic (I know that sounds absurd). It just hasn't worked out with regard to what's happened in my one marriage and various relationships since then. Now I'm 40 and I'm almost in sort of a crisis about it. Anyway, most especially because I have a genetic disease, everything rational and ethical in me says that it would be in many ways wrong of me to procreate. And I also rationally know that almost everyone who adopts says that they don't feel their kids aren't really their kids. Still, when I imagine things, my desire to have a child seems to deeply involve it being biologically my child. One often hears from the childfree that they don't really like children, that children don't "do" anything for them emotionally. What I think maybe they don't understand about people not like them is that what children "do" to us emotionally is very subtle and powerful. I put my, um, girlfriend's (this is new, so pardon the uncertainty of terminology-you know how it is) 4-year old nephew to bed last weekend after looking after him during an emergency. We got along great, and picking him up and carrying to his room, tucking him in...well, that was a profound emotional experience for me. I think the childfree don't really understand how that hits the others of us on a primal level, and that primal level also seems to demand (for most of us) some genetic relation. But, yah, that't not rational. That's why I think for this and other reasons, if I have kids, I'll adopt. But, man, these are strong feelings involved. And they feel like very good feelings. The best kind of feelings. Not at all like selfishness, which is why that accusation so offends. Lots of kinds of love are very selfish. Love of a child, love of one's child—in many ways it seems as far from that as possible. On the other hand, an analysis from afar of how many people interact with their children and their psychology makes a strong case for extreme selfishness. I think a lot of parents are extremely narcissistic, their children are only themselves in another form, it's self-love. So, I dunno.

But I wish that the childfree that don't feel these things would be a little less smug in their analysis. I see their analysis, I share much of it. But if you don't have that incredibly strong instinct shouting in your ear, it's a lot easier to be so intellectually sure of one's conclusion. And that's probably a good thing. I know it's a good thing.

This is not unlike theism. I don't have the instinct to theist belief that I think most people do. It's easy for me to be an atheist and to see theism as a very harmful variety of irrationality. And while I do partly see it this way, in fact my emotional position on it is described in by that perspective, I am aware that a) other people have very strong emotional reasons for their theism; and, b) it's not just other people, it's most other people. So I try extra hard to be empathic and also to continue to consider that in being exceptional, I'm not being smarter but that I may not know something they do. Or whatever. At any rate, I'm much nicer about this issue than most atheists.

I wish the childfree would respond in the same way. But that's asking a lot. Just as the atheist lives in a theist world and is ridiculed and shunned for his/her atheism, so is the childfree. Why should it be they who try to be nice? That's a good question, but I think I answered it in my previous paragraph. Still, you can see why these people would be cranky. It's asking a lot that they not be. The best argument for it, though, is that being really cranky doesn't make the situation better for anyone.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:02 PM on May 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the expansion of your thoughts, EB. As usual, I find I agree with you almost entirely. Your childbearing/theist analogy resonates particularly strongly. So I'll just take up this little matter of scope:

"and it's not at all clear to me that some changes in lifefstyle ... might have a greater positive benefit to 'the planet' than would avoiding procreation"

Do you not think there's a responsibility for all the following generations as well? If the average lifetime consumption is 100 garbage units, and you manage to cut it down to 25 units but have a kid as well, it's only two more generations after that until you're back to average. Assuming that you can convince your descendents to live with the same spartan lifestyle and not have more then one kid each.

I am reminded of the (possibly apocryphal) philosophy of some Native American tribes who made large decisions only after considering the effects it would have through the tenth generation out. That's always impressed the hell out of me. I wish I could live up to it.
posted by catachresoid at 8:40 AM on May 15, 2005


Also: congrats on the ladyfriend!
posted by catachresoid at 8:42 AM on May 15, 2005


I get the feeling that IVF is an expensive, time-consuming, and potentially emotionally traumatic process that shouldn't be undertaken without serious consideration. I've also heard the same thing applied to adoption.
Ask around - you would obviously be surprised to find that the same thing applies to having a child "naturally".
posted by dg at 10:48 PM on May 15, 2005


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