What she thought she knew: a love story
July 12, 2009 8:28 PM   Subscribe

What she thought she knew.
posted by alms (57 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I love the dichotomy... the limitations of our medical expertise and technology caused the best professionals to overlook all the obvious signs of pregnancy. However, the strengths of the same allowed her daughter the chance at a normal life despite a growth disorder.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:50 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad that this middle aged woman could risk major birth defects as well as a more than insignificant chance of leaving a teenager or young adult alone in the world so that she could make Oprah's book club.
posted by Talez at 10:11 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


That seems like an unwarranted snark, Talez. Clearly she wrestled with the decision, and didn't seek to become pregnant as any kind of publicity stunt as you seem to suggest. And 44 isn't an unheard of age to bear children. My own mother was 43 when I was born. If you think she ought to have aborted the child--well, being pro-choice means leaving the choice up to her.
posted by stray at 10:40 PM on July 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


Stray has the bottom line down perfectly: the decision should be the parent's choice, not that of a government, religious authority, or someone with an axe to grind on Metafilter.
posted by happyroach at 12:02 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying the decision shouldn't be hers.

I'm implying she's irresponsible for taking a huge risk by having a child at 44 and it's sad that she's actively promoting her irresponsibility and being lauded to it by gullible members of society eager to see people beat the odds.
posted by Talez at 12:10 AM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


But is that how 'society' sees it: as a brave woman beating the odds? I saw it as a story of how limited our understanding of what are bodies, even by the very best doctors, really is. And then she decides to have the kid, I was glad to see the kid is alright, which is a huge risk, but what you're glossing over is that it's a huge risk every time a woman, of any age, decides to have a child. Sure age throws some obvious risks into it, but risk is always there.

I generally hate these memoirs and honestly, I'll never read this one, but the video was really nicely made, kept the story moving and gave me the impression this would not be a book about her beating the odds at 44 - she thought she was infertile, after all, she had no idea there were odds to be beaten.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:20 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm implying she's irresponsible for taking a huge risk by having a child at 44 and it's sad that she's actively promoting her irresponsibility and being lauded to it by gullible members of society eager to see people beat the odds."

Wha? Lots of mothers have children at 44 or even older. If that was not the case a lot of us wouldn't be here. As From Bklyn said, the thing that makes Ms. Cohen's story exceptional is the "fact" that she was supposed to be infertile, and had a malformed uterus to boot.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:26 AM on July 13, 2009


I can't believe it missed.
posted by Jonnings at 12:55 AM on July 13, 2009


She was six months along when they finally realized she was pregnant, which you could find by RTFA. Six months is way past most state legal limits on abortion, unless I'm very much mistaken.

And I might be.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:02 AM on July 13, 2009


The nytimes article says she filed then settled a wrongful life suit. I have to wonder if that's correct or if she really filed a wrongful birth suit. The difference, as I understand it is that "wrongful life" is when the child sues the parents or doctors for not aborting them, and "wrongful birth" is when the parents sue the doctor because they misdiagnosed or failed to inform them of the complications, which had they been aware of they would have aborted. In any case, from the little I've read on the matter, wrongful birth charges are extremely rare in the United States because the plaintiff has to allege what amounts to, "I wish this child did not exist," or, "I'm burdened by this child and wouldn't have chosen this had I known."
posted by Rhomboid at 3:41 AM on July 13, 2009


medical procedures and plenty of red wine on vacation in Italy, recommended by a doctor who had told her she had anemia and reflux.

This is one of many stories like this I've read about shoddy medical care in New York. The practice of internal medicine in that city is practically tribal. What kind of a doctor ever recommends someone drink more alcohol for any reason? And what kind of a doctor recommends alcohol to someone with anemia and acid reflux. If someone comes in with the hantavirus, does he recommend chicken soup and a hot water bottle?

There is a message here for people living in New York - you have some of the worst doctors on the face of the earth working there.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:11 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vilifying women for not having abortions, while certainly providing a brief change of scenery in the rich tableaux of misogynist attitudes, is still despicable.

Because of course there are no inherent risks to pursuing a termination at six months, as she would have had to do.

And this whole leaving a child "alone" bit is of course absolute rubbish. People, many of them parents, have a propensity to die at really inopportune times (like, you know, any time). That aside, and apart even from the fact that this is a backdoor way into valuing unborn children more than living women, with life expectancy in the US ranging towards the upper seventies, a mother who gives birth at 44 is perfectly likely to be around for that child's thirtieth birthday.

If one is "alone in the world" at thirty, it more than likely isn't one's mother's fault. But YMMV.
posted by wreckingball at 7:15 AM on July 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


"Good book, Mom, I really like it a lot!" Who needs Oprah after that? (Except for the money, I guess.)
posted by emhutchinson at 7:20 AM on July 13, 2009


And as for maternal age, my mother was 42 when I was adopted at birth. I am now 47 and my period came this a.m. (will it never go away?!). The other day I called my mom to say, among other things, I am amazed that at my now current age she could manage a five-year-old. My youngest is ten.

Thanks for posting this.

Being pro-choice is complicated and problematic (redundant?) but so is just about anything worth doing, no?
posted by emhutchinson at 7:35 AM on July 13, 2009


Talez: please quantify this "huge risk" you speak of. At what age do you consider childbirth "responsible"? Your comment smacks of ageism to me.
posted by rocket88 at 8:17 AM on July 13, 2009


What kind of a doctor ever recommends someone drink more alcohol for any reason?

You know, it's possible that the doctor's advice was not reprinted verbatim and in full context for purposes of this article, and that the author of the article was being glib, or oversimplifying, or leaving out critical details. Totally crazy, I know, but it's possible.
posted by brain_drain at 8:19 AM on July 13, 2009


I'm implying she's irresponsible for taking a huge risk by having a child at 44

I know there's risks in having babies at that age, but what do you propose? Everyone who gets pregnant over 40 should get abortions? Everyone who's over 40 should pay special attention to birth control?

Both my youngest sister-in-law and an uncle were born to moms that were over 40.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2009


Everyone who's over 40 should pay special attention to birth control?

HELL YES!

Some 90% of ova are genetically defective at age 40. A third of fetuses are miscarried. There is a greater than 1 in 40 chance that if the fetus does make it to term, the baby will be handicapped.

At age 45 almost all the ova are gentically damaged. Almost one in ten babies that make it to term will be abnormal. The miscarriage rate soars above 50%

You have to be fucking stupid to think pregnancy at age 40 or more is anything approaching a "good idea." Sweet jesus.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


You have to be fucking stupid to think pregnancy at age 40 or more is anything approaching a "good idea." Sweet jesus.

Unless you happen to be one of the women on the upper west side that strongly believe nature/science doesn't apply to them because of their "status".
posted by hal_c_on at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


You have to be fucking stupid to think pregnancy at age 40 or more is anything approaching a "good idea".

Or just desperate. Or unlucky. Or - for yourself - anti-abortion. As long as people are allowed to have the choice, they are entitled to make it for a variety of reasons that it would be a little harsh to simply judge as "stupid."
posted by MuffinMan at 10:32 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look here...I'm about as pro-choice as a human can be. As I've noted in other comments, I've been on the front line of this battleground for over 20 years. I've been shoved, stabbed at, hit with placards, dodged thrown bottles, worried about bombs and guns, and called names you can't even imagine, as I've walked girls and women into the doors of clinics. I have faced down some of the scariest zealots on the planet without blinking.

I, for various reasons, cannot take hormonal birth control. For a long time, that was no big deal, my husband and I thought I was infertile. Then...SURPRISE...we got pregnant...so now we know it's possible, and we've had to rejigger our sex life. I adore my son, and think he's the grooviest thing evah, but I also think I'm too damn old to do it again. I just don't have that kind of energy.

If I were to get pregnant again, I would be the same age as the author when she got pregnant. And we've had a couple of scares, where it may be peri-menopause, or perhaps we weren't as careful as we shoulda been. So, I've had the occasion to think about what I would do if I were to get pregnant. (Gods forbid)

And as pro-choice as I am, and as much as I'm willing to stand in the front lines protecting anyone who chooses an abortion; I'm not sure I could make the decision to abort.

To suggest that an abortion is a toss-off decision, easily made and accomplished, and that any woman over a certain age should automatically have the fetus aborted is paternalistic and misogynistic.
posted by dejah420 at 11:11 AM on July 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Some 90% of ova are genetically defective at age 40. A third of fetuses are miscarried. There is a greater than 1 in 40 chance that if the fetus does make it to term, the baby will be handicapped.

Yes, but what are the odds of getting pregnant over 40? And wouldn't birth control pills be detrimental for a woman's health when she's nearing menopause? I'm not saying that having a baby at that age is a good idea, in fact, I do think that it's dangerous [to get pregnant] and pretty much a pain in the ass to raise a kid when you're older...all I'm saying is, there's a lot of things to consider and I don't think we can judge this woman or any other woman, for getting pregnant. And as many people have said, being pro-choice means a lot of people are still NOT going to consider abortion is right for them.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:22 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


wow - none of you assholes are invited over to play with my 1-year-old and his forty year old mother.
posted by pinky at 11:29 AM on July 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


You have to be fucking stupid to think pregnancy at age 40 or more is anything approaching a "good idea." Sweet jesus.

Unless you happen to be one of the women on the upper west side that strongly believe nature/science doesn't apply to them because of their "status".


But it's the fundies who hate women and want to control their bodies, right?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 11:50 AM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I Got a Metafilter account simply so I could chime in on this topic-

I am aware that my male status relegates me to at most a background participant when it comes to reproductive matters such as this, but this sort of "I will reproduce biologically at ALL costs" attitude I see in some women strikes me as ugly, and somehow, even non-sentient.

I admit, I am a biased in this respect: A dear friend of mine, recently decided that she had to have a baby. She was older, and had lupus, as well as a host of other autoimmune problems, but she had to have a baby. She confided in her friends that she felt that her life was meaningless without growing a child inside herself (this from a full professor at a major university with a list of accomplishments the length of your arm). Her doctors warned her that there were grave risks of birth defects, but she went ahead anyway. Her child -surprise- was born with profound birth defects, and will have to use a colostomy bag for his entire life.

There are so many children that need adoption out there, that would make wonderful, grateful sons or daughters - I just wish that their voices could be heard more often over the call of the uterus.
posted by HalfJack at 12:02 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, having RTFA a bit more closely, I need to back way off on this lady. She did not find out about her pregnancy until 6 months (!) along . I admit, she had far fewer option at that point - having the child was just about the only thing she could do.
posted by HalfJack at 12:12 PM on July 13, 2009


Your anecdote is a sad one, HalfJack. I could give you a few about the results of poor people having children. Shall we start the sterilization programs?
Or maybe we should leave all reproductive choices to the individuals directly involved.
posted by rocket88 at 12:41 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are so many children that need adoption out there, that would make wonderful, grateful sons or daughters - I just wish that their voices could be heard more often over the call of the uterus.

Oh, halfjack, it's just not that simple. Adoption in all its various forms is expensive, complicated, and risky. I'm an adoptive (as well as biological) mom and complications are common. The least expensive form of adoption--adopting from foster care--carries a high risk of adopting a child with serious behavioral problems, rather than the "wonderful grateful sons or daughters" you imagine. Not that it's not worthwhile--not that outcomes aren't often good--or that there isn't good mixed in with the bad. But it's not an easy choice to make and only people who don't have first-hand experience with adoption seem to think it is.

Your friend with lupus, for instance, would probably not have been able to adopt a newborn because of her age and health. Many agencies that place white babies will not work with people who are not infertile, or who already have biological children, or who are single, or who weigh more than a certain amount, or who are over 40 (or some agencies, 35). If she had chosen to adopt through foster care, she would have carried a high risk of having a child she was attached to returned to its biological family, or of adopting a child with behavioral problems or disabilities. She might have been able to, like us, adopt a black newborn, but many babies of all races that are available for adoption have been drug-exposed (including our daughter, though thank goodness she shows no ill-effects), or the birthmother has not had prenatal care.

There are other risks as well--in our case, the re-emergence of an "unknown" birthfather led to a nearly two-year custody fight that cost us tens of thousands of dollars. A family with fewer resources, or with no friends or family to help with bills, might have ended up having to choose between defending their family and keeping their home. I now know many adoptive families, and almost none got through the process without setbacks, heartbreak, or significant unanticipated costs.

Also, the heart has reasons, etc. Until it happened to me, it was very easy for me to discount the powerful drive many women have to be mothers--and specifically, if possible, to bear a child.

I am a big fan of compassion over judgment. I wish your friend and her son the very best.
posted by not that girl at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Or just desperate. Or unlucky. Or - for yourself - anti-abortion. As long as people are allowed to have the choice, they are entitled to make it for a variety of reasons that it would be a little harsh to simply judge as "stupid."

But it's the fundies who hate women and want to control their bodies, right?


Let us re-examine the FACTS: At age 40, almost all the ova are defective. At age 45, 10% of births will be defective. Most pregnancies at that age will miscarry. If you think pregnancy at age 40 or more is a good idea, you are factually, scientifically wrong.

I did not say a single word about what women should do if they find themselves pregnant during their last decade of potential pregnancy. I am responding singularly to the idea that saying women over a certain age should not become pregnant is a case of "ageism." It is not ageism: it is a fact.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:11 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let us re-examine the FACTS: At age 40, almost all the ova are defective. At age 45, 10% of births will be defective. Most pregnancies at that age will miscarry. If you think pregnancy at age 40 or more is a good idea, you are factually, scientifically wrong.


Citation please? Because I don't think you've got one. Or are you accusing every fertility doctor who doesn't use donor eggs for all women in their 40's of malpractice?
posted by Maias at 4:03 PM on July 13, 2009


Five, do you have a cite for that "almost all ova are defective after 40" stat you keep using? Also the 33% miscarriage rate? I'm not having any luck finding a medical study that substantiates that.

The National Center for Health Care Statistics’ annual report of fertility rates for 2000 and 2001 indicates that a woman’s fertility peaks between the ages of 25-29. It also dramatically showed that a 50% decrease in fertility rate started at age 34, and by age 40, the fertility rate decreased by 90% when compared to a 25-29 year old woman.

A woman is born with all the eggs (oocytes) she will ever have: six million at 20 weeks gestation; two million at birth; 400,000 at puberty. A total of 400 are ovulated over the course of a lifetime and, with each menstrual cycle, 1,000 eggs will leave the resting stage and start to mature.

And just as men's sperm aren't as viable at 40 as they are at 18, oocytes may have more difficulties adhering, etc...but that's true of women with endimetriosis, people with bad diets, etc. There have been studies that show the difficulties in conceiving, but I'm not finding anything that suggests that 90% genetic failure at 40 years of age.

Can you cite please, I'd like to read the white papers.
posted by dejah420 at 4:05 PM on July 13, 2009


Reference.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:23 PM on July 13, 2009


Or are you accusing every fertility doctor who doesn't use donor eggs for all women in their 40's of malpractice?

Certainly any doctor that uses the older woman's eggs without performing preimplantation genetic diagnosis should be held liable for malpractice.

----

Genetic defect rates go exponential with age. Where a young woman has a 1/1000 chance of birthing a Down's baby in her mid-twenties, it skyrockets to a 1/10 chance when she's fifty. Other genetic abnormalities increase exponentially, of course; Down's is no special case in that regard.

D.E. Battaglia, et al: Influence of maternal age on meiotic spindle assembly in oocytes from naturally cycling women. Human Reproduction October, 1996; (Vol. 11): Pages 2217-2222.
17% of the eggs studied from women 20-25 years old were found to have an abnormal spindle appearance and at least one chromosome displaced from proper alignment. 79% of the eggs studied from women 40-45 years old were found to have an abnormal spindle appearance and at least one chromosome displaced from proper alignment.
Miscarriage is strongly associated with genetic damage. From here:
Age 30-39 = 25% chance of miscarriage
Age 40-45 = 50% chance of miscarriage
Age >45 = 95% chance of miscarriage.
But, really, what difference do the exact numbers make? The fact is that pregnancy after a certain age is absolutely fraught with enormous risk to both the mother and the child.

This is not to say that women should not be allowed to choose to engage in risky behaviour. But let us call it for what it is. Nature, science, and facts are a bitch: they really don't care what your personal desires or opinions might be.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:17 PM on July 13, 2009


What you are actually saying is that it's hard to get pregnant in your 40's. Given that most of these eggs with genetic defects never fertilize, it's pretty absurd to call that "fraught with enormous risk to both the mother and child." What it is is agonizingly difficult, not dangerous.

Average life expectancy for women is around 80 in the U.S.-- so the bit about the risk to the child of the mother dying young is exaggerated, too.

What you say about PGD is laden with value judgment and plain wrong, according to the latest research, which finds higher than expected chromosome damage rates in embryos of even young, healthy couples. Screening winds up throwing away or damaging many embryos that would have been just fine, at least according to this study.

Basically, the science is evolving rapidly. Is it advisable to wait until your 40's to get pregnant? Of course not, all things being equal. But they never are and I think it's insensitive and rude to present your personal value judgments as scientific fact.
posted by Maias at 6:37 PM on July 13, 2009


Bullshit. Chromosomal abnormalities go sky-high as a woman enters her last decade of fertility. This is not a personal value judgement, it is a fact. Miscarriage rates go sky-high as a woman enters her last decade of fertility. That is not a personal value judgement, it is a fact. Birthing problems (breeching, etc) rates skyrocket as a woman enters her last decade of fertility. This is not a personal value judgement, it is a fact.

I am sorry that you take personal offense to facts. But I am afraid the facts do not give a damn.

But screw it. I'm not going to argue this. Believe what you want, and I sincerely hope it doesn't come round to bite you in the ass.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on July 13, 2009


I am sorry that you can't see that you are making risk evaluations and calling them fact, failing to see your own moralizing in your personal view of the risks. Just because you personally view the risks in one way, doesn't mean that others have to see those same risks the way you do.

Just look at your language "skyrocketing" "sky high" "bite you in the ass." I might personally think someone nuts to risk a 10% chance of not having a perfect baby. However, for young women, the rates of birth defects are 3-5%.

Relative risk and absolute risk are not the same-- and just because you would make different choices doesn't make you morally superior.

I absolutely agree that women should be advised about the dismal odds of pregnancy success even with IVF in their 40's. But I don't think the way you are talking about it is helpful or productive.
posted by Maias at 7:14 PM on July 13, 2009


Being pro-choice means sometimes accepting other people's choices that you might not have made yourself.
posted by zinfandel at 8:18 PM on July 13, 2009


Deceive yourself however you wish, Maias. I am merely presenting the fact-based statistical risk. You can call a dog a cat, and you can ignore the facts and statistics, but that doesn't actually change the reality of the situation.

I think it is dishonest and unhelpful to blow smoke up people's ass. Clearly, you think differently. I think you do a grave disservice by doing so.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:36 PM on July 13, 2009


And maybe I need to re-iterate this: I am not advocating abortion and I am not wishing to deny choice. I am presenting the facts, from which people may choose to make their own decisions. For the sake of yourself and your child, know what you are risking before you do it. Pooh-poohing the facts of risk only serves to harm women by encouraging ignorance and risk-taking.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 PM on July 13, 2009


Silly woman, doesn't she know that once she becomes pregnant she loses her bodily autonomy and the whole fucking world feels entitled to judge the choices she makes about her own fucking child. Shame on her for not consulting with the rest of us for what is right and proper for a 44 year old pregnant woman to do. We would have certainly been entitled to condemn her for her decision had the child come out less than perfect.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:46 PM on July 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


You have to be fucking stupid to think pregnancy at age 40 or more is anything approaching a "good idea." Sweet jesus.
posted by five fresh fish


Is that an opinion or a fact? (Sorry...I mean fact)
posted by rocket88 at 7:00 AM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The numbers are what they are. Your emotions around them don't change the facts.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:56 AM on July 14, 2009


clearly five fresh fish is moderating this thread. what's your horse in this race, FFF? Are you a geneticist? Did you have an older mother and hence lots of genetic issues yourself?
posted by pinky at 7:58 AM on July 14, 2009


I am responding to messages that address what I have said, pinky. I believe that is how this thing is supposed to work. Ad hominem much?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:35 AM on July 14, 2009


You have to be fucking stupid to think pregnancy at age 40 or more is anything approaching a "good idea." Sweet jesus.

Bullshit.

Deceive yourself however you wish, Maias.

I think it is dishonest and unhelpful to blow smoke up people's ass. Clearly, you think differently.


Ad hominem much?
posted by brain_drain at 8:44 AM on July 14, 2009


Sure, brain_drain. For the sake of taking the focus off "attack the FFFish", I'll grant that your quotes there are indeed ad hominem attacks, and not responses to attacks. Allow me to point out, though, that in addition to your quotes, I have presented factual evidence, something that others have not and can not.

Given that facts are a whole lot more useful than emotional opinion, perhaps it would be a good idea for those who are offended or in disagreement to present some evidence in support of their view. Hurling abuse at me doesn't actually change the statistics.

Nature sucks: it doesn't care what your emotions say.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:14 AM on July 14, 2009


I just want to know where your attachment to this issue comes from, and why you feel the need to shut down each commenter in this thread.
posted by pinky at 9:18 AM on July 14, 2009


that isn't abuse - it is simple curiosity.
posted by pinky at 9:19 AM on July 14, 2009


I don't dispute your numbers, fff. I do, however, dispute your conclusions, which are a product of your emotions more than they are a product of "the facts". You don't have to be "fucking stupid" to have a child at 40+, any more than you have to be "fucking stupid" to climb a rock face, despite the fact that gravity is a fact.
People take risks every day, and most of them weigh those risks against potential benefits and make a rational decision. If the outcome doesn't affect you directly, it behooves you to keep your personal judgments to yourself.
posted by rocket88 at 9:44 AM on July 14, 2009


I did not say it was fucking stupid to have a child at 40+. I said it was fucking stupid to think it is a good idea, and that response was made to a sarcastic "Everyone who's over 40 should pay special attention to birth control?" comment, as if age should not be any sort of consideration at all.

If one wants to use the rock-climbing analogy, having a child in your mid-twenties might be like climbing with belay and safeties. Having a child in your mid-forties is like climbing without a rope. It is very likely to not be a good idea to be climbing without a rope, and anyone who is climbing without a rope had sure as hell better be paying special attention to what they are doing.

I do not have attachment to "this issue", pinky. I have attachment to the presentation of facts and making a fully informed decision. Choose to do whatever you want. But make it an informed choice.

Why is it so important to you that facts not be involved in this discussion?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:58 PM on July 14, 2009


ah, so you won't say why this is so fucking important to you, then. usually when someone is so impassioned about something there is at least some nugget of personal experience involved.
posted by pinky at 6:35 PM on July 14, 2009


Sorry to disappoint. I have absolutely no personal experience whatsoever with pregnancy, save having been born.

I'm railing against the indifference to the real risks that comments like "your comment smacks of ageism" and snide "[so] everyone who's over 40 should pay special attention to birth control?" and "shall we start the sterilization programs?" pooh-pooh. AEC's circumstance does not enter the picture: I am addressing only the casual disregard for health outcomes being displayed in that thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:34 PM on July 14, 2009


Er, "this thread."
posted by five fresh fish at 7:42 PM on July 14, 2009


The fact that you have absolutely no personal experience with this issue is abundantly clear from your vehemence, judgment, lack of empathy and insistence that your value judgments are "fact."

Facts do not include values, risks are never context-free. And I do know many people who have made this choice and not had the catatrophic outcomes you predict: they have either gotten pregnant and had normal children or they haven't gotten pregnant. Some have done so after many miscarriages, but they ultimately either got pregnant and had a normal kid, decided to adopt or decided to give up.

No one in this thread is recommending that 25 year old women in happy marriages say, "Oh gee, let me wait until I'm 44, I'll get pregnant then, no big worries." No one is saying that this is the ideal, that people shouldn't be told clearly and repeatedly about the risks when they are young, that they shouldn't try to plan in their lives to avoid having to make this choice if at all possible.

What you seem absolutely oblivious to is that for some women, this turns out to be their only chance to attempt to have a biological child. Not because they don't know the risks, not because they blithely skipped through their 20's turning down lovers and marriage proposals right and left, not because they are entitled fuckwits who believe that biology doesn't apply to them, not because they are stupid, not because they don't want to adopt, not because they are selfish, evil and thoughtless but because that's the way their lives turned out.

Those women are not indifferent to the risks, you are indifferent to their context.
posted by Maias at 8:31 PM on July 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Facts do not include values, risks are never context-free.

Well said.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:37 PM on July 14, 2009


Good god.

You know what? You've succeeded. I'll STFU. Come, let MeFi be a beacon of poor information!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 PM on July 14, 2009


You don't have to STFU, just get the point. You're shouting "facts, facts, FACTS!" We're saying facts and good information isn't all there is. Robots and computers make decisions based on facts and information...humans make decisions based on facts, information, and also personality, context, values, past experiences, desires, fears.

You keep repeating the comment I said about birth control past 40....I think you didn't understand it the way I meant it. I was going more on the idea of how a woman in her 40s views birth control (be it the "correct" viewpoint or not), not on how a doctor or geneticist thinks about the conception or contraception abilities of a woman past her 40s.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:45 PM on July 14, 2009


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