This week I started a Momversation about the ethics of planned multiple births, or more specifically, holy cow, that woman has 14 kids. See here:
I wanted to bring this discussion here because I’m sure you’ve all got opinions about this story, and I’m willing to bet that a few of you let out a more than audible, “Do what?” when it was revealed that Nadya Suleman not only gave birth to premature octuplets, but that she also had six other kids waiting for her at home. And she lives with her mom. And she doesn’t have a job. And the father is not involved whatsoever. Did that story just get weirder and weirder, or what, right? It got to the point where I wouldn’t have been surprised if they reported that she kept all the placentas in her freezer so that if she ever ran out of strawberries she’d have something with which to make smoothies.
I remember where I was when I first heard about this story, and before any of the various details came out about this woman and her situation I told Jon, just wait. People are going to get all bent out of shape now about reproductive medicine. And in watching and reading the reactions to this story, I believe this is exactly what has happened. And dear lord, if people who struggle with infertility didn’t need more heartache and obstacles put in their way. As I say in the video, it’s such a shame that the media has turned this into such a circus, this isolated incident involving an obviously questionable and renegade doctor who I think holds most of the blame if there is any in this situation. And all it serves to do is make it harder for other people, other reasonable individuals, to explore their reproductive options. Because all of a sudden people are now saying asinine things about how women should be forced to adopt if they can’t conceive a child without medicine, or how the people of California should be able to force Nadya to give up her children because their tax dollars are being used to help raise them. Yes, how about we give a multiple choice test to women and let a committee decide who is and who isn’t fit to be a mother. Anyone with tattoos need not apply!
Is this an unfortunate and complicated situation? Absolutely, and I do not think it is physically possible for one person to take care of the basic needs of 14 children. She is going to need a considerable amount of help, and as much as people might be disgusted by Nadya, there are 14 children here who had no say at all as to what conditions they’d be born into. But again, I think this is an extremely isolated incident, and making sweeping statements and judgments about women’s reproductive rights and options because of it is ill-conceived and bone-headed.
I can’t believe I’m going to open comments on this because I imagine there will be a lot of screaming, but I’d love to hear from men and women who have struggled with infertility and would encourage others to listen to their side of this issue. Everyone play nice.