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Is This Really Necessary?
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel

OK, does anyone else agree with me that this has gotten completely out of hand? Can I get a witness? What is this, some kind of contest? Are they awarding prizes for the woman most able to imitate a cat? Carrying 7 or 8 fetuses to term can cause untold damage to both the mother and the children. Know why? Because humans weren't meant to have litters for God's sake!

Anyway, I have a few questions. Yes, I realize they're probably rhetorical, but who knows? Some poor, misguided soul who's about to dope up on fertility drugs and try to go for the world record might stumble by here, assuming they've been introduced to the wonder of electricity.

First, why exactly is it considered good and morally praiseworthy to have 7 kids you can't support all at once (the McGauheys), but bad to have 7 kids you can't support one at a time (folks on welfare)?

Second, how come selectively reducing 8 fertilized embryos down to 2 or 3 - or, God forbid, adopting a child who's already here - is interfering with God's will, but taking truckloads of costly and dangerous fertility drugs in the quest for biological offspring isn't?

Third, what is the source of this ridiculous insistence on producing biological children? Is your particular genetic makeup REALLY so amazing that adopting a child nobody else wants who could really use a loving home is just beyond the pall?

Fourth, doesn't it bother you that millions of dollars are spent trying to keep these absurdly undersized and undeveloped newborns alive, while millions of children in this country lack health insurance and thus basic care like well-child exams and immunizations?

Fifth, what about the future costs? Most of these high-number multiples are born with all sorts of physical and mental problems. Who is going to pay for the physical therapy? The special education? Outfitting their homes with whatever devices they will require? Who will take the responsibility for caring for them when they are severely impaired adults who are unable to care for themselves?

Finally, the fundamental principle of the Hippocratic oath is "First, do no harm." Is anyone at all regulating these infertility specialists? I don't see how going ahead with attempts at fertilization when the mother has released a dangerous amount of eggs, and then allowing her to carry so many fetuses to term that she risks losing them all, uterine rupture, giving birth to babies with severe physical and mental handicaps, or who knows what other horrors can be considered doing no harm.

b i o
Elizabeth Weaver Engel, besides being a budding writer, is a stealth geek, a manager (but NOT the Pointy-Haired Boss) at a non-profit association, a distance runner, a "rabid" Lindy Hopper, and a connoisseur of fine B-grade movies. 

Currently a resident of Washington, DC, Elizabeth grew up outside of Philadelphia and holds a Master's degree in political theory from the University of Virginia.  She fell into working with computers by accident and has since been struggling to pull herself out.  Writing for Mindjack is one of the steps she's taking to do so. 

The writer of this article welcomes your comments: