Ladies, Freeze Your Eggs!

I was at a party recently when a brilliant, childless, 40-something unmarried friend confided she'd just frozen a bunch of her unfertilized eggs so that she could bear her own biological children once she met Mr. Right. "I wish I'd done it when I was 25," she explained. "But there is new technology to preserve unfertilized eggs and my doctor discovered I have really healthy eggs for a 40-plus woman."

Wow, what a good idea, I thought, but kind of... random. Probably not the solution for everyone.

A few days later, at the annual Wharton Women in Business conference, an older Wharton grad was asked by the audience of 20-something Wharton business school students for her best advice about balancing work and family. After a pregnant (ha ha) pause during which the room of 500 women got preternaturally quiet, she broke the silence by shouting like a Nascar announcer kicking off a race: "Ladies, freeze your eggs--now!"

And then came official confirmation from the medical world as reported in the Fall 2006 issue of Yale Medicine. In the past three years, advances have been made in the relatively new technology of harvesting and preserving a young woman's unfertilized eggs for use years or even decades later (the so-called oocyte cryopreservation is available at the Yale Fertility Center and a few other teaching hospitals and commercial medical specialists like Advanced Fertility Services). "Fertility preservation" can help young childless women who have had cancer or a hysterectomy that has rendered them infertile; it can also offer alternatives for women under age 35 who know they want to have kids but for various reasons want to wait until they are older to do so. Patients with ethical objections to embryo freezing find oocyte preservation an acceptable course. Evidence from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine attests that women over 50 make physically and mentally healthy mothers. A recent Slate article also tackled infertility technology's more widespread implications in My Boss is 65 and Pregnant. The piece recaps how birth control furthers social change by allowing women to delay marriage and childbearing and establish economic independence by working longer and achieving greater work and educational advancement before becoming parents.

Imagine this work/family balance: Work for 30 or 40 years, achieve financial security and all the success your ego or bank account requires, retire at 50 or 60 in a haze of glory (or frustration or inner peace depending on your psyche) and then have kids. There is no work/family conflict. No wondering who stays home with a sick child. No guilt because you left work early or missed a school play. No conservatives wagging fingers at working moms for being selfish. No retirees wondering what to do with their days. Because now you can always be home, and you've got a really big project to tackle there.

It's always been unfair that women hear the ticking of our biological clocks so much more loudly and insistently than men. The option to freeze your eggs is the great silencer of the biological clock. Plus a great equalizer with men who blithely delay parenthood in favor of career success. Men can become first time dads after 50 -- and now women can, too! At the very least, this new technology can buy women a degree of control over our reproduction, a few more priceless years to look for the right partner before becoming a parent and a wider window of time to have children.

A few caveats: The technology to freeze unfertilized eggs is relatively new, expensive at over $10,000 for the drugs, surgery and storage fees (most not covered by insurance), and very few women have embarked on this uncharted path. But it's worth considerating so you're not biting your nails at age 38, wondering how many healthy eggs you've got left. Maybe the new feminist rallying cry for women who want to "have it all" will be: Ladies, freeze your eggs!

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  November 15, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts , Moms in the News
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THis is great for women who want to have children later in life. However, for me personally, I don't think I'd have the energy to be a 50 or 60 year old mother to an infant. More power to them though!

Posted by: Scarry | November 15, 2006 7:31 AM

I think there was a book published a while back (I'm sure there are probably many) about an increased number of options leading to depression, unhappiness, etc. The idea being that a person can get so caught up in having to make decisions that it becomes debilitating (I kind of think of it as living in a supply-saturated market, where the market has to fabricate demand through advertising). For some reason, this topic--presented as a way to postpone childrearing or reprioritize ones earlier years seems that way (i.e., mostly an extra option that will add more stress to what seems a pretty stressful decision for many women... I've honestly never thought of men as postponing fatherhood to further their careers--this doesn't strike me as how men think, but maybe this is in effect what happens when they're so focused on their careers). I've got no ethical issues with freezing eggs (although I wonder what happens to them if the woman dies or decides never to use them... could there be custody battles over frozen eggs in divorce proceedings?!!!), but for the majority of those it would impact, would this really lead to more balance? And, as medical technology increases, people are most likely going to have to continue working longer as they live longer. So that retirement scenario seems laudably optimistic, but maybe a little pipedreamish. I can't see frozen eggs personally adding any balance to my family's life (or really any of the other families I know right now). Sometimes, for the sake of balance, it's good to artificially limit your options. Very curious to see if anyone else sees freezing their eggs as an option they would have liked to have had or one they see themselves realistically considering.

Posted by: marc | November 15, 2006 7:45 AM

If this becomes widespread, I don't think you'll see tons of women post-50 using it - some, but I don't think they'll be in the majority. Making decisions about when to have kids isn't just determined by your career even for the most career-focused people - it's also connected to factors such as when your friends are having kids, if your parents will still be around to see them, how equipped you feel to deal with a screaming seven-pound bundles of needs, etc. What I would tend to expect, if this becomes widespread, is for women in their 40s to make the most use of it, with some women in their 50s (especially those in second marriages) and a few in their 60s.

I note that, despite media coverage of the exceptions, most men who have children still do so before 50, despite a lack of a biological clock and continued willingness of much younger women to marry older men. I'm not saying you won't have any 60-year-old moms, but I don't think you'll have hordes unless we all end up living longer and are much healthier for a longer part of that. (And, Leslie, I know this wasn't *your* intention, but I fear that we'll see increasing references to "60-year-old moms" in relation to egg freezing as a scaremongering tactic. Omigod, isn't this technology radical? People can have babies at 60! It's frightening!)

I personally am a single woman in my early 30s with no desire for single (biological) motherhood but with a wish to have kids some day. I'm seriously considering freezing my eggs. Now, I hate needles and the like, so if I do meet someone and the old-fashioned way doesn't work, I'd probably be more inclined to adopt (and if I don't get married, adoption would definitely be my route to parenthood, should I choose that). So, I may never use those frozen eggs, but having a semi-safety net sounds like a very reassuring idea.

Posted by: marion | November 15, 2006 7:56 AM

Leslie - Couldn't help yourself, could you?: "No conservatives wagging fingers at working moms for being selfish."

I don't think this is a conservative or liberal topic or decision. It's a personal decision that I support - and I am a conservative. I know plenty of conservative women that have careers and kids and I am sure they would not appreciate the put-down either.

Do I want to be a 50 or 60 year old new mother? Heck no - I barely get by as it is. But who knows - if I hadn't married and I was approaching 40 like I am now - this may have been an option for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 7:58 AM

Posted by: | November 15, 2006 07:58 AM
That was mine - if you couldn't tell.

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 7:59 AM

Thank you Cmac. I was thinking the same thing.

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 8:12 AM

I'm pretty liberal on social issues, but this one troubles me--not so much on an individual basis, but as a societal issue. My parents, who are now 61 and 58, adopted a girl who is now 7. She's in the same generation as my kids, even though she is their aunt. Now for her, I know adoption is far better than the alternative, but bear with me here...

My concern is that my husband and I are already in the "sandwich" generation and know we'll probably be supporting parents and kids at the same time at some point--but taking on parenting of a sister because my parents wanted another adventure? And what about these kids whose older parents don't have extended families or unlimited resources? I know medicine gets further and further advanced, but assuming you'll make it to your 70s to see your kid through college seems a bit arrogant to me. At some point biology does make sense!

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | November 15, 2006 8:21 AM

Good idea about freezing my eggs. Now, if only I could get a hold of some of David Crosby's sperm and freeze that as well. My children would have the same biological mother and father and incredible potential!

Posted by: 007 | November 15, 2006 8:23 AM

I find this one to be rather tough. I usually support options for as many as possible. However, pushing 50 as I am, there is no way I would advise someone to start having kids at my age. I'm not sure it is even advisable health-wise. There are just so unknowns for women and health... I'm with cmac..no way for me.

Posted by: Dotted | November 15, 2006 8:32 AM

Sorry, but no way. Get organized, don't insist on doing everything to an extreme (being Supermom or SuperEmployee) and you can have children during the conventional age window.

Posted by: wls | November 15, 2006 8:34 AM

I first heard about egg freezing in the context of female cancer patients in their late teens and early 20's. I thought that was a wonderful idea - it was a good way to alleviate one of the many horrible choices these therapies provide (i.e. - we'll save your life, but forget ever having children).

But as someone who studied evolutionary biology, I do believe that menopause happens for a reason. Basically it's nature's way of telling you that your body is not prepared to take the stresses of pregnancy anymore. It has nothing to do with politics or finances or personal empowerment, and everything to do with the body trying to protect itself from potential injury.

The concept that a healthy person with no family medical history of cancer, diabetes or other immune disorders that could easily cause problems with fertility really bothers me in a way I have yet to be able to define.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | November 15, 2006 8:36 AM

I agree that for most women, this option will be used to buy them a year more years -- not a few more decades. I don't know any women who want to become first time moms in their 60s...but I do know a lot who would do so in their late 40s and 50s.

Separately, I only know a few men who consciously delay becoming a parent past their 40s in favor of their career or "freedom." But what's key is that most men don't think too hard about when to have children -- because their sperm is viable into their late 80s they've got decades more time to play with, so there's no pressure on them to hurry up about it.

Posted by: Leslie | November 15, 2006 8:38 AM

leslie, in my opinion, freezing eggs and playing around with one's fertility like you are promoting on this thread, for whatever reason, shows a lack of respect for human life. I think that technologies such as this will ultimately cause more suffering than happiness.

Posted by: Father of 4 | November 15, 2006 8:39 AM

I have actually heard about this several years ago. I guess it depends on your health, financial resources, and your own personal energy level. I know several couples that had kids in their 40s and 50s. And they are a little tired to say the least. Generally happy, but really tired. I, myself, could never do it past 40. I was extremely tired in my early 30s with DD #1, who choose not to sleep till 2 years old. We are adopting our second daughter and I may be as old as 38 when the adoption is completed. After that I say quits. I am getting my tubes tied and that is it. Either biological or adoption, I said NO after 40. I don't care how much DH begs, pleads or coerces. I am just too tired and I don't want to be 70 and have a kid in college. But all the power to these people. I do know, that adoption agencies and countries have a universal under 60 rule. They just don't want to give a kid to a family where mom or dad (or God forbid both) drop dead before the kids is done with college. In some ways, I don't like this technology when it is women and men past past 55-60 years of age. But this is America and I think it is your right to do it. I like the idea of frozen eggs better then frozen embryos. I don't know of any cases where eggs themselves are in custody. But I know there has been some debate of actual embryos in divorce cases. The embryos are considered property and not people. And they can be allocated in a divorce. Kind of strange.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 8:41 AM

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe I read the quality of a man's sperm declines around age 40. They still have some good sperm (good golly, they produce millions) but that the overall quality reduces for men over 40. We all know with women 35 is advanced maternal age. I also read that in 40% of the infertility cases, it is generally attributed to the man, 40% women, and 20% unknown.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 8:45 AM

Although this sounds ideal in some circumstances, I think people forget that pregnancy itself can take a physical toll... and I think that older mothers-to-be tend to have more high-risk pregnancies (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on that point!) So this would be great for cancer patients (as noted by Chasmosaur), but I'm not sure about other situations.


Posted by: Ohio | November 15, 2006 8:46 AM

Oh on another note, guys, I don't think women are in "general" delaying pregnancy for career advancement. I think the majority of women who are having children later are either unmarried (did not find Mr. Right in their 20s or 30s), didn't know they wanted kids till around 35+, or divorced in their 30s before having a chance to create their family. I think the media does a disservice to women by protraying the infertility problem on women wanting to have high powered careers. I know about 30% of my female friends are still unmarried in their mid 30s. They would love to be mothers but do not want to go at it alone. Also, yes after age 35 the risks of complicated pregnancies does increase. When I went to my last OB/GYN appointment. The Dr. looked me in the face and said you better get a move on in finishing up your family or do something about permanent birth control. It really depressed me. Even though we had already decided that we wanted to adopt our second child, hearing that was really depressing. No one wants to hear you are an OLD LADY at 36. I think this is awesome for cancer patients but like everyone difficult for older moms. Truthfully, the pregnancy wasn't a big deal. It is the 2 years of nursing, sleepless nights, pumping, and constantly running around that I would find difficult at 50+. My friends that are doing it in mid 40s-50s, say it is terribly exhausting to have preschoolers at their age.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 8:54 AM

As I entered the year 40, I thought we were done. But as the year as worn on, I realized I really DO want another child. (Hubby NOT so sure.) But....the risks of advanced maternal age scare me. I have the energy, maturity and desire, but do I have healthy eggs....? It is a scary place to be. Eggs that I had frozen in my twenties would propably be FAR more healthy. So, yes I think this might be a good solution for some people.

Posted by: Mom of 1 | November 15, 2006 8:55 AM

My parents, who are now 61 and 58, adopted a girl who is now 7. She's in the same generation as my kids, even though she is their aunt. Now for her, I know adoption is far better than the alternative, but bear with me here...

My FIL did a similar thing. He got remarried in his late 40s and his second wife and him adopted two toddlers. Now they are 12 and 13 years old and he is in his late 50s. It is weird dynamic. We all adore the "little kids" and it was great to have them in the family before the grand children arrived. But on a selfish note, FIL is not much of a father to his adult children or to his grand children. He just has other pressing needs with having two minor children so close to retirement. In our case, at least they have a younger mother (she was in her early 30s ) when they adopted them. So it is highly unlikely that they will both die before the kids are done with school. Overall, I think there were more pluses to their addition. But it does cause some strange things. Like having Aunts and Uncles only 9 years older then their neices and nephews. And the lack of attention the adult children get and the grand kids. But overall, we just adore them and glad they found a forever family. BTW, the "little kids" love the grandchildren (their neices and nephews).

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 9:03 AM

I think this would be a good option for some. I started trying to get pregnant at 36 and was pretty shocked when I researched the odds against me and the odds for chromosomal abnormalities. My husband and I had decided that we would give it a try and if it didn't work out, we'd either adopt or decide to be childless. Now I have an 8-month-old daughter, so things worked out well. For me, parenthood wasn't an imperative, but it is a stronger drive for others... a woman in her later 30s has pretty high odds of being infertile already, so I wouldn't think of this as just a 50s and 60s solution.

My husband is 54 and, though we are both tired, is a fantastic dad. Men on his father's side don't tend to live long (he's already outlived his dad by 4 years) but those on his mom's side are long-livers. I certainly hope he'll live to see our daughter graduate from college and beyond, but no one gets such guarantees... this is why we have wills, life insurance, guardian designations. In saying all this, I want to make it clear that I think that not just men should have the choice to be a parent later in life.

Posted by: MaryB | November 15, 2006 9:05 AM

I think scientists are having doubts about the quality of men's sperm as they age. Just a few weeks ago there was the study linking autism and the father's age.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5768623

"The older the age of the father at the time of birth, the higher the chances of the offspring to have autism," Reichenberg says. "In fathers who were 40 years or older, the risk for autism was almost six times higher than in the offspring of fathers who were younger than 30 years of age."

Posted by: Neighbor | November 15, 2006 9:05 AM

I think losing your parents young, or having to care for aging parents while in high school, is a pretty heavy burden to place on a child simply because you want a career unhindered by child-care considerations.

Posted by: 4muddypuppies | November 15, 2006 9:07 AM

"I think people forget that pregnancy itself can take a physical toll"

But, the physical toll of having a baby for young working mothers has been made very clear on this blog. It's hard to pursue career endeavors while balancing a family. Sure she may be young...but what about the struggles and stress that comes from balancing it all? What about an older mother who is financially secure, has accomplished tons in her job, and now has the fliexibility and time to raise a family? She may be older but has more to offer now in her life. Like Leslie says, older men do this all the time!!

As to regards as this being natural. Give me a break. Nothing about fertility today is natural. Tons of families are getting some "help" to reproduce. I have relatives that were having trouble and now just had twins! People are already playing with their fertility.

Posted by: Sam | November 15, 2006 9:07 AM

1. Men over 40 have 4 times the risk of fathering a child with autism.
2. Surrogate mothers can be implanted with embryos and carry and bear children for women who cannot or are at risk.
3. Father of 4, as far as "playing around with one's fertility", I assume that you and your wife had little or no problems reproducing. Otherwise, you might change yout tune.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 9:08 AM

I think this is great. For the most part, I believe people should be able to live life like they want. If tha means freezing their eggs (for whatever reason) to have kids in their 50s, then I say go for it.

Besides, we can argue who makes a better parent all day long, but for me, the better parent is the oen who wants the child, regardless of age. And yes, being older can invite more health problems, but so can being younger (*knocking frantically on wood*).

Posted by: ilc | November 15, 2006 9:09 AM

I am an only child because my mother married late (at least late for the 50's) and she wisely decided that she didn't want any kids past the age of 40.

I too have one child and did it at the age of 36. Now that she is 10 years old, I am very glad I had her when I did. I have a friend who had her first (and only) at age 40 and now is going through a nasty divorce with a 3-year-old and it makes me so glad that I did not wait.

Yes, some people are very high energy and can handle young children at a later age. But for some of us it is not a good idea. And I do worry about parents dying before their children graduate from high school if they wait until they're 50 or more.

Posted by: Anotherworkingmom | November 15, 2006 9:10 AM

"a career unhindered by child-care considerations" is just trying to provoke. Careers are just ONE of many reasons people do not have children until later than 21, as some would want....

Posted by: to 4muddypuppies | November 15, 2006 9:11 AM

I had a friend in college who was a 'surprise baby', conceived at the end of her mom's reproductive life. She was also an only child and a longed for miracle.

I know that having older parents (and knowing that she was the only child there to help them) took a toll on her. By the time we were seniors in college, neither of her parents felt comfortable driving and so she used to go home on weekends to take them grocery shopping -- and when most college seniors feel like they can do anything and go anywhere, she knew she'd be staying close to her hometown for the next few years to help her parents out.

Perhaps that's an exception and not the rule, but it seems like delaying parenthood can have your kids taking on some pretty grown up roles pretty early in life and dealing with some pretty grown up issues.

I'm more worried about the scenario where delaying parenthood becomes the rule rather than the exception for educated women and women who choose to do it the 'conventional way' -- taking time out in their early or mid-thirties -- end up having to explain their bizarre behavior to their employers. Someone said somethig on here awhile ago about someone scheduling a c-section so it was convenient for the husband's job, and I'm worried about the scenario where the woman employee gets told by her employer "This really isn't a good time for you to be taking maternity leave. Why don't we revisit the issue again in a year or two -- seeing as you have those frozen eggs and all . . . That's what all the other women did." Ick! am I the only one who has a problem with that?

Posted by: Armchair Mom | November 15, 2006 9:11 AM

Bonjour. I do not think this is so great idea. Why? because there are many orphans that need a home. If you really must have children and cannot, then you should adopt. This procedure is for selfish women who want it all. They want to control every aspect of their lives, plan their careers, plan their kids. I think they will also use genetic manipulation to pick the sex, color of eyes, and all that. Customize the baby, when to have it, and all that, non?

Medical procedures like this are wasteful and can be better used on real problems like AIDS and cancer. People who do this for purposes of career and convenience are just selfish. This should only be used on patients with a legitimate medical need.

Doing this to achieve work/life balance is stupid. I do not think anyone in their right mind will freeze their eggs at 30 and bear a child at 50. That is very stupid.

Posted by: Thierry | November 15, 2006 9:12 AM

Has anyone else noticed that many of the much-older parents seem to be irrationally overprotective?

Posted by: Observer | November 15, 2006 9:17 AM

"I do not think anyone in their right mind will freeze their eggs at 30 and bear a child at 50. That is very stupid."

true, but she was talking to the Wharton Women in Business. :) :) :)

Posted by: 917 | November 15, 2006 9:17 AM

Armchair mom: That would be just GROSS. I can't imagine my boss coming up to me and saying, hey get pregnant next year. You got all those frozen eggs! Eeks...

Sam: I do have a friend who adopted a daughter at age 41 and her husband was 53. They both retired and stay home full time to raise her. It is pretty awesome situation. But most people can't do that even at age 41. Most of us need to work into our early 60s. They love their daughter but admit it is totally exhausting. Even with staying home full time. They also limited their family to one child due to their age. They did not do it to pursue careers. They just both divorced and did not remarry till mid 30s. Had fertility problems and ended up adopting later on.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 9:17 AM

"This procedure is for selfish women who want it all. They want to control every aspect of their lives, plan their careers, plan their kids. "

Yes, woman want to control all these things. Who are you implying should control these things for them? So who is legitimate?

Posted by: hmmmm | November 15, 2006 9:19 AM

Father of 4 probably didn't start trying to have kids when he and his wife were in their 40s either.

I do think that some of the other posters have a point about being an older parent. My siblings are older than me by like 12 years, if I had a kid at 50, they would be in their 60 and 70s. If something happened to me, who is going to take care of my kid?

Posted by: Scarry | November 15, 2006 9:22 AM

to Thierry: I might have said the same thing a few years ago before knowing what adoption entails in the US. It is expensive, takes a long time, can involve the birth mother changing her mind (this happened to a friend of mine twice). This is not an easy solution. International adoption is an option, but it is also expensive and in many 3rd world countries is corrupted by the money made on each adoption, which has lead to some baby kidnapping problems in China and paying off mothers in Guatemala. I don't have all the answers to this problem, but I will also assert that you don't either.

I meant to address the question of custody of ova... why would this ever be a problem? A person's tissue belongs to him or her unless it is donated. A man's frozen sperm belongs to him as would a woman's ova. I would assume if a woman dies with frozen ova, she would have signed paperwork with whatever entity is maintaining them as to her wishes for the fate of the eggs.

Posted by: MaryB | November 15, 2006 9:22 AM

I think someone would have to be incredibly driven and career-minded to do such a thing - preserve eggs at 25 to bear children at 50. She'd probably have 5,10,15,20yr career goals and probably have an extensive checklist of qualifications/tests for hubby-to-be. She'd have every aspect of her life planned out and be very controlling. This seems like a way-out-in-left-field way of achieving work/life balance. I suspect only in very rare cases would a 20-something do what Leslie proposed. Just my little opinion.

This reminded me of something I read recently in the good book:
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
Proverbs 16:8-10

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 9:31 AM

Or how about this -- families, adopt children who need homes? Can't get pregnant -- then why not forget about fertility treatments and become a parent (even at late ages) to children who desperately need loving families? Time for our society to be so desperate about biology.

http://punditmom1.blogspot.com

Posted by: PunditMom | November 15, 2006 9:31 AM

OFF TOPIC ALERT! For folks who were discussing Catholics refusing to give Communion the other day, the yearly Catholic bishops synod just published a paper on this topic. "The Communion document was prompted by the 2004 controversy among the bishops over Kerry. During the presidential campaign, a handful of bishops said Kerry should be denied Communion for opposing a key church teaching; most bishops, including Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, said Communion was a matter for the conscience of the worshiper, not for the judgment of the priest or bishop. The Communion document endorses the less confrontational approach taken by O'Malley and other bishops, declaring that Catholics who "knowingly and obstinately . . . reject the defined doctrines of the church" should not seek to receive Communion, but it does not advise any action by priests or bishops against politicians who oppose church doctrine and yet seek to receive Communion. "

Posted by: The original just a thought | November 15, 2006 9:37 AM

Yesterday's guest blogger is a 55 year old woman with a child in middle school. No one made a fuss about her age....

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 9:37 AM

Pundit mom is right. I would also like to add that it's time that society lets all people who are capable and caring to adopt children who need homes.

Posted by: Scarry | November 15, 2006 9:39 AM

To MaryB: I don't get that adoption is so expensive argument. We are in the process of adopting our second daughter, by choice, and the whole kit and kaboodle should come to around 28K-30K. Different countries have different visit requirements. I think Russia requires 2 visits, while Viet Nam requires one (we are adopting from VN). Also some countries, like Korea, bring the kid to you. About 8-10K is travel expenses. I don't really see this as associated to adoption. It is an exotic foreign travel for the adoptive family. For us, it is a chance to go back home and visit friends and family. About 5K goes to the adoption agency. Not very costly. I don't know why people think they should work for free. 2K or so goes to the home study (social work agency). Again, why should they work for fee. The rest goes to US government fees and 10K goes to foreign government. The international government has fed, clothed, and provided medical care for your adoptive child for 6-18 month time period. These are approximations. If you give birth to a child in the US, it generally costs insurance companies or families 8K to give birth on average. Why should the other country not be reimbursed for this cost? I don't mean to be angry. But it does sort of tick me off when people think children should be FREE or something. It is not adopting a dog from the pound. In short, if your child arrives to you around 12 months of age, you probably would have spent 10K or more (depending on day care) on your child for the first year. You are merely reimbursing the country for the cost of raising your kid for a year. Also there are tax credits for adoption. Approximately 10K for federal credits. There are income limits and we probably will not get all or most of the credit back. I don't know anyone who chooses to adopt based on getting the money back. Yes, you need the money up front. Yes, it does prevent some poor families from adopting. But in short, people are willing to spend 25-30K on car but scream adoption is expensive. I just don't get it. I don't want you to get offended. Because it is not anger directed to you. I just feel I need to educate people on the real adoption process.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 9:39 AM

Imagine two kids at the park.

#1: My great-grandmother says she went to school with your great-grandmother.

#2: That's not my great-grandmother, that's my mom, now quit trying to trip her when she walks by with her cane.

#1: So is that why you were a half hour late to our soccer game?

#2: Yeah, my 65 year old mother's corns were acting up. And with her arthritis she couldn't take her medicine. So I had to help her open her medicine.

#1: But you're 7. Should you really be opening childproof caps for your mother?

#2: If I don't who will? My father died of a heart attack last year.

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | November 15, 2006 9:39 AM

What about the sociological aspect of first-time mothers in their 50s or even 60s? The children born into these families will likely never know their grandparents, and possibly have limited time with aunts and uncles, not to mention cousins who could practically be their parents. Where is the extended family for these children? How sad that they will miss out on such a wonderful experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 9:39 AM

I'm not agreeing with Leslie, primarily because of the over-bearing, pro-career way she casts her arguments; however, the biological clock is a tremendous incentive for women in their early to mid-thirties to marry whomever their dating for the purpose of getting the child-producing show on the road. I always wonder how many divorces are the result of a 32-year old woman wanting to have a family more than she wants to marry the particular guy to whom she says yes. They have two kids and eight years later they divorce.

I was fortunate to meet my husband when I was 30, so we had a little more time. Nonetheless, we had to keep the calendar in our sights at all times, and had our second child at 40. I'm not saying we would have frozen eggs, but if this issue of timing for our first child hadn't been so pressing, we might have had more than a year together both to become more financially stable and to cement our relationship.

With respect to this issue of how long older parents are going to live, I think this is a bit of a red herring. I might die today, at 50 or at 93. If you're thinking about having kids after 45, look at your family history, first and figure the odds; however, I don't think it's appropriate for others to look at your family and shake their heads at your decision-making on the basis of your age alone. My sister found Mister Right way too late from a biological standpoint. He turned out to be Mister Wrong in a way that, trust me, you'd all agree with, and now is in her late 50s. Her adopted two girls are now 13 and 6, and my sis is likely to outlive all her siblings because she's the fittest of the group. Or she could be Jim Fixx and drop dead on the jogging trail one morning. Who's to know?

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 15, 2006 9:40 AM

PunditMom //Or how about this -- families, adopt children who need homes//

Oui! The problem with America is it is all about ME. This egg freezing option is another example of American society selfish.

You should be more willing to give up your individual riches for the common good. There are many needs in society but all you want is a bigger house, bigger car, more things to buy.

Posted by: Thierry | November 15, 2006 9:41 AM

I might get flamed for this, but oh well. Has anyone stopped to think that there is a reason why eggs lose their viability as women age, and why women go through menopause? We're not meant to bear children in our 50's and over. Even the 40's can be questionable for some.

Health risks aside (for both mother and child), consider the wide generation gap. Would it really be fair to be 50 or 60 years older than your own child? Depending on the state of overall health, you might not live to see them go to college. Or perhaps even high school.

This is too much of playing God. Tampering with biology can lead to disastrous and devestating results.

I don't understand. If it's because a woman "wants it all" then why doesn't she take that $10,000 and adopt a child that's already here? If the urge to parent and nurture is there, please don't throw me the argument that it's not the same. So you might not get the experience to carry and give birth to that child, but you would be responsible for raising and caring for that child just as your own.

This is much in the same vein of people who want designer babies. It's playing with biology, and I don't agree with it.

Posted by: RaiseYourOwnKids | November 15, 2006 9:42 AM

I want to apologize if I offended anyone in my last post. Adoption is a very personal decision. I wish more people would go that route. Especially those facing infertility issues. But I do recognize it your right to choose how to form your own families. I just wanted to address the soo expensive issue. Because in short, adoption is not really that more expensive then having a biological child.

Thanks for the communion info too. I did correct my post later that day to say some cardinals suggested to deny communion.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 9:44 AM

What what it is worth, I believe that the main reason we should make the 'let's have kids' decision (when it is in our power to make) is for the sake of the kids - not for ourselves.

Yes, being a parent is a wonderful thing that many of us wouldn't want to miss for the world. But the only reason I would proceed to make this happen would be if I could have a prayer of providing my child with a terrific life.

I worried about whether I should try for Child #2 at age 42 (my first was born when I was 39, as I only met my husband at age 37). Would I be around when he/she was a teenager or young adult, and still really needed to have a vibrant and available mom? Would it be better to raise my daughter as an only child? In the end, I decided that the best odds went to trying for a sibling for my daughter, so that at least they would have each other if my husband and I died.

Now, of course, nothing is guaranteed - any one of us could die today, including either of my kids. But I needed to feel that starting my child's life when his parents were in their forties was right for HIM rather than right for me. The story ends very happily because I was able to conceive and now have two healthy kids. The 'shop' is closed now though. And I feel extremely grateful.

I don't want any of the above to sound as if I'm judging others who do choose to freeze their eggs - every situation is different, and only the individual woman can decide what is right.

Posted by: equal | November 15, 2006 9:51 AM

I'm not surprised to see such stupid @ss advice coming out of Wharton Women.

Posted by: 951 | November 15, 2006 9:52 AM

To equal: good luck with the second one at 42. We did the same thing, though he was an "accident". Things are going along fine. We feel blessed to have him (third boy!).

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 9:54 AM

Looks to me like a scam to get gullible 20 somethings to fork over a lot of money for the treatment.

To my mind, no one with any sense really believes they can plan thirty years ahead on anything so important, as alluded to by the earlier elegant bibilical quote.

Regarding the stats on sperm viability, I note that they are, as is often the case, not backed up by any cold hard data nor related in context (normal rate of autism, etc.). I take it with a grain of salt, therefore, that there is any particular danger in older men. Lack of energy for child raising strikes me as a greater concern.

From a very selfish point of view, the last thing I want is my daughter or daughters-in-law waiting to have children for any reason. I am more than willing to lend a hand to the young parents in exchange for the opportunity to know my grandchild.

Posted by: dave | November 15, 2006 9:55 AM

"I'm not surprised to see such stupid @ss advice coming out of Wharton Women."

If there were less stupid @ss men, women could find decent husbands at earlier ages and get the ball rolling on reproduction.


Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 9:56 AM

A lot of these discussions recently are reminding me how much are society is changing. I'm in favor of good parenting at any age, but it occurred to me that the older you are, the less likely your children would have grandparents, or much time left with them... and the less likely you yourself would get to see your grandchildren, much less your great grandchildren. I sometimes feel very out of step with the general tone of this blog in the sense that most of my family live in the area and are pretty tightknit and focussed on family; whereas, a lot of these discussions tend more and more toward the individual or the immediate family with no extended family network. This certainly seems to be the trend in this country (or the one presented in the mainstream media).

Posted by: marc | November 15, 2006 9:56 AM

I think this is an interesting option for some women. I am 37 and single. I am not currently in a relationship. I would like to get married someday and have a child. The odds of that happening are looking slimmer and slimmer. I would like to think I have some options out there (in addition to adoption) when/if I find the right person and get married. Perhaps I am not as queasy about having a child at an older age b/c I am the only child of older parents (I was a "surprise") - they were 40 when I was born, which was very unusual in 1969! Yes, my parents were different than other parents and no, we didn't do things like play catch or go biking together (which probably had more to do with the fact that my dad was disabled than to do with their "advanced" age), but every family is different with different advantages and disadvantages, and I am grateful to have had two parents who were so emotionally devoted and who also planned very well financially so I could go to college and graduate school with LOTS of financial assistance. Yes, I worry about their health and their advanced age, but I am blessed that they are very cognizant of their health and work hard to stay healthy to live longer. (They still hold out hope that I will find Mr. Wonderful before they leave the planet!) So being older isn't the end of the world when it comes to parenting. Besides, all of the criticism about being an older parent (especially those calling it "selfish") is somewhat insensitive to those of us who have no other option than to be older parents.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | November 15, 2006 9:56 AM

This subject resonates with me since my wife and I are currently trying to start our family with both of us over the age of 40. For various reasons neither of us felt ready to start when we were younger; however, had this technology existed earlier my wife may have used it to make it easier to conceive later in life if she so chose. My wife drew the line at the early/mid-40's for her though; no pregnancies in her 50's!

Posted by: John | November 15, 2006 9:57 AM

As an adoptee myself, I DO understand the benefits of adoption. However, I also have seen the very real downsides as well. As an adoptive parent you have no idea of maternal health or prenatal care nor early childcare.

And, to gnome, 28 or 30K IS expensive. My goodness, that is beyond the reach of many families. A birth child costs NOWHERE near that the first year.

Posted by: adopted myself | November 15, 2006 10:00 AM

http://preconception.com/resources/articles/oldsperm.htm

Dave, read this link about sperm and aging. Age does effect the quantity and the quality of sperm. There is more research being done. Just because a man may impregnate his wife or partner at age 90, doesn't mean that in general sperm quantity or quality doesn't diminish with advancing age.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:01 AM

When I gave birth to my daughter at 25, my ob-gyn said it was so nice to have a patient who was of the "ideal" child-bearing age (physically). And I know that if I were even ten, much less twenty, years older (I'm 27 now), I wouldn't have the energy to do what I do every day. I love giving my daughter piggy-back rides, carrying her on hikes, rolling around on the floor with her, and who knows whether I'd be able to do that at 45, for example. So it's definitely not for me, despite my "career ambitions".

On the other hand, my college roommate has uterine cancer and will have a total hysterectomy in a couple of weeks. If she didn't already have two children, she would definitely freeze her eggs, she's said. THAT's what this procedure should be used for.

Posted by: PLS | November 15, 2006 10:04 AM

In all the talk about older parents being around you might find these statistics interesting - average US life expectancy in 1929 56.8years, in 2001 77.2 years

Posted by: FYI | November 15, 2006 10:06 AM

Another aspect of this is, how many 25-year-olds actually have upwards of $10,000 lying around that they can devote to freezing their eggs? Nobody I know.

And as far as $25,000-30,000 being chump change, I think not. That's almost a year of college right there.

Posted by: NY lurker | November 15, 2006 10:06 AM

Raiseyourownkids: If freezing your eggs is playing with biology - what is infertity treatment in general? It is a slippery slope - the designer baby situation scares me - but can you deny an infertile couple (or person) the ability to have a baby because technology might advance to the point where designer babies are the norm?

Where do you draw the line - seriously?

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 10:07 AM

I'm 23 and my Dad (51) just had a baby with his new wife. I'm tempted to hold off on children for another 10- 15 years because of how weird the situation is. Creepy! Get it out of your system the first time around!

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 10:09 AM

those fertility commercials with the young, professional sounding, sweet nurturing voices with the infant cooing in the background put a lump in my throat. Yes, I have a lot of compassion for those couples who can't have children of their own.

Posted by: Father of 4 | November 15, 2006 10:10 AM

/Pundit Mom Says/
Or how about this -- families, adopt children who need homes? Can't get pregnant -- then why not forget about fertility treatments and become a parent (even at late ages) to children who desperately need loving families? Time for our society to be so desperate about biology.//

Perhaps because I'm only 30 and I want to try for my own children first. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I want a child that is part me, part my husband. I'm willing (and can afford) to go through surgery and drugs that give me hot flashes to get there.

Frankly, I'm not about to put up with the US adoption system where birth parents can change their mind and and adoptive parents are treated more like long-term babysitters than parents. Nor do I want to be part of any sort of potential criminal activity by adopting a child that was taken from a parent who wanted them as could be the case in an international adoption.

It's nice for you that you adopted a little girl -- congratulations. However, if you truly believe that women should be able to make the choices they want (as you often claim in your blog) you'll keep your judgemental BS to yourself about those of us who make the extraordinary effort to produce our own offspring.

-Danielle
(who isn't sure if her current hot flash is from Clomid or anger)

Posted by: Danielle | November 15, 2006 10:14 AM

"And, to gnome, 28 or 30K IS expensive. My goodness, that is beyond the reach of many families. A birth child costs NOWHERE near that the first year. "

Could have fooled me - by reading this blog I'm told that people spend easily $25K on childcare a year. Factor in diapers and formula and SUV strollers and a new SUV to carry the car seat and a fancy car seat and another fancy car seat for the old SUV and a custom nursery, and you quickly get to that number.


Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:15 AM

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15720339/

Anyone else see this?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:16 AM

My parents adopted in their early 30s (my sisters and I). My mother gave birth to my brother just shy of her 41st birthday. She often says that she never could have gone through my borther's early childhood as well as she did if she hadn't had teenage daughters to help her. She also feels that despite being the oldest mom at the football games, having a teenager at 57 keeps her and my dad engaged and still feeling youthful. She also feels a bit saddened that she can't fully engage in all the grandmotherly things she would like to (such as my 51 year old MIL) because she still operates in "mom" mode. She can't just pick up and come visit her grandkids, she has to consult her teenager's schedule first because she doesn't want to miss any of his games or a meets. Also, we do wonder if my dad will be around when our brother marrys. I certainly think my dad (62) will not be around to see the birth of my brother's children. I worry about what kind of financial impact my mother will face if she is a widow trying to put a child through college.

Finally, as a soon to be 30 year old with two young children, I relish the idea of being free of taking care of kids in my 50s and enjoying married life with my husband, just the two of usm while we are still (hopefully) physically active and in full control of our facultys. We plan on enjoying retirement after kids. Lets face it, for most parents, we don't get to travel to London on business as young 30 and 40 somethings. We work ordinary jobs, never travelling farther than our children's temperment and budget can take us. I don't want to spend 30 years grinding it out for a paycheck and then spend another 18 (+ college) taking care of kids.

Posted by: LM in WI | November 15, 2006 10:17 AM

62-year-old Redding woman gives birth to 12th child

Friday, February 17, 2006 10 38 PM


22:38 PST Redding, Calif. (AP) --

A 62-year-old woman gave birth Friday to a healthy 6-pound, 9-ounce baby boy, becoming one of the oldest women in the world to successfully bear a child.

The newborn is the 12th child of Janise Wulf, who's also a grandmother of 20 and great-grandmother of three.

Family members said the delivery at Mercy Medical Center went smoothly Friday, despite earlier concerns about the mother's health. Wulf, a diabetic, experienced swelling and higher blood pressure earlier this week, prompting doctors to perform the Caesarean section a week early.

"I believe our only hesitation collectively was her health and her coming through this. Giving birth is hard at any age, in any body, let alone with her being 62," Wulf's 28-year-old daughter, Desiree Myers, told the Redding Record Searchlight newspaper. Myers gave birth to a baby of her own four months ago.

Wulf and her third husband, Scott, 48, named the red-haired boy, Adam Charles Wulf. He follows just 3 1/2 years behind his older brother, Ian.

"I hate to raise one alone, without a sibling," said Wulf, who was impregnated both times through in vitro fertilization.

Both boys are the only two children of Scott Wulf, who said he always wanted children but his previous wife was infertile.

"I never even dared to hope that it was possible," he said of his sons.

Wulf has given birth to a total of 12 children, although one son died in his 30s and another died at birth with undeveloped lungs. Of her 10 living children, the oldest is 40.

"I think she's amazing. She's got more than enough love to give," Myers said.

While Wulf isn't the oldest on record, Friday's delivery put her among only a handful of senior-aged mothers.

The oldest woman on record to give birth is a 66-year-old Romanian woman who had a Caesarean section Jan. 15, 2005. Adriana Iliescu was aided by artificial insemination, doctors said.

The Guinness Book of World Records also lists two 63-year-old women who have given birth: Rosanna Della Corte of Italy in 1994 and Acheli Keh of California in 1996. News reports, however, list Della Corte's age at 62 when she gave birth.

The Record Searchlight independently verified Wulf's age.

Wulf is used to defying the odds. Blind since birth, she was a synchronized swimmer in high school, worked as a piano and organ saleswoman and developed a passion for cooking.

Wulf said Friday that she considers her late-in-life pregnancy a groundbreaking act for older women.

"Age is a number. You're as old as you feel," she said. "Every time you revolutionize something or you do something different, there's going to be naysayers."

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:18 AM

cmac re: designer babies.

It is a slippery slope and a topic of great debate. People will argue for hours according to their worldview.

Keep in mind that a person's value is much more than the color of her eyes, IQ, athleticism or other genetic trait. We've seen the smartest people commit crimes (eg. Skilling, Lay, Ebbers, Milken) and the most ordinary people becoming heroes (eg. Medal of Honor recipients, moms, dads!).

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 10:21 AM

You would be surprised how much a birth child costs in the first year. I said minus foreign travel. Now your looking at 20K. I paid 15K on day care the first year of my child's life. I can easily say that I paid an additional 10K on clothes, food, equipment etc.... I think the government averages you spend 5-10K each year on non day care related expenses. Not to mention the actual cost of the birth. Sure a lot of families have health care. We do. But someone is paying 8K for your child to actually be born.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 10:23 AM

I haven't read any of the comments yet, but this REALLY bothers me. I had my first at 28, and felt all alone. The only other mothers with young children in my office are in their mid forties. I think that if people keep putting off having babies, it will only get harder for women like me who have babies in their 20s to find any sort of work/life balance. People at work will say, well, you should have just waited to have kids. Oh, and if you have your first baby at 50, it's not like you will ever know your grandchildren. How sad.

Posted by: anotherarlmom | November 15, 2006 10:24 AM

cmac:

You're right, it is a slippery slope. As far as infertility treatments go, I don't understand the rationalization for spending that much money on procedures that may or may not take. I've seen and heard that often times it takes over the marriage or relationship, and takes a major emotional toll.

I'm also of the mindset that things happen (and don't happen) for a reason. People often throw around the phrase "God's will"...well, maybe it should be applied there, too.

I still firmly believe that if the desire to parent and nurture is the driving force here, there are other ways. I don't know all the rules and red tape involved with adoption, but I'd venture to guess that it's not even widely considered, for whatever reason. Same with fostering. I don't see how that could be a losing situation at all. The adult gets to parent, nurture and care for a child. And the child might find some comfort and normalcy.

I honestly don't know where you would draw the line on the designer baby issue. It's scary and can't help but be reminded of Hitler. (The plight of a history major.) Perhaps a better screening process should be implemented?

Posted by: RaiseYourOwnKids | November 15, 2006 10:24 AM

Does anyone seriously think a hot-shot career-minded woman wants to be raising preschoolers at 60? She'd be getting ready to enjoy retirement and spend her millions!

Posted by: 1025 | November 15, 2006 10:26 AM

My grandparents had their first child of four when she was 18 and their last when she was 42. The first was 24 years older than the last. Both children came from the same mother and father. First grandchild was born 1.5 years later. It was a little weird, I agree, but not as bad as you might think since it was the result of one married couple and not divorced parents starting a "new" family.

Posted by: to anon | November 15, 2006 10:27 AM

"I'm not surprised to see such stupid @ss advice coming out of Wharton Women."

I'm going to say it slightly differently - I think this is a dumb idea!

Some anthropologists think that the evolution of women including a long life period where they are not fertile has contributed to advancements in human civilization.

As yesterdays' blogger brings up - a Grandmother is a wonderful thing in a child's' life. They bring wisdom and experience plus hands to help that are not full with their own small children. Despite the annoyances an extended family is usually an asset for any woman. We've all got stories of relatives we're better off without but I'm speaking generally here.

To freeze your eggs and circumvent what has evolved over so many generations is nuts. You'd think women would get that.

Posted by: RoseG | November 15, 2006 10:28 AM

Foamgnome, you have a point. But it is not necessary to spend the money you did on an infant in the first year. It is necessary to spend the money on an adoption if you want to do it legally. Equipment and clothes can be purchased second-hand at yard sales or thrift stores or handed down from friends and relatives. A baby should cost you next to nothing for food, if you breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and use a baby food grinder (I bought mine for new $5 on eBay) to turn what the family is eating into baby food. And daycare, while a necessary expense for those who have to work, doesn't have to cost $15K a year.

Posted by: SAHM | November 15, 2006 10:29 AM

I think it is irresponsible to encourage women to voluntarily engage in oocyte preservation. Medical ethicists and physicians have issued guidelines discouraging women from harvesting and freezing eggs if they do not have a clinical indication -- a medical reason -- for doing so. Harvesting one's eggs is not risk-free and can result in significant adverse events.

Posted by: dc | November 15, 2006 10:30 AM

"The technology to freeze unfertilized eggs is relatively new, expensive at over $10,000 for the drugs, surgery and storage fees (most not covered by insurance)..."

I would HOPE it's not covered by insurance. This is the kind of capricious foolishness that drives up health insurance rates for the rest of us.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:34 AM

Here's another issue I didn't see mentioned, but is equally important.

What about the potential for multiple births taking place as a result? The health and financial implications for an older woman could be tragic. Not to mention that multiples born to younger women of normal reproductive age rarely have a total clean bill of health...

(Sorry if this was mentioned already.)

Posted by: RaiseYourOwnKids | November 15, 2006 10:36 AM

Also to ANon - how old is your stepmother - if she is younger and doesn't already have kids shouldn't she have the opportunity to have a family? Being made to choose bewteen the man you love and having a child shouldn't have to take place just because his children think it is wierd.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | November 15, 2006 10:36 AM

Being 23, out of the house, and supporting yourself is very different then having teenagers who live at home to help change diapers and babysit. When you are in your twenties, or even older, you want to have your own life, not have to be pulled back because you parents decide it may be fun to have another.

The new baby will never his siblings siblings as such, but more as aunts and uncles. He will never have cousins of the same age. His parents will be in their 70's when he is in college. It is not a healthy situation for anyone.

Older people who have older children in late teens or early twenties should really consider waiting for grandchildren.

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 10:37 AM

I am 23 and about to donate my eggs to a couple unable to have kids on their own. They are both in their 50s, did tons of stuff that caused them to put off having kids. But now they are secure (financially) and want one. Ok. I am being paid $7000 for my eggs.

Thing is, they also need a carrier. SO that's another $20,000. Plus all the medical and legal bills.

This child is going to end up costing $100,000 before they even get it. While I am clearly a willing participant in this whole process, I can think of TONS of stuff to spend $100,000 on which would be a greater benefit to society.

All this because the husband wants it to be "HIS" child (made with his sperm).

My boyfriend is supportive I'm doing this, but we have talked about it and if we had any problem conceiving we ewould adopt rather than spend all that money. Just doesn't make sense to us.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 10:39 AM

She is 45.

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 10:39 AM

What happens to the harvested eggs that are not used? Are they thrown away? Should the egg banks and sperm banks work together to create embryos for stem-cell research from unwanted eggs?

I think this is walking a tricky path when you talk about harvesting eggs.

IMHO, the reason so many people do not find suitable mates or spouses in their 20's is because too much time and effort is spent nurturing and furthering their careers. Graduate schools, MBA's, PhD's, 80-100 hour work weeks - none of these are conducive to a balanced social and/or family life. Actually, I guess the education doesn't suck as much time out of your life if that is all you do and you don't have to also work while attending school.

Within my very large extended family, only one has a high-powered career. While some of us are admittedly envious of their money, home, vacations, etc; none of us want her work schedule.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:41 AM

Bravo! Couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: To Danielle | November 15, 2006 10:42 AM

"Older people who have older children in late teens or early twenties should really consider waiting for grandchildren."

With all due respect, if what one wants is to take on the responsibilities and joys of parenting, waiting to be a grandparent is not going to satisfy the desire to parent. These are entirely different roles (yesterday's guest blog aside). If someone told you she couldn't wait to be a grandmother, would you suggest she adopt instead? I think not.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 15, 2006 10:43 AM

SAHM: You are definitely correct that it can be a lot cheaper to raise a baby for the first year. I was just directing it to the upper middle class people that balk at the idea of paying for an adoption. It seems like they think children should be raised for the first year of their life for FREE and then they can go collect their child. Like I said, people pay 25-30K for a car. That isn't even a great car. But think adoption should be free. The problem with international adoption, is that a lot of lower middle class and maybe even some middle class families, would struggle to come up with 30-50K. They would be great parents if the adoption costs were lowered. I am just directing it to people who HAVE the money but think they are entitled to a child for FREE because they desire to have one. Certainly, I wish adoption costs were lower. Not to save people like me money. But to allow the people on the lower middle class-middle class a fighting chance at having a family. Also, fertility treatments are very expensive. Some are covered by insurance. But a lot isn't. People think it is OK to spend money creating their own biological child but balk at an adoption. I spent way more then 20K on my daughter in her first year. I needed to buy a 300$ pump to pump breast milk. I still spent tons of money on clothes, equipment, toys etc.. Of course she didn't need all that stuff. But most upper middle class people do the same for their biological children. It just kills me when people equate adoption with buying a baby. You are paying for your child's care from birth to the time of adoption. Your not buying anything.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 10:47 AM

Gag. This is the ultimate desire to "have it all." Ok, maybe I just can't see it because I made the choice not to have bio children by the time I was 30, and 15 years later, I have never regretted it. I recently visited a new gynecologist who must have thought I was coming to him for fertility treatments because he was STUNNED to learn that I was happily without children and had no interest in becoming pregnant. When he asked me why I didn't want a baby, I said with a smile, "I'm too old" and he then spent 10 mintues telling me that he now helps women over 50 in the DC area become pregnant. When my exam was over, he joked, "You're bad for business!" So ladies, look at that side of it too -- fertility is a large and growing industry in our country. Is having a baby at 60 really the best thing you could do, or is it something you're being pressured to do.

Posted by: Maria A. | November 15, 2006 10:50 AM

It's not a question of whether women in general should put off childbearing into their 50s or beyond. Of course that wouldn't work for most of us, and for all the obvious reasons. Most of us are way past wanting to by then. It's that some women do, and it's a terrific advance now that it's an option. Better yet if "Mr. Right" has some sperm stowed away from his own youth. Of course people of that age can be wonderful parents. Millions of couples can and do raise kids if their own grandchildren are orphaned. If they can do it, so much the easier for would-be parents of the same age who have the desire and the financial stability to take this on.

Posted by: Joan | November 15, 2006 10:51 AM

Call me silly but how does one get to be a grand parent, if they were never a parent to begin with? I imagine some are delaying child birth for their first child.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 10:51 AM

foamgnome--Way to go pumping to feed your adopted daughter! Kudos to you! Most people wouldn't dare!

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 10:51 AM

I agree, foamgnome. But you're missing the part of the argument that says that upper middle class people who adopt will also turn around and spend thousands and thousands in the first year of the baby's life on daycare, equipment, food (and most adoptive mothers don't even have the option to breastfeed), etc. So while I agree - people who can afford it shouldn't complain about having to pay for an adoption - you also have to consider that the adoption costs will be on top of the costs that every other parent already has.

Posted by: SAHM | November 15, 2006 10:51 AM

To NC Lawyer,

You are right. Parenting and grandparenting are very different. In many ways, I have become the grandparent, as the away-from-home, much older child. I am the one expected to shower the child with gifts and affection and babysit whenever possible. It's a strange role-reversal that I am not enjoying.

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 10:53 AM

"Frankly, I'm not about to put up with the US adoption system where birth parents can change their mind and and adoptive parents are treated more like long-term babysitters than parents. Nor do I want to be part of any sort of potential criminal activity by adopting a child that was taken from a parent who wanted them as could be the case in an international adoption."

These issues crop up only because Americans want to adopt newborns only. It's the "I want a baby" syndrome.

If people were willing to adopt toddlers and kids a bit older than that, they would have few problems and no renegging.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:53 AM

VAreader is selling her body for $27000.
Great to be a woman, eh?

Posted by: 1054 | November 15, 2006 10:53 AM

foamgnome - I apologize if I missed something. I didn't realize your daughter was adopted? If so, disregard my last post because I don't know what the heck I'm talking about!

Posted by: SAHM | November 15, 2006 10:54 AM

SAHM: Most children adopted from foreign countries arrive much older then a newborn. I think the average is 9-18 months. So that first year has already happened. A lot of the equipment the baby would have outgrown. Also the clothing would start at a later age. The number of diapers you used will be less then a newborn biological child. To you see my point? Time has already passed. I don't know of any foreign adoption where the child is less then 6 months old. 12 months is a good average age the child arrives in this country.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 10:54 AM

I think she's only selling it for $7000. Another woman is selling hers for $20000.

Posted by: to 1054 | November 15, 2006 10:55 AM

I see your point now, foamgnome. :)

Posted by: SAHM | November 15, 2006 10:56 AM

NO, my first child is our biological daughter. I pumped breast milk for 2 years for her. We are in the process of adopting our seoond daughter. I will pump breast milk for her if she is less then 2 years old. But most likely, it would be for only a year to 6 months. We are requesting an infant girl age 12-18 months. They can choose any age to give us. And we will gladly accept our daughter at any age. You can bet if she is less then 12 months, I will do my best to pump breast milk for her. After 2, I would probably just try to acclimate her to regular milk.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 10:57 AM

To 1054: If I were VAreader, I would have asked for $50K. My body is beautiful. My genes are outstanding.

Posted by: 1057 | November 15, 2006 10:57 AM

I'm selling my eggs, which would be washed down the drain every month anyway, for $7000. So that two people can make a baby.

Some other woman (who I don't know) will be carrying the baby (which is genetically not hers).

Now 1054, if you have an equally strong objection to a man donating sperm, then at least your view is consistant. If not, then you need to understand you have a double standard here.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 10:58 AM

1. What precisely is wrong with wanting to have everything? When did ambition become an undesirable trait?

2. Why do so many people on this blog use the phrase "upper-middle class" as some sort of invective? It's as if you're saying, "Those damn people who have the nerve to be financially well off - they ruin everything!" What gives?

Posted by: Questions . . . | November 15, 2006 10:58 AM

I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with older parents. My dad was 49 when I was born and he was much more engaged as a parent than most fathers I knew growing up. He also had years of building his own business behind him and was financially secure. So I guess that's what these women want. But still, it's sad that so many smart and successful women can't find a way to have a husband, career, and children when they are in their 30s and 40s. 50 just seems so old to be dealing with pregnancy and menopause within the same few years.

Posted by: LT | November 15, 2006 10:58 AM

How can you have breast milk if you adopt the baby?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 10:59 AM

Re: VAreader --- And then she's going to have a kid somewhere out there in the world that will come knocking one day wondering where her blue eyes came from.

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 10:59 AM

For those who are freaked out by parents who have children in their 20s as well as children under 5, this used to be quite common before birth control when there were many more large families. My dad was the youngest of nine can he grew up with his nephew, who was a year younger and the son of his oldest brother. They were great buddies and nothing about the situation "freaked them out" because it was relatively normal in large families.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:02 AM

The act of sucking stimulates milk production, not the act of actually having a baby. The pump helps to do that. :)

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 11:03 AM

"1. What precisely is wrong with wanting to have everything? When did ambition become an undesirable trait?"

Sometimes ambition is just selfishness under another name.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:03 AM

How much does sperm go for? $100 a shot if you're lucky. This must be the only industry with gender bias in favor of women.

Oh, forgot about the adult film industry. The women get 100xxx more money than the johns.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:05 AM

There are some hormonal or chemical changes in the body during pregnancy that aids in breast milk production. Medical people help me out on the proper lingo. But technically, the breast milk is produced by the suckling. Not being pregnant or giving birth. That is how they had wet nurses in the olden times. You can also pump breast milk at any point in time. But menopause does reduce milk production. I don't think I could actually physically nurse a child that is 12-18 months who was not used to nursing. Mainly because the child would reject nursing. But I can always pump breast milk for the child. Also there are some teas out there to help milk production. A lot of biological parents use them as well. If you adopt a newborn at birth, you can nurse the child the same way you do your biological child. A child does not know or care if you are the biological parent. It is really a matter of teaching your child to nurse. I loved nursing and I would definitely encourage parents who adopt a newborn, to give nursing a try. But just with biological parents, some adoptive parents find nursing way too difficult. I would not force anyone to nurse or pump breast milk. BTW, no human being has been allergic to breast milk. For us, coming from VN, a lot of kids are lactose intolerant. And breast milk would be much better for a toddler then cows milk.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:05 AM

Lou //The act of sucking stimulates milk production//

Not true. I suck twice a day for a good 30mins but so far nothing yet. :) :) :)

Posted by: 1106 | November 15, 2006 11:06 AM

Maybe so. I understand that a person with my genetic code will be out there. I'm ok with that. I don't see it as "my baby". In the same way that if I adopted I WOULD see that child as my own. It has to go both ways.

The prospective parents, who I have met, plan to be very open with the child about where it comes from. But the process was done with first names only. I don't know how to find them, they don't know how to find me after this is all over.

This is the same as donating sperm. Only, a little more complicated medically.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:07 AM

//These issues crop up only because Americans want to adopt newborns only. It's the "I want a baby" syndrome.//

I buy that on the renegging part but this concept of "open adoption" is what really burns me. I have researched several adoptions agencies and the great majority force open adoptions where I, as the parent, would have to send photos and updates to the birth mother and/or somehow include the birth mother as part of the family. You know what - not a chance in hell am I going to do that. She wants to give up her kid for adoption - that's commendable. But to give it up and insist that she still have information and contact is really just treating the adoptive parents like babysitters.

I don't have any problem with the child wanting to find their birth parents and be in contact with them when it is appropriate but I'm not going to pay someone to be a glorified nanny to their kid.

Adoptable children older than toddlers seem to typically come with a whole host of issues that would be difficult for a seasoned parent much less a new parent. My guess is that reason is why there is so much "I only want a baby".

Posted by: Danielle | November 15, 2006 11:07 AM

I think that women who suddenly realize at age 40+ that they have deep need to have a baby actually have a deep emptiness they are trying to fill by having a child. Much like the teenage girls in poverty who have nothing to look forward to so they have a baby to fill their need for love and something to do with their lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:08 AM

"Sometimes ambition is just selfishness under another name."

as long as you are consistent in this view, you're welcome to it; however, were I a betting man, I'd bet that ambition is only problematic for you when a woman admits to having it. If a man wants to provide for his family and he's ambitious, we label him as a traditional guy with his priorities right. When it's a women, she's selfish.

Posted by: to 11:03 | November 15, 2006 11:08 AM

First off, Leslie, have you thought about the kids in such an arrangement? I'm not sure that I'd want to be 21 with my mom suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or in long-term care or, just generally, in declining health. It really doesn't sound like fun.

Second, Leslie, what's it like living up there with all your wealth and your head in the clouds? Do you ever think that maybe the vast majority of people DON'T live like you do? You need to get in touch with reality. The expense of these procedures is far beyond the means of most Americans.

Finally, if this is what "feminism" is coming to, that's a sad state of reality. We were biologically built to be new parents at a MUCH younger age than our 60s. Why is it that, for so many people, "feminism" means going against biological reality? Why can't feminism work WITH biological reality?

Posted by: Ryan | November 15, 2006 11:09 AM

That's awesome about the breast milk. I didn't know that.

Posted by: Scarry | November 15, 2006 11:09 AM

This industry is in favor of women. But I have to do a whole lot more than the average sperm donor (who arguably might have a good time donating).

I am not saying the pay is the same, I'm saying the concept is the same. If you are against one, you would logically have to be against the other.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:09 AM

Questions:
//1. What precisely is wrong with wanting to have everything? When did ambition become an undesirable trait?

2. Why do so many people on this blog use the phrase "upper-middle class" as some sort of invective? It's as if you're saying, "Those damn people who have the nerve to be financially well off - they ruin everything!" What gives?//


Ambition is fine, everyone needs a healthy dose otherwise is unmotivated. "Wanting everything" is extreme ambition and can lead to ethical compromises. That is the problem with most rich Americans.

2. yes, the rich are the source of many societal problems because they got rich at the expense of other people, and because they do not give back to the common good. you see, there must be higher taxation to equalize the wealth disparity.

Posted by: Thierry | November 15, 2006 11:11 AM

VAreader - while I think your intentions are good, I personally don't agree with them. Would you still do it if you weren't getting paid? You aren't technically "donating", because you are getting paid. I feeling the same about sperm donation, so it's not just one-sided for me.

This gets me thinking---why do people choose abortion so readily over adoption (often times with the reason being they don't want someone else raising their child), but then a lot of young women choose to "donate" their eggs and have others raise their child???

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 11:12 AM

I think this is a good option for some people. These are all really personal choices. People should have kids whenever they feel the time is right. It's a tremendous amount of responsibility. You worry and agonize over all sorts of things that never occurred to you. And I know that given the risks associated with pregnancies later in life, it will be comforting to older parents if they can avoid some of those risks by using eggs from earlier in life (Assuming this is so. I am not a scientist).

For myself, I really prefer having had my children earlier starting at 28. But I'm a man, so I don't have to worry about some of the issues women in the workforce deal with. Still, I'd rather leave the office earlier than my co-workers who have no kids, so I am not totally insulated from those types of concerns. Also by starting earlier, it kind of forces you to get your financial house in order at an earlier time. If I didn't have kids, I'd probably blow my money on silly things like expensive cars and armani underwear. Instead, I dutifully save for retirement and their education. I also eat at McDonald's, which allows me to save money, and also I probably won't need as much in retirement because I'll die early from heart disease. Ha!

I'd like to say that by having kids earlier I am more able to chase them around then I would be at age 50. I'm not sure that's true. I'm pretty out of shape (see mcdonald's comment earlier) and I get winded easy. Also, I am generally tired all the time from lack of sleep with a 6 month old and a three year old.

I don't think my post really added much to this discussion. I'm sorry you read this far.

Posted by: Cliff | November 15, 2006 11:12 AM

Danielle, that is precisely the reason people go internationally. Not a strong chance the birth parents, or birth family will get on a plane demanding their child back. We went internationally for a host of other reasons. I strongly wanted to adopt a child from my birth country. I thought what greater gift could I share with my adoptive child. But the Vietnamese connection and the knowledge to teach her about the Mother land. Not that I am at all against transracial adoption but I thought it was a gift to teach my child what it truly means to be Vietnamese. Also we felt that VN is the third world. And any loving home in the US, offers a host of educational, medical, and career options to that child. But I agree, there is no way I would do an open adoption either. But not all domestic adoptions are open. My DH's half brother and sister do have an open adoption. They visit their biological grandmother once a year. So far, it has not been a problem. The birth family has no desire to take the children and the children get a chance to learn about their birth family. So far, I think the kids just think of them as extended family who come once a year and give them gifts.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:14 AM

VAReader just wants to money. She's pretending to be such a saint by "helping" some poor couple. Come on, she's just selling her body like a prostitute. It's the same as sperm donors. They don't do it to help out some poor couple. they're college kids out to get a $100 jerking off in front of a porn flick.

Posted by: 1116 | November 15, 2006 11:17 AM

"I always wonder how many divorces are the result of a 32-year old woman wanting to have a family more than she wants to marry the particular guy to whom she says yes."

I totally believe that the answer is MANY because I've seen it so many times. The young woman has waited for Mr. Right too long and finally she takes some guy that seems ok because she's getting older and wants a baby. What stupidity! But yes, I have seen it and a couple of women I know even admitted to me after their divorces that they realized they "wanted a baby" and hoped the marriage would work. Again, stupid and selfish.

Maybe women need to put as much effort into selecting the right husband as they do into their careers. Then we wouldn't have so many broken homes.

Posted by: Lady D. | November 15, 2006 11:17 AM

"Perhaps that's an exception and not the rule, but it seems like delaying parenthood can have your kids taking on some pretty grown up roles pretty early in life and dealing with some pretty grown up issues."

What is so wrong with people taking on "grown up roles" when they are in their 20s? Plenty of people all over the world do so. The prolonged adolesence in the U.S. isn't doing that much to make our kids' lives better.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:20 AM

Lou,

I did not hide the fact that I am being paid for my services. I am using the money to pay off student loans. Unless it was for family or friends, I would not do this for free.

Where you and I disagree is in your labeling the resulting child as "my kid". I do not see it that way. And by using that label, you are invalidating the thousands of adoptions that do take place every year. Are you saying to those parents that the child they have choosen to love isn't "their kid". It may not be genetically theirs, but they are its mother and father.

This is how I approch adoption. As a result, it logically follows that although my genetic material will be used to create this child, it will not be my child. i will not raise it, I will not provide for it, I will not love it the way its parents will, I will not even carry it in my womb. Its not mine.

I am not saying you are "wrong" I am saying that the mindset I have--that the people who raise you are your parents-- allows me to do this guilt free.

I believe your point of view is a valid one, though. Its simply a matter of opinion.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:21 AM

VAreader: once you pay taxes, the $7000 goes down to $5000 pretty quickly.
you ARE planning to declare that income, aren't you?

Posted by: Taxman | November 15, 2006 11:22 AM

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Becoming a parent in your 50's or 60's? You need to consider what this will do to the child. Yes, you might be able to be home with the child, but how many comments about the kids "grandparents" will they have to deal with. I'm pregnant and 34 and people make comments like that to me about waiting so long to start having kids. I can't imagine my parents making the decision to start having kids now in their early 60's. That seems crazy to me.

Posted by: Kristin | November 15, 2006 11:22 AM

VAReader just wants to money. She's pretending to be such a saint by "helping" some poor couple. Come on, she's just selling her body like a prostitute. It's the same as sperm donors. They don't do it to help out some poor couple. they're college kids out to get a $100 jerking off in front of a porn flick.

But if they didn't do it, some people wouldn't be able to have children.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:22 AM

-Danielle
(who isn't sure if her current hot flash is from Clomid or anger)


I love it. Best of luck on your decision. In our extended family we have biological children (conceived naturally), biological children (conceived with the aid of fertility), and adoptive children. They are all loved and wanted. Every family has a right to form their family as they choose. My guess is pundit mom is just saying that she wished more people would be open to adoption. I wish that too. But you are certainly entitled to form your family the way you choose. Nothing wrong with bio kids. I got one myself!LOL.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:23 AM

Lady D: It take more than the woman to make that marriage in the first place. It isn't like the woman dragged the man to the alter and said something about marrige so I can have kids. Whenever two people enter a marriage, there is hope. don't blame some kind of need for a child for the dissolution of a marriage.

Posted by: dotted | November 15, 2006 11:23 AM

'What is so wrong with people taking on "grown up roles" when they are in their 20s?'

They are too busy getting an education and establishing their careers to have spouse and children in their 20's - how could they possibly care for aging parents? :0)

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:23 AM

Great. Now the company I work for is going to have to spend more money to their benefits managment company to support 50-year-old women who want fertility treatments. That means everyone's health care payments will go up. I don't support this.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:23 AM

Of course! I actually live with an accountant. So he's helping me out with all that. No cheating Uncle Sam here!

Although, I'm in such a low tax bracket I don't think it goes down quite that much!

Posted by: Taxman | November 15, 2006 11:25 AM

VAReader //I am using the money to pay off student loans//

Oh, that's ok then. Now if you were using that money to go on a european vacation or a cruise, then that would be wrong.

The ends always justify the means, eh?

Posted by: Bob | November 15, 2006 11:25 AM

Personally, I am surprised she only gets $7K. It seems a lot more invasive then sperm donation. I think she deserves much more like 20K.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:27 AM

I'm going to go ahead and object to the "prostitue" lable. The egg I am donating would otherwise be washed down the drain. I do not profess to be a saint. But a couple wants to have a baby, adoption doesn't work for them, and I am playing a role in helping them achieve what they want.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:28 AM

"What is so wrong with people taking on "grown up roles" when they are in their 20s? Plenty of people all over the world do so. The prolonged adolesence in the U.S. isn't doing that much to make our kids' lives better."

Having the freedom to make your own life may sound selfish, but living your life by obligation means completely ignoring yourself. Since when is that ok?

Parents getting sick and dying when children are in their teens or twenties certainly doesn't make things easier for the families. Something everyone here seems to be glossing over is that having children at an older age does not just affect you. Having children at an older age is a risk to the child and a burden on an already established family.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:29 AM

To VAreader - I understand that you will not be raising that child, and that the adoptive parents (or in this case-half biological parents) will love it as their own.

That's not the point. I think you are justifying your actions by saying it isn't yours. It will always be your child (biologically speaking).

And I agree with the other poster, it's a HUGE thing to participate in to pay off a measely (sp?) $5,000. Hope it's worth it.

Best of luck to you.

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 11:31 AM

"Yes, you might be able to be home with the child, but how many comments about the kids "grandparents" will they have to deal with."

My dad was 50 years older than me and only ONCE did I hear anyone ever refer to him as my grandfather.

"If a man wants to provide for his family and he's ambitious, we label him as a traditional guy with his priorities right."

Depends on how his ambition plays out. I said "Sometimes ambition is just selfishness under another name." That goes equally for men AND women in my view, so you lost your bet 11:08.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:31 AM

Again, if you are opposed to people having babies unless they can have them naturally, on their own, with no help from fertility clinincs, then I respect your opinion. I understand your opinion. I simply don't share it.

But if you think that even though the woman can't carry the baby, or produce eggs, that the man should still have the opportunity to carry on his genetic line, then what I am doing is not prostitution, or immoral. Its just providing a necessary building bloc to help this couple have a baby.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:32 AM

11:05 a.m. - sperm doesn't require an invasive surgery, and is pretty freely available. If men needed more than their hand to get their sperm outside their bodies, it would be worth more to obtain.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:33 AM

I don't like the prostitute label either. It's her egg and it's her choice.

Posted by: Scarry | November 15, 2006 11:33 AM

Not to be rude VAerader but could you tell us how they get the egg out of you? Just curious. Is it just like invitro? Do you have any legal claim to the child after the birth? Is there case law on the adoptive parents side?

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:35 AM

"Adoptable children older than toddlers seem to typically come with a whole host of issues that would be difficult for a seasoned parent much less a new parent. My guess is that reason is why there is so much 'I only want a baby.'"

Danielle --

Yeah, older kids come with problems. But that's no reason to consider them unadoptable. If you really want to nurture a child to adulthood, you'll accept that as part of the deal.

I think the "I want a baby" stuff has a lot more to do with women who, having played with baby-dolls as youngsters, now want their very own baby-doll for real. It's an entitlement thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:35 AM

Lou,

You're right. It will have my genetic material. If you say that means its "my child" then fine.

But, I will not be its parent, I will probably never meet it. It will have 2 parents who love it and care for it. To me, it diminishes that relationship (and the relationship between all adoptive children and their parents) to say that, dispite all that, the child is still mine.

Me, I can't believe the gestational carrier only gets $20,000. I have never been pregnant, but that doesn't seem like much!

Although, in the spirit of this blog, most of the women who choose to be carriers are stay at home moms, and its a conveneient way for them to have a part time job without having to actually go to a job. Thoughts on that?

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:36 AM

As a father who got started a little later than many folks (my kids are 11 and 8, I'm 46 and my wife's 44) I think I could handle a baby in the house at this point, but I can't imagine being retired (as I certainly plan to be in 15 or 16 years) and having a teenager in the house! How could one be a good parent (not grandparent) to an infant at the age of 60? Call me old-fashioned, but I think the whole world would be a lot better off if people didn't base all their decisions (like about whether and when to have children) on what "works" for them, and thought a bit more about what impact those decisions might have on others. Think more about your responsibilities and less about your wants!

Posted by: wihntr | November 15, 2006 11:37 AM

Thierry --

You're a breath of fresh air on this blog. Please keep posting!

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 11:39 AM

You would have to pay me a lot more $$ then 20K to carry a child for some unrelated person. DH once asked me if his sister was having fertility problems, would I carry a baby for them. I said what are you kidding. I don't even like her. LOL.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:39 AM

"This gets me thinking---why do people choose abortion so readily over adoption (often times with the reason being they don't want someone else raising their child), but then a lot of young women choose to "donate" their eggs and have others raise their child???"

Lou --

Think the 9 months of pregnancy might have something to do with it?

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 11:40 AM

re: VAreader on donating her eggs.

If I played a biological role in bringing someone into this role, I could never shirk my responsibility of bringing up that child. For that reason, I could never be a sperm donor much less offer up my own child for adoption. I would never stop wondering what's happening to my little one out there, if he or she is ok and well-cared for.
That's just my perspective. You are within the law to do as you have done.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 11:41 AM

Couples dealing with true infertility are fairly rare and as a member of one myself, I never cease to be stunned at the lack of understanding of the medical limitations of fertility science. In vitro techniques are currently the state of the art in fertility science and are successful only about 30% of the time (when you collapse across ages and types of infertility; some groups have higher success rates, others lower). Even though my doctors have never been able to identify why my husband and I cannot conceive, our 5 attempts at getting pregnant with in vitro technology were utter failures and we have exhausted our insurance options (and thank god we had them). The technology for freezing eggs is quite new and far from perfected. I think it is incredibly dangerous to put this out there as a solution for timing women's fertility. That's a huge gamble for something so valuable.

I also never cease to be stunned by the lack of empathy in the general society for people - especially women - with infertility. If we should just get over it and adopt, my question is why doesn't everyone else just adopt, then? Part of the desire to be parents is the desire to see one's spouse and one's own family reborn in a new individual. That cannot be fulfilled by adoption. Some of us deeply mourn this loss. Finally, for those of you who conceived with little effort, please take some time to imagine how it would feel to want something desperately that everyone else seems to achieve with little or no thought or effort, yet be slammed with failure at every turn, all through absolutely no fault of your own. Imagine then, in the depth of your emotional vulnerability, being confronted with criticism for putting forth extreme efforts to parent - hell, I think everyone else should have had to think as hard about what parenting means as my husband and I have had to. Maybe then we'd have happier families. It's not like any of us ever thought we'd have trouble conceiving. It is a pain that some cannot endure. A little empathy would go a long way.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:42 AM

Cliff,

Nice to hear your point of view.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:43 AM

"It's the same as sperm donors."

Don't think so. The motivation for sperm donors is pure ego.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:43 AM

Pittypat - Sure but 9 mos seems like a drop in the bucket compared to an entire lifetime. That's the trade off isn't it??

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 11:44 AM

This gets me thinking---why do people choose abortion so readily over adoption (often times with the reason being they don't want someone else raising their child), but then a lot of young women choose to "donate" their eggs and have others raise their child???"

Lou --

Think the 9 months of pregnancy might have something to do with it?


Really. I thought it was the shame of an out of wedlock birth. Denial is a big factor. Also no one would ever know you donated eggs unless you told them. Or had an abortion. But it is kind of hard to hide a pregnancy and a kid once they are born.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:44 AM

to foamgnome:

Sure. In this particular case it is more complicated because there is a gestational carrier as well. The timeline will go as follows:

The carrier and I are synched up in terms of our menstrual cycles using birth control. Her body needs to be medically tricked into growing her uterine lining, while also tricking her into not releasing her own egg. Mine needs to be tricked into producing multiple eggs.

We are both on different horomones right now. I am taking drugs that will excite my ovaries. 2 days before the retrival I will be given a shot that will make me ovulate 8-20 eggs. On the retrival day I will be given some mix of drugs to make me almost go to sleep (apparently I won't remember anything) and the eggs will be obtained.

The eggs will then be introduced to the husband's sperm in a petri dish. The embryos created will be allowed to grow for a day or 2 (or 3?) then the 2 best looking ones will be implanted in the carriers uterus.

There is a 33% chance of twins in this type of procedure.

The remaining embryos will be the property of the couple. If they want to make a sibling for the kid, they can do that and don't have to tell me. I have no legal claim to the resulting child (I have secured a lawyer for this whole process) and they have to right to contact me in the future, or try to determine my identity.

It sounds so cold described that way. In reality I met the c ouple on a first name basis. They were greaet people. And while we will not stay in touch, should there ever be a medical question, the avenues of communication are open through the firm we used to facilitate this entire process. So for example, if the kid needs a bone marrow transplant one day, I have said I wouldn't oppose being contacted. But that's pretty much it.

All of this came after over a year of psych, medical and genetic tests on my part.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:45 AM

"If we should just get over it and adopt, my question is why doesn't everyone else just adopt, then? Part of the desire to be parents is the desire to see one's spouse and one's own family reborn in a new individual. That cannot be fulfilled by adoption. "

But how far should this be taken? Consider the woman in the article posted above who gave birth at age 62. She is diabetic, blind, and has 11 children + many grandchildren and greatgrandchildren already. Her 48 year old husband doesn't have biological children and wants them. Is it ethical to bring a child into the world this way? To endanger her life by being pregnant and giving birth, not to mention probably leaving two children motherless at an early age?

Posted by: to 11:42 | November 15, 2006 11:46 AM

Good point foamgnome. Society isn't too kind to unmarried prego women.

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 11:47 AM

raiseyourownkids: There are so many issues surrounding egg freezing, donation, infertility, genetic testing, designer babies - it is mind boggling. I can remember when the first "test tube baby" was born in England - the medical ethicists predicted the apocalypse (sp?). The surrounding moral, religious and practical reasons for "test tube" babies have for the most part been answered, but not so for the genetic testing and designer babies. Not to mention the legal questions.

Today it is pretty mainstream to go through infertility treatment because of all the societal factors (married late, career, etc.) but having the foresight to freeze your eggs in case you don't get married or have infertility problems is not so mainstream. A lot of the questions surrounding the issue will be answered in the ensuing years.

One last thing - I find myself seeing almost everyone's side on this issue. I can see the positives and the negatives - so I think so far it has been good discussion. Didn't mean to get all Kumbaya on this - but it is interesting.

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 11:48 AM

I appreciate your perspective. It is a valid one, I think. I simply do not view it the same way. As I said, it all comes out of my thoughts on adoptions.

But, hey, thanks for not calling me a prostitute!

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 11:49 AM

"I think the "I want a baby" stuff has a lot more to do with women who, having played with baby-dolls as youngsters, now want their very own baby-doll for real. It's an entitlement thing."

our comment is unfair to the majority of adoptive parents and indicates you haven't ever tried to adopt domestically or been close to anyone else who has. The reason many adoptive parents try to obtain a younger rather than an older child is to maximize attachment and minimize the likelihood that the reason the child is available is because there was abuse or failure to thrive or some other problem that will result in long-term mental and physical health problems. Healthy moms who give up children in the best interest of the child tend to do so at birth or soon thereafter. Moms who want to keep their children and only give them up later on do so because something changed -- their circumstances, the realization that the child suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, autism or some other hugs-won't-fix-it chronic disability, or because for one reason or another the child was removed from the home by DSS. The older the child, the more opportunity for the child to have experienced life-changing negative events and to not have received the nurturing and attention it needs.

Fortunately, there are special people in the world with the time and resources to adopt special needs kids. All parents seeking to adopt do not necessarily fall into this camp and woe be unto this who judge them.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:49 AM

"Where you and I disagree is in your labeling the resulting child as "my kid". I do not see it that way."

VAReader is right about this. Fees aside, a donation is a donation. You can't donate money to a cause you support and then continue to call the donation your money. You can't donate clothing to a homeless shelter but then say they're still your clothes. Once you've donated something of yours, it no longer belongs to you.

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 11:49 AM

Sorry, that last comment was from me, TO Mr.Honda.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:50 AM

What program are you seelling your eggs through? I have no desire for children, but I've often thought about helping an infertile couple out. Like you said, they're just going to waste anyway.

Posted by: to VAreader | November 15, 2006 11:52 AM

to 11:42: First of all, let me say I am truly sorry for your loss. Because in short that is what it is. A loss of a dream, a loss of your fertility, and a loss of the biological child you so desire. But let me inject this thought? Feel free to disregard it. But is your desire to parent or is your desire to see a mini replica of yourself. If your desire is parenting, please consider other options. Adoption is just one of them. Fostering is another. There are a great number of adoptive families, that would love to share the miracle of adoption with you. As for wanting a biological child, I can tell you that is a gift. I look at my DD who is my biological child and know that she is a little piece of heaven. BTW, she looks nothing like me. No a secure way of getting a mini me. She acts nothing like me. But we love her just the same. We have also deeply fallen in love with the idea of our adoptive child (the adoption is not completed). But we know that child is just as much our own as our biological child. I don't think MOST people are saying that infertile couples should adopt to insult them. Or minimize your pain. But at some point, you need to decide for yourself if PARENTING is what you desire or a BIOLOGICAL link is what you desire. It is YOUR choice to make. But please do not shut the door on parenting due to infertility. Best wishes to you and your spouse. BTW, we choose adoption. It was not a second best option for us. For one, we could conceive and we already had a biological child. But we thought what a wonderful way to expand our family. What a wonderful gift our adoptive daughter will be to our family. She is the missing face at the dinner table that will finally be filled.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 11:52 AM

One thing missing here... we certainly are not raising kids to be responsible enough to be parents in their 20's any more. Delaying child rearing makes sense as we've shifted needs as a society.

Posted by: At A Glance | November 15, 2006 11:53 AM

"But how far should this be taken? Consider the woman in the article posted above who gave birth at age 62. She is diabetic, blind, and has 11 children + many grandchildren and greatgrandchildren already. Her 48 year old husband doesn't have biological children and wants them. Is it ethical to bring a child into the world this way? To endanger her life by being pregnant and giving birth, not to mention probably leaving two children motherless at an early age?"

This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Who in the world are you to say that the parents in this scenario aren't good human beings who will love this child, and that the extended family won't love them, too? Again, I implore you to take into account the emotional and physical toll taken by fertility procedures (if you don't know what I'm talking about, then all I can say is "trust me"). No one - and I mean no one - would put themselves through this unless the child was truly wanted. Lousy parents have children the "normal way" everyday without ever having to answer for it and, I dare say, often without ever having thought about it. Please give the family in your scenario a break - I guarantee you they thought long and hard about their parenthood.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:55 AM

I think that's the problem here, a key part of the child development process (ie, the egg) is being treated as a commodity (money, clothes, etc.).

They aren't the same and shouldn't be compared.

It stinks!!


Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 11:57 AM

"The egg I am donating would otherwise be washed down the drain."

This is the point so many people seem to be missing.

It's like when the president says he won't support embryonic stem cell research because it means killing innocent human life. If he truly believed that, he would oppose reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization, which always leaves behind embryos that have to be thrown away (which is, of course, the same as being "killed" in stem cell research).

This is sheer hypocrisy. Why is it preferable to some of you for VAReader to flush away her eggs each month instead of donating them to people who want to have children?

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 11:57 AM

"One thing missing here... we certainly are not raising kids to be responsible enough to be parents in their 20's any more. Delaying child rearing makes sense as we've shifted needs as a society."

I resent this comment. You were just as mature in your twenties as we twenty-something are now. My friends are all in their twenties and most own homes, own cars, have steady jobs, and are ready for kids. I also have friends who over fighting in Iraq. Are they immature?

Try not to generalize an entire demographic based on nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 11:58 AM

This strikes me as a little odd, but I'm only 27 and am pregnant, so maybe I'll feel different when I'm older. It seems that if you want to "efficiently" balance childbearing & working, then you should have a kid earlier - not later. Have a kid in your mid 20s, take 3 months off for maternity leave, and go back to work, then you have the "rest" of your professional life to "recover." I know this isn't ideal for most people, but since we're in a discussion where people would seriously consider having a kid in their FIFTIES!!!!! it seems anything should be on the table.

Posted by: 20s Mom | November 15, 2006 11:58 AM

My mom had a tubal ligation after having my sisters. Years later, she's in a new relationship, he's never had kids, she starts taking fertility pills, gets a reversal of the tubal ligation. After two miscarriages, getting off the fertilitly pills, she finally has my little sister at age 43. That was supposed to be it for them, then three years later, at 46, my little brother is a suprise and my daughter is older by a month than her uncle.

We all joke with her about "aren't you old enough to know how to keep this stuff from happening?" but I think it goes back to something another poster said - families used to be huge and women had babies until they were in their 40's.

She is very active in my younger siblings lives, is able to do so much more with them than she ever was with me and my sisters. Frankly, I don't see where she gets the energy from, but she does. She's a bit more laid back than she was when I was a kid, too.

So what is the difference between someone freezing her eggs, and my mom?
How can you say people haven't taken everything into consideration? What is the cutoff for societal approval of an age where you're still "allowed" to become a parent?

Posted by: LGB | November 15, 2006 11:58 AM

Is Leslie really serious about this, or is this whole blog entry sarcastic. Hello? I thought this blog was about trying to find work life balance, not put one of those things on hold until later and only have one at a time. I am a lawyer that had her first child at age 23, and I am happy with my choices. I am balancing, and I am glad to have my (now 2) children already, before I even turned 26, because I can still have more if my husband and I want. I would not want to pay $10,000 and wait. Who would? My life is good now, and although balancing is hard it is not impossible. Aren't we trying to figure out how to have both, and not make this huge sacrifice? Come on Leslie. Stick to the topic instead of these suggestions, assuming that the majority of women, and not just a select few, would choose to do this. Let's find real solutions for everyone.

Posted by: This is silly | November 15, 2006 11:59 AM

Thanks VAreader. That was really interesting. I still think you deserve more then 7K to go through a year of psych and all those drugs. Is there an age limit on egg donation. Is a 20 something egg considered OK but not a 40 something egg. I mean 20 something women donating her egg. Not a 20 year old egg.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 12:00 PM

A few days ago on this blog when the talk was about tax breaks for day care costs many people were arguing that people should plan for the cost associated with having children. Now we are told, here is a way to plan, you've had your 20's & 30's to save, most people earn more in their 40's and 50's, etc. and I am seeing comments on this blog don't use this option to plan. Sometimes is seems you can't win on this blog

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | November 15, 2006 12:02 PM

"Me, I can't believe the gestational carrier only gets $20,000. I have never been pregnant, but that doesn't seem like much!"

You're so right. It comes out to a little over 3.00/hr.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:03 PM

I thinks that a successful career women who does this and has a baby at 60 will have a surrogate mother and then live-in nanny. She won't be doing the difficult and dirty work because the nanny will be there. This baby will be another trophy in her display cabinet. She will have achieved her final goal of being a "mom".

This is not the work/life balance that everyone her is suffering from. Fantasy, non? Just fantasy!

Posted by: Thierry | November 15, 2006 12:03 PM

"I can't imagine being retired (as I certainly plan to be in 15 or 16 years) and having a teenager in the house!"

Yeah, and imagine being retired and having to pay for health insurance for teenagers.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:05 PM

Re: 62 year old mom

Wonder who paid for the two in vitro procedures?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:07 PM

All the medical stuff is being done at the Genetics and IVF clinic in fairfax. You can look them up online.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:07 PM

"In vitro techniques are currently the state of the art in fertility science and are successful only about 30% of the time."

And yet, they are covered by insurance up to a point, right?

This is infuriating. And we wonder why health insurance costs have skyrocketed.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:08 PM

I have to ask VAreader - did you advertise your services? Or did someone come out of the blue and just ask you to do this?

Posted by: 1210 | November 15, 2006 12:10 PM

"Sure but 9 mos seems like a drop in the bucket compared to an entire lifetime. That's the trade off isn't it??"

Lou --

If a woman doesn't want a child to begin with, why would she opt to carry one for 9 months just to give it away? Especially if she believes it's her choice to make. (Which it is.)

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 12:11 PM

What's funny is I actually saw a piece a while back arguing the exactly opposite (jokingly, I think) - namely, that teenagers should be having kids: http://thisisby.us/index.php/content/kids_having_kids

Posted by: moira | November 15, 2006 12:11 PM

Pittypat: I think that is one area that I agree with the Roman Catholic church. They are against abortion and invitro for the very same reasons you state. I am not saying I am against either one. But I like that at least the RC is consistent in their belief. Here is my take on why people like invitro and have issues with abortion and stem cell research. People like to think of invitro as life giving. They think of all those poor infertile couples who desperately want a child. Sure that is the main point of invitro. But no one wants to think of invitro=abortion or taking of the life. When a embryo is diregarded then that embryo essentially dies. Just like the stem cell issue. But if that embryo was implanted, it actually had a chance to survive and mature into a person. But people don't like to focus on the negatives of invitro. They like to focus on the childless couple getting the child they so desperately wanted, the beautiful chubby babies that are born, and lets face it the $$ that comes from the industry. Now, I can buy into abortion and non used embryos are not exactly equivalent. Because given no intervention, an unaborted fetus has a good chance of becoming a person. While an embryo (even though it has been fertilized) will definitely NOT grow into a person outside of a women's body. Until they can grow a baby totally with out the aid of a uterus, they can not claim this is the same. But it is exactly the same as stem cell research. The argument in stem cell research is you are creating life and then destroying life. True. Same with disregarded embryos. The only way the government could be consisted is to INSIST that every embryo be implanted. You see the obvious problems. We have some friends who really got into the idea that their twins were born through invitro. They testified over and over again that they owed it to their other embryos to implant them at a later date. You know what happened? A year after having the twins, they decided those other embryos are not really children and choose to discard them. The truth is they realized it is DAMN hard to raise lots of children these days and implanting them would cost them a bundle of money. Again, denial is a huge part of how we view the world. Invitro=life giving and ignore the taking of life. Personally, I could care less either way. I think the postives of all these measures out weigh the bad. And I thank God I live in a country that I am free to make my own fertility decisions.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 12:12 PM

slow blog day so Leslie is digging deep into the bottom of the barrel of topics.

BTW, didn't she brag yesterday that "she has it all"? she can't relate to us struggling parents anymore.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:12 PM

"I thought it was the shame of an out of wedlock birth."

Foamgnome --

Join the 21st century, why don't you? An unmarried woman having a child on her own is not exactly considered shameful today.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:13 PM

//And yet, they are covered by insurance up to a point, right?//

Wrong. Most insurance carries only cover infertility if it is mandated by the state or if it requested by the company. Infertility coverage is few and far between.

Skyrocketing insurance cost has absolutely nothing to do with infertility coverage. Most people cover it out of pocket. There are a lucky few who have coverage.

Posted by: Danielle | November 15, 2006 12:14 PM

Let's not talk about abortion or stem cell research here. We'll be up to 1000 comments!

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 12:15 PM

To 12:13- I hope your kidding? There are people every day condemning out of wedlock births. I am not at all saying that is the correct way to view the situation. But there is still a strong "values" crowd that like to pick on out of wed lock births.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 12:16 PM

foamgnome:

Ironically you do have to be within a certian age to donate eggs. The reason is that younger eggs (or eggs from younger people) have a higher success rate. I think between 18 and 35 or something.

Another plus of this whole process was the following:

First: I became aware of just how important it is to try to have kids as soon as you think you're ready. Biology works, and if you wait forever, you may find you can't do it on your own anymore. Although I am helping to make it possible for a 50+ year old couple to have a baby, it opened my eyes to the fact that I DON"T want to get myself into that position.

Second: I was subjected to a litany of medical tests. Far beyond the normal pelvic exam at my yearly gyno visit. These were all tests that wouldn't have been covered by my insurance. But now I know all my parts are in working order. I can't tell you how many couples I learned about where the woman had something wrong with her, that could have been fixed if it had been discovered when she was 23, not 37.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:17 PM

If someone waits until their mid-40's or 50s to attempt conception and cannot, does this fall under the banner of infertility? To me that is a much less sympathetic scenario than a younger couple (20s-30s) who likewise cannot get pregnant. I freely admit this is a knee jerk reaction, but the idea of a 60y.o. mom or dad grosses me out - it's like we are trying to fool nature. Never a good idea!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:17 PM

1210:

I responded to an advertisement in the Washington Post Express newspaper.

I have yet to complete the entire process, so I'll have to let you all know how it goes, but as of now, I would consider doing it again.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:21 PM

1210 //I have to ask VAreader - did you advertise your services? Or did someone come out of the blue and just ask you to do this?//

I suspect that VAreader will not answer that question because she advertised her services. That kinds puts a dent into her oh-so-touching "helping other people" speech.

I wish she were honest about her motives, but she chooses to puts blinders on to justify her actions. That's her right though. As many have said here, "it's her body".

Posted by: Bob | November 15, 2006 12:21 PM

"Let's not talk about abortion or stem cell research here. We'll be up to 1000 comments!"

And your problem with that would be what, Mr. Honda?

These are legitimate issues to be considered in the context of today's blog topic.

I will reiterate my previous question here, as I'd really like someone to take it up:

Why is it ok for a woman to flush away her eggs each month but not ok to donate them to people who want to have children?

Is it not hypocritical to approve of the former but not of the latter? How do you defend such a position?

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 12:26 PM

Bob,

I missed my speech. I'm glad it was touching. you know, I think you're right. No one should ever do something nice if they get paid for it. All those people working in non-profits who help people- their work actually doesn't count because they are getting paid a salary.

Getting paid to do something, and doing a good thing are not mutually exclusive.

Also, I was honest from the get-go about receiving money. What blinders am I wearing exactly?

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:27 PM

Pitty: You are mixing apples and oranges with the embryonic stem cell debate. WARNING: KETTLE OF WORMS BEING OPENED HERE - but I could not let this go.

The whole embryonic stem cell research debate is about PUBLIC FUNDS being used on the research. Embryonic stem cell research has not been outlawed - it is going on as we speak in private labs all over the country. No one is proposing paying VAreader be paid with public funds to donate her eggs. The federal government - nor President Bush - has anything to do with it. Well, except for taxing her 7000$ fee.

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 12:29 PM

pittypat//"Let's not talk about abortion or stem cell research here. We'll be up to 1000 comments!"

And your problem with that would be what, Mr. Honda?//

Hi, I should have put a smiley face at the end. My point was that it's a hot topic with great debate. I personally don't wish to join that debate at this point in time.
Nothing more.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 15, 2006 12:29 PM

By the way, I can not imagine advertising my "services". What would I say "Eggs for sale! get your eggs here! Prime genetic material for the low price of $7000!". Where would I post that ad, Bob?

Bob, have you ever even seen an advertisement for someone selling their eggs? I responded to an ad placed by the parents. They were looking for specific characteristics, which I had. I connected with their story of why they couldn't have kids, and why they wanted one.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:31 PM

The 62 year old mum paid for the two in vitro procedures with an inheritance from her father. She is currently thinking about adopting a little girl.
Daily Mail (London)
April 26, 2006 Wednesday
SECTION: ED 1ST XA; Pg. 20

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:32 PM

Oh, VAreader, I did not read your post before I sent mine off. So you did not advertise, but instead responded to an ad.
That's good, then. So altruistic of you to help a needy couple. Hope you continue to have lots of eggs to sell. Cheaper by the dozen, eh?

Posted by: Bob | November 15, 2006 12:33 PM

A lot of folks seem to be saying that women delay child-bearing in order to have high-powered careers. This doesn't ring true to me. I think that the more common situation is that couples delay having kids in order to pay down college and other debt. I think this will become more and more common as college costs rise. Also, ditto to the anon poster at 11:49. It is a wonderful thing to adopt older kids, but many(most?) have special needs that will require parents not only to raise them to adulthood, but care for them possibly as dependents for the rest of the their lives. It is wonderful that people have it within their hearts to adopt special needs kids, but it's not for everyone and it can be a very far cry from the average family situation. I guess I'm saying it's not fair to say to someone "You can't have a biological child? Just go adopt an older child". It's not apples to apples or even close.

Posted by: AB | November 15, 2006 12:35 PM

A few other things to consider:

1) Women menstruate because an egg has ripened but was not fertilized. This happenes each month until the supply of eggs in the ovaries runs out. You then go through menopause. If you have say 50 eggs taken out and frozen you have just shortened your time before menopause by 50 months. Being a dude, let me tell ya, its hell on everyone within a 10 mile radius. Think carefully before bringing that time closer.

2) Having children helps put off menopause. Remember that menopause happens when the eggs run out, but if you have, say, 5 children, then that is 9 months per child that you were not loosing eggs. A woman with 5 children will experience menopause 9x5 months (about 4 years) later than she normally would have if she had no children.

3) I read some studies that indicate certain diseases are more likely in women who have not been pregnant. I can't remember the specifics but the BIG question to ask your doctor if you're thinking about delaying childbirth into your 50s and 60s is what the health risks are from NOT having children until then.

4) I know many people who had their kids in their 20-30s and were empty nesters by 50. At that age they have the best job experience, can take risks to start new jobs, new businesses, and have retirement income to fall back on and the "boost" in income as the children are no longer in college.

5) My wife and I had our daughter when my wife was 40. Lemme tell ya, motherhood and fatherhood are for the young. Imagine being 60 years old and getting up for the 2am/4am/6am feedings, carrying around your kid(s), putting them in and out of car seats, running after them when they dart into the street, etc. Its physically exhausting and for a 60-something, dangerous.

6) Health insurance is a big issue. Most parents cover their kids with their employer's health insurance which can be paid for by the employer to some extent. Once you retire its all paid for by you. If you want a "family" plan, be ready to pay a lot more, and it will all be coming out of your pocket.

Do yourself a favor ladies: Have about 15 eggs frozen while young in case you have cancer and the radiation makes you sterile, you have an accident and your ovaries are removed, or some other disaster. Men should freeze some sperm as well. Then live a normal life, have your kids in your 20/30s. Once you've had the kids you want, donate the eggs and sperm to people who are infertile. Raise your kids well, send them to college and marry them off, then retire and enjoy the grandkids.

Posted by: Sully | November 15, 2006 12:36 PM

Don't worry, VAreader. You are just receiving some of the bile that some tin-foil-hearted, holier-than-thou, deeply ignorant people like to throw at infertile couples.

What they don't realize is that the "low pay" being offered to you is the result of decisions made by medical ethicists to prevent the commercialization and coercion of egg donation. Somebody has already thought long and hard about these questions, boys! People a hell of a lot better informed than you!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:36 PM

I know many married women trying to have their first, second or third babies at 35+ ages and the quality of their eggs is not as good as at age 25. That's why doctors recommend amnio for pregnant women after 35. A lot of these women would have more options for healthy babies if they had frozen unfertilized eggs.

Also note: this technology is not about freezing embryos, which has been an option for a long time. This new & improved technology pertains to freezing unfertilized eggs, which used to have a sucess rate of only 2-4 per 100 eggs. Big difference between unfertilized eggs and fertilized embryos.

Posted by: Leslie | November 15, 2006 12:37 PM

Bob,

If you believe the only valid way to have a child is "the way God intended" then, though I disagree, I respect your view. Many people share your view.

But you don't need to be rude about it. I'm all about an intelligent discussion on this (and other) issues.

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:39 PM

To anyone who is thinking of having an infant after age 40, I recommend the following "homework" before going through with it:

Spend one week each in a daycare center, and each grade K-12 in a public school near your home. Then ask yourself at the end of that experience -- if you don't have the energy now to handle it, you certainly won't 10 years from now.

I think that freezing one's eggs to pursue a high profile career is a singularly ludicrous idea. If one has the brains to succeed in a high pressure career at age 22, then those same brain cells will be there at 40 -- a bit tempered and mature with more life experience, but still there.

Read Nancy Pelosi's bio for inspiration.

Posted by: Another Mom | November 15, 2006 12:40 PM

Sully, is that true? I understood that a women has all the eggs in her lifetime at birth or in the womb. Many eggs just die on their own in the body. A women has her period from age 12-55 on average. Probably shorter then that but it is fairly save to assume a women may menstruate till age 55. She releases 13 eggs a year on average (every 28 days-technically more then once a month). That is only 559 eggs=43 years * 13 eggs. The rest die in the body and are never released. But a women is born with like a million eggs. Donating 50 doesn't exactly bring menopause any earlier. Any medical doctors out there that tell us the facts?

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 12:43 PM

I think a lot of people are being rude on here to VAreader for no good reason. What about the family who placed the add? If you don't like what she is doing, what about them?

Also, she is right, lots of people like to help other people and many of them get paid for it. I work for a non-profit and I get paid for it. If I didn't I wouldn't be able to take care of my kid.

Posted by: Scarry | November 15, 2006 12:45 PM

There are different laws in every state, but one donor can only donate 5-6 times. From what I hear, this is to reduce the chances that half brothers/sisters will meet eachother later in life and try to procreate (obviously without knowing they are related).

I would hope there rules for sperm donors to protect against this same thing. But I wouldn't count on it!

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:46 PM

Gosh, I wish I had the time to read all these comments, but I am a working mom! ;) I'm sure I'll reiterate what others have said--women who give birth at 50 or 65 have little likelihood of becoming grandmothers, possibly knocking out an important generational interface. Not to mention not surviving to see your own children grown--think heart disease, breast cancer and other big killers of women. Oy! Great topic to spur debate, but so far out of the mainstream for now that it really reads as a kind of sophomoric belly-button gazing exercize than anything that the average schmoe-ess is really contemplating these days.

Posted by: Dignity for Single Parents | November 15, 2006 12:52 PM

"The whole embryonic stem cell research debate is about PUBLIC FUNDS being used on the research."

cmac --

I'm not talking about the funding debate.

I'm talking about the fundamental hypocrisy of people who are opposed to embryonic stem cell research but are not opposed to in vitro fertilization. Ultimately, from an ethical standpoint, they are the same thing: they both result in the death of embryos.

Please explain to me -- from an ethical perspective -- how some people can oppose one and support the other.

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 12:52 PM

Pittypat: I told you why. See my earlier post. DENIAL is a beautiful thing.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 12:54 PM

VAreader,

I know this is a weird question and I'm no perv, I promise, but I heard that while undergoing the proceedures for egg donation, you are no longer allowed to be 'intimate' with your significant other. How long is that true for?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:54 PM

Pittypat -- Amen.

And speaking of frozen entities, aren't there something like 400,000 frozen embryos out there already -- the result of lots of IVF treatments? The paradox on this issue has always astounded me.

Posted by: Anon 2 | November 15, 2006 12:56 PM

"Who in the world are you to say that the parents in this scenario aren't good human beings who will love this child, and that the extended family won't love them, too?"
"Please give the family in your scenario a break - I guarantee you they thought long and hard about their parenthood."

Actually, I know and am related by marriage to the family in question. It is not "my scenario", it is a true life story that was all over the media last February. They and their extended family (of course) love the children. However, there are a lot of circumstances involved that you don't know about, so please don't tell me to "give them a break."

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 12:57 PM

There will be a "hiatus" from sexual activity for me and the BF.

Once I am on the hormones that essentially make my ovaries work overtime, I can't have sex. Even with a condom. The risk is just too great. If some of his swimmers were to make it through I would almost certianly conceive. And it would most likely be triplets to quads. That is not what I'm looking for right now.

Basically a week after the proceedure, I'll have my period and then go back onto birth control. Then everything proceeds as normal. a total of 2-3 weeks without sex.

It'll be tough, but I'm sure we'll make it through somehow! =)

Posted by: VAreader | November 15, 2006 12:59 PM

My parents are in their early 60s and my dad was just diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Not that they were considering additional kids--far from it, in fact, as one of my adult brothers still lives at home--but it's a real wakeup call for all of us.
I wasn't planning on kids--I was looking forward to a long middle adulthood where I could spend time with friends and enjoy my career and also spend time with my parents as adults together.
Now, it's looking like my remaining time with my dad will be spent assisting in his care: at least, I hope there are things I can do to assist.
I'm very glad I didn't start a family yet myself as it's going to be hard enough what with the geographical distance between my home and my parents'. It also makes me realize I would be a poor candidate to be an older parent as my own risk of the same cancer is much greater than I previously realized.
Not to scare off those who do wish to become parents later in life. But I have a feeling our collective vision of late-middle-age is artificially rosy, based more on lending product commercials than reality.
I can't say I won't change my mind. But I can definitely say I'm not going to bank eggs against the possibility. Just my $0.02.

Posted by: worker bee | November 15, 2006 1:00 PM

Why is it ok for a woman to flush away her eggs each month but not ok to donate them to people who want to have children?

Is it not hypocritical to approve of the former but not of the latter? How do you defend such a position?
*******************************

Pittypat - I really want to answer you question, but I would do so in the context of religion and I know that is an unwelcome topic around here.

We probably wouldn't see eye to eye anyway, but don't think there aren't people out there with sound arguements in agreeance with one another.

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 1:12 PM

Pittypat - I really want to answer you question, but I would do so in the context of religion and I know that is an unwelcome topic around here.

Lou, I don't think it is unwelcome here. I would be interested too. Besides we often talk about religion on this blog. It is a part of life in the US and it shapes peoples thoughts and ideas. Please share.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 1:16 PM

I'm curious what your religious arguments are.

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 1:16 PM

I wanted to add in response to foamgnome's speculation about the decline in male sperm quality after forty that there was a recent article in The Post that said a recent study correlates men fathering after forty with an increased chance of autism in the child. Given the dramatic rise in autism (and I know there are those who say the cause is vaccinations) it is worth keeping in mind that biology affects women and men equally, if not differently, Viagra notwithstanding.

Posted by: Dignity for Single Parents | November 15, 2006 1:19 PM

I don't give a hoot about the religious arguments. The Internet is full of them; do a little searching on your own.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:23 PM

This doesn't seem like a good idea too me. But neither do infertility treatments in general. If you can't have kids, nobody said life was fair.

Posted by: Not a good idea | November 15, 2006 1:24 PM

Not a good idea,

How many kids have you cranked out?

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 1:25 PM

The idea that women would use egg-freezing techniques (which may have a low rate of success) to delay having children in their 60s is pretty far-fetched. It's likely that the cut-off for using the technique -- or at least the likelihood of its success -- will be around age 35 or 38. I doubt anyone interested enough in having children to harvest their eggs truly wants to wait another 20 or 25 years to bear children -- but we won't even know that for another two decades or more, will we?

It's far more likely that women who try this technique are unmarried and don't want to be single moms, but hope to marry and have children someday -- probably someday SOONER rather than later, if they have their choice.

A problem with marketing this solution is that the decline in women's fertility (the quality of eggs and other factors) in their mid- to late-30s isn't that well known. We all know women in their late 30s and even late 40s who have children, but many of them use fertility treatments and donor eggs, and many women who try to have children at that age flat-out can't. For single women in their mid to late 30s who are most likely to be interested, it may be too late.

I became a mom for the first time at 35. Now I'm 37, and getting ready for a second go -- if it's possible. I would actually love to adopt our second, but it's too expensive. We are a middle-income family, and I'm nervous about how we will afford a second child anyway. If we had to take out a 30K mortgage before adding in regular daily expenses, we could not do it. We will have a birth child or stop at one.

Posted by: kellion | November 15, 2006 1:26 PM

Someone might've made this comment already, but I'm not about to wade through 225 comments to see. Egg freezing is not the magic bullet that you imply it is. I've done a lot of research on it, and there are some definite grey areas.

You neglected to mention that extracting enough eggs from a woman so the chances of the method working requires multiple extractions and thus, more financial output. Also, frozen eggs often rupture and thereby become unusable, and even when viable, they still must be fertilized via invitro methods, which are not guaranteed to work. So investing in the procedure is a huge financial and emotional risk because the chances of it working after a woman goes through all the necessary hoops is extremely low. Why do you think it hasn't caught on more readily?

I considered it. And then I dropped the idea. I want children badly, and there are no prospective partners in my life. It's a drought. Yet I decided there are some things I have to just let be. Not for religious reasons, but for reasons of maintaining my sanity. I cannot control everything, and somehow, someday, I will be a mother, whether via my own biology or some other means. Articles like yours, though, especially those as poorly researched as yours, serve to do nothing but panic women who are in my boat.

Posted by: singleand39 | November 15, 2006 1:28 PM

Actually, this is disgusting and one of the most ridiculous, outrageous concepts I have ever heard in my life.

Can you imagine being the progeny of a woman who believes she can plan her life out to the point that she has a child in her 60s - via planning! She'd pick your college, your career, your mate, and in general view you and your entire life as something to add to her trophy shelf. That kind of a woman would be truely disgusting, both as an individual and as a parent.

The greatest things in life cannot be controlled. Those include the talents that you are born with (be it dance, instrument, crunching numbers - whatever gives you satisfaction), your spouse, children, etc.

Finally, I am 22 with a child (doesn't work for all, works for me). I once had a boss who had her only child when she was in her 40s. Even she admitted that my child was under better control than hers - and I believe that was because she centered her whole life on him. My child knows that she has to be able to entertain herself and I am her mother, not her friend. No TV allowed during the week (which never fails to amaze pediatricians) so she works in math workbooks (for some bizarre reason she thinks that is fun), plays with toys, practices her dancing, and knows that she is not the center of the universe. Having children too old and then spoiling them like grandchildren is creating a generation of entitled children.

Not only that, but when they are born after you've reached complete financial stability (yes, I do struggle a bit) they grow up with a lack of understanding of how to handle poverty when they are in college or just out of college. They've had everything handed to them on a silver platter and to maintain that lifestyle they find themselves $25K in credit card debt. This because they inherited the sense of entitlement that their parents had. Struggle can be a very positive thing in life and teaches lifelong lessons.

Posted by: OMG | November 15, 2006 1:28 PM

None to date (and not currently trying). But if I can't, I have to accept that.

Posted by: Not a good idea | November 15, 2006 1:29 PM

So nice to know you have all the answers at the ripe age of 22.

Posted by: LGB to "OMG" | November 15, 2006 1:32 PM

Sully is an idiot who knows nothing about women's fertility or menopause.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:32 PM

OMG

What is your point?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:34 PM

Pitty - re: your ethical debate. I guess the arguement would be that in one instance - IVF - you are creating life. Even in conventional conceptions there are instances of one embryo surviving while others do not - in the same pregnancy. Multiple embryo's being implanted does not always mean mutliple pregnancies. Also, about 30% of miscarriages are not even detected - they happen so early in the pregnancy. The egg is fertilized but nature takes it course.

With embryonic stem cell research you are only destroying. Yes, your are using fertilized eggs that may or may not be "thrown away" but to many that is not justification for, in effect, killing the embryo.

I am not a huge proponent of Embryonic Stem cell research. Even Micheal J.Fox's foundation gives millions to research on Adult cell and placental cell research. Results that can be obtained from not destroying an embryo are preferrable to me.

BTW: From a religious perspective there are MANY people that are opposed to BOTH embryonic stem cell research and IVF because of the loss of life and "playing God" - which eliminates the hypocrisy. I have no idea if this is Pres Bush's view.

This is my first stab at this question. My mind is grinding to a halt right now because I haven't eaten lunch. There may be more later.

Posted by: CMAC | November 15, 2006 1:35 PM

OMG, that's a lot of generalization. I was raised with never a financial worry but I am financially responsible and always have been. I drive a 10-year-old car and search for value in anything I purchase while my friends trade for new cars every 3 or 4 years and spend a lot of time shopping for things they admit they don't need but are buying because they are "bored". Some of them grew up with parents who were near poverty, and I don't see that it helped them to witness that struggle.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:36 PM

Ok here it goes (Armor? Check.) (Thinking of new names to post as, as I type.)

Put succinctly, a missed opportunity, (ie ovulation) is not the same as taking extreme proactive measures such as "tricking" your body to facilitate making a baby.

In the context of religion, I don't believe in IVF or any of the above related procedures, because it is my belief that sex in it's purest form (ie no contraceptives) is reserved for a married man and woman.

That is not to say you can't help things along with Clomid, etc., but the act itself cannot be separated from the babymaking process. So putting an egg and sperm in a petri dish just doesn't fly in our house.

And this is coming from a couple who could greatly benefit from those types of procedures, but sees the beauty in what we are dealing with, suffering and all.

Foamgnome (I think) said a lot of correct things re: the Catholicism and if you haven't guessed - that is what we practice.

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 1:36 PM

CMAC:If all the embryos are not implanted in IVF, aren't you creating life and thus destroying them. Because you threw them away?

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 1:37 PM

OMG:

Congrats on your baby and being a responsible 22. It sounds like you are raising your child very well. I agree with you that spoiling a child will not have a good outcome later on.

LBG:

A huge problem in society today is that we assume anyone younger than us is obviously stupid and inexperienced. Twenty-somethings accomplish plenty. They hold jobs and support themselves just like older people. It's unfair to claim that twenties are still children.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 1:39 PM

If I could fine someone who wanted to buy my eggs, I'd sell all those puppies in a heartbeat. You go girl!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:40 PM

Lou,

Good ideas on natural selection! There are already too many Catholics in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:45 PM

By the time this comment posts, someone probably will have already responded to Sully's comments on eggs and menopause, but just to clarify: this is not how it works.

His explanation: "If you have say 50 eggs taken out and frozen you have just shortened your time before menopause by 50 months."

Not the case at all. Menopause comes on for many reasons, but there's no direct link like this between egg number and menopause. Baby girls are born with every egg they'll have (in the 2 million range). By the time puberty starts, it's down to a few hundred thousand. If we had to wait for menopause until every single one of those eggs matured, at the rate of one a month, we'd menstruate for, oh, 30,000 years.

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 1:47 PM

" But I have a feeling our collective vision of late-middle-age is artificially rosy, based more on lending product commercials than reality."

I agree completely! Having been around many older folks all my life, I have witnessed the decline that occurs from age 55 to 65 and especially from age 70 to 75. Yes, perhaps a larger percentage of people are healthier at age 70 than were 10 years ago, but most people at age 65 are not at all interested in chasing around a young child or dealing with an unruly teen.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:48 PM

Lou,

You might want to consider working with an RE if you're having problems. There are some very basic things that could be going that can be fixed without any in-vitro type procedures - i.e. getting an HSG to make sure her tubes are cleared; medicated timed intercourse.

Though I don't agree with the view - it's understandable considering the church's view on life and marriage. The one thing I like about the church is that it is pretty consistent. :)

Posted by: Danielle | November 15, 2006 1:48 PM

Lou,

Good ideas on natural selection! There are already too many Catholics in the world.

*********************
That was really hurtful. Little do you know. Also, why I was/will be hesitant to post.

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 1:49 PM

"A problem with marketing this solution is that the decline in women's fertility (the quality of eggs and other factors) in their mid- to late-30s isn't that well known. We all know women in their late 30s and even late 40s who have children, but many of them use fertility treatments and donor eggs, and many women who try to have children at that age flat-out can't. For single women in their mid to late 30s who are most likely to be interested, it may be too late."

I beleve if you look at the statistics that you are overstating the case a bit. "Many" women having child one in their mid-thirties do not use fertility treatments; only a few do. The problem is that many women may not appreciate the increased, still small, likelihood that it may be more difficult at 37 than at 33. As I recall, the continuum of problems getting pregnant with your first child commences around 35 and increases the older you get. Nonetheless, the vast majority of women who have child 1 in their mid to late thirties have no problem conceiving.

Also, note that infertility problems in connection with aging are linked to the age at which the woman bear child 1. Such problems are not equal as between the childless 38 year old and the 38-year old who has already delivered at least one child.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:49 PM

I'm young/old enough to know that I don't know everything ... what is right for me, isn't right for everyone else.

To label something "disgusting and one of the most ridiculous, outrageous concepts I have ever heard in my life" is automatically going to place me, the reader, in a mindset where I will not put much credence in what they say. It doesn't open up the topic for discussion - it brings it to a standstill of "my way is the only way."

Posted by: LGB to "van" | November 15, 2006 1:50 PM

Lou, just ignore the troll. I do. I am Catholic too and give a hoot if someone doesn't like us. Please continue to post.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 1:51 PM

Danielle
"The one thing I like about the church is that it is pretty consistent. :)"

How old are you? There have been some mighty big changes in the Catholic Church in the last 50 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:51 PM

For those who are knowledgeable about fertility, if a man has a vasectomy, how well does the male egg harvesting work if he later decides he wants a bio child? What if his wife is age 40 and they try IVF? Is there much chance of conception or is it almost surely a waste of money and time?

Posted by: Len | November 15, 2006 1:54 PM

LGB- take your own advice. OMG is allowed her opinion.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 1:54 PM

Lou,

How come Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 1:56 PM

Len: I am not a Dr. but men don't have eggs. They have sperm. From what I understand, they can remove the sperm with or without a reversal of the vasectomy. I heard it has diminished chance of successful reproduction. But I think that is do to the invitro or interuterine insemination. Not that the actual vasectomy changes the quality of sperm. But I am not sure. This is just what I have heard from others.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 1:57 PM

1:56- good food?

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 1:57 PM

Len - It's totally easy to get sperm out of a man who's had a vasectomy. They just pop a needle in and suck the sperm out. I don't know if they can get enough to do artificial insemination, but to do intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), you only need one sperm. (It's an IVF procedure where you inject one sperm into one egg.)

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 1:58 PM

My guess the religion does not play a huge role in the decision to reproduce in Italy. I doubt they face any greater fertility issues then other countries. In short, they are Catholics for convenience.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 1:59 PM

As I posted earlier - my mom had her last child at 46 - with no in vitro, no pills.

While I agree there is an age difference between 46 and 60 - not everyone ages the same way. Not everyone will do this out of a need to control.

I agree with the need for responsible decision making when it comes to the time to become a parent. Many of us who have children didn't think it through, many of us thought it through ad nauseum.

How many people do you know who don't seem to have any common sense and they're well into their 50's?

You can't force people to think of all the consequences.

I think there is a need for ethical guidelines, but there is no one size fits all answer for this situation.

Posted by: LGB to "Van" | November 15, 2006 2:00 PM

Regardless of what you think of me, my age, or my opinions at least I do not say cruel, hateful things about "natural selection" on anonymous blogs. Was that person 22?

And yes, I am Catholic too.

Posted by: OMG | November 15, 2006 2:01 PM

I'm 30.

I'm aware of Vatican II and the changes handed down from that. (Mass not in Latin, lay people involvement in church, etc.) On issues of marriage the church has long held that sex should be between a married man and woman only for the sole purposes of creation. And on issues of life, the church has also generally held that life begins when we are aware that it is there. For example, before we were aware of the sperm and the egg - life began at quickening. Now that we have more information; life begins at conception.

I'm a product of all sorts of Catholic schooling too - Ursuline and Jesuits. :)

Lou, pay no attention to the natural selection jerk. It obviously has no compassion that you are more than the product of your religious beliefs.

Posted by: Danielle | November 15, 2006 2:02 PM

Foamgnome, thanks, I was dumb to write eggs when I meant sperm. The 40+-year-old wife also has never had children so conception chances are decreased even more, I think, even with IVF. I know a couple who are trying because the wife is desperate for a child, and though the husband doesn't want one so much he's willing to try.

If the sperm harvesting has even a 50-50 chance of succeeding, I don't understand why more men don't have vasectomies once they've had the number of kids they want rather than making their wives have the more invasive tubal ligations.

Posted by: Len | November 15, 2006 2:03 PM

It's not impossible to have a child at/after 40, even without freezing your eggs -- my mom had me *at* age 40, going through standard practice (no IVF, no fertility help, etc).

My mother also has repeatedly said that after me she didn't want any more (I'm an only child) because she didn't have the energy to run after multiple kids, nor did she want any more (just because, nothing to do with the energy, she wanted 1 and that was it).

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:03 PM

LGB:

My mom died at 46. Best to have kids earlier?

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 2:04 PM

"With embryonic stem cell research you are only destroying."

No, cmac, you're attempting to develop life-saving medical treatments.

"Yes, your are using fertilized eggs that may or may not be "thrown away" but to many that is not justification for, in effect, killing the embryo."

Then what should be done -- ethically speaking -- with the unused embryos? The choices are:

1) Make the parents take all their frozen embryos to term.
2) Throw out the unused embryos.
3) Put the unused embryos to use in research that could benefit human life.
4) Leave the unused embryos frozen forwever.

Which of these actions would you advocate?

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 2:05 PM

"While I agree there is an age difference between 46 and 60 - not everyone ages the same way."

The thing about aging is that you don't know how well or badly you'll age until it happens to you. Even if you're in great shape at 50, it doesn't mean you will be at 60. A lot can happen -- but then a lot can happen when you're 35, too. I have a friend who seemed to be in excellent health and physical condition, and then he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

Posted by: Old Town Today | November 15, 2006 2:06 PM

Len: Some men don't have vasectomies for religious reasons. But the prevelant reason is their special equipment is very "special" to them. They don't like the idea of tampering with their "special" equipment. And there is a deep seated fear of pain to their "special" equipment.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 2:06 PM

I'm sorry for the loss of your mother.

Posted by: LGB to "Van" | November 15, 2006 2:08 PM

I suppose, at least according to some, that I must be the exception rather than the rule (odd, though, because last time I checked, the average age of a U.S. mother at the birth of her first child was 25.1). Anyway, I do think it's unfair to make generalizations that 20-somethings are too "selfish" or "immature" to be parents. My husband was 34 when our daughter was born (he's 9 years older than me), and we didn't want to wait until he was 40 to have children. So I became a mother at 25. I have a great job, I'm finishing up law school this year, and my husband is doing well in his career, too. I can't help but think that if I were significantly older when we had our daughter, I would have struggled to "keep up" with her high energy level. I'm enjoying being a "young" mom, and I don't think there's anything "selfish" about that.

Posted by: PLS (another '20s mom) | November 15, 2006 2:10 PM

Danielle

I was alive during Vatican II and some of the changes are more profound than you suggest.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:11 PM

Lou, Foamgnome, by your values in previous posts, it's obvious to me that you are Catholics, and will be persecuted because of your faith. You already know this.

I think the words that best describe the fertility issue in terms of Catholic faith are:
Anything that attempts to seperate the Marital Act (Sex) from the natural process of conception is intrinsically evil.

I would not expect anyone who does not have training in this aspect of faith to uphold this value.

Posted by: Father of 4 | November 15, 2006 2:11 PM

LGB- Thanks. That is my reasoning for having children earlier. You never know when you're going to leave them behind. Now I have a huge chance of dying young (cancer), so I have different views than those who choose career over family. I realized after she died that family was so much more important than anything else. Money is great, but you can't take it with you.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 2:11 PM

OMG -

You seem to very "together" at 22. However, I would caution you from automatically assuming that people who wait to have children and/or who make their children their top priority in life are automatically screwing them up and leaving them a destiny of being spoiled and self-centered with huge credit card debts.

I'm twice your age, have been both a SAHM and a WOHM, and had children in both my twenties and my mid to late thirties. I will attest to the fact that it's more difficult physically to have children when you're older. But I will also attest to the fact that I know a *heck* of a lot more now than I did 20 years ago, and that wisdom is hopefully reflected in my children.

Right now, my children are my priority. But they are far from spoiled and irresponsible, and they're fully aware that the world doesn't revolve around them.

Posted by: momof4 | November 15, 2006 2:12 PM

"The thing about aging is that you don't know how well or badly you'll age until it happens to you. "

I can't live my life wondering about "what if's" ... I could find out I have cancer tomorrow, and I'd leave two children behind - does that make me irresponsible.

Is the question more that the incident of illness increases as age increases and that would lead to the greater likelihood of it being an "irresponsible" decision to have children since you have a greater likelihood of dying from illness? I don't know the rates of illness in "older" people, so this is not something I am educated enough on to speak to.

Posted by: LGB | November 15, 2006 2:12 PM

Lou,

I would not try to argue your points because they are your religious beliefs. As such, I have to respect them.

I feel that this is a moral issue but not the kind of morals that are the province of religion.

To anyone else out there: Is there a logical and ethical answer to this question that is not grounded in religious beliefs?

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 2:12 PM

Having children and then dying at a young age is tragic. Someone of 70 years dying... that is common. Irresponsibility cannot be retroactive. You should not regret getting sick and leaving kids behind at at a young age because so few people die young, but an older person knows their days are limited, even with the advancement of technology in healthcare.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 2:17 PM

Lou, you are treading on dangerous ground. On this blog, any mention of the word "Republican", "conservative" or "religion" will instantly put you in the doghouse. you won't get a fair shake, none of your arguments will be given fair consideration.

Posted by: Bob | November 15, 2006 2:21 PM

Lou,

By the way, thank you for replying on this subject and putting your beliefs out there.

I'd far rather hear from posters what they honestly believe and why than to have them struggle to make an argument that is somehow more "appropriate" to the blog audience.

It takes courage to share your beliefs, but doing so spreads understanding.

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 2:21 PM

"If the sperm harvesting has even a 50-50 chance of succeeding, I don't understand why more men don't have vasectomies once they've had the number of kids they want rather than making their wives have the more invasive tubal ligations."

Len:

Because men find it to be a direct link to their masculinity. If you can't father a child, you're not a real man. Look at the cracks people make about Lance Armstrong and his "uniball". It's the same attitude, sad as that is.

But my husband bit the bullet and did it. He says he did it for us, and I am grateful for that--but I know he really did it for himself, because he just doesn't want to be a father, and that's perfectly fine with me.

Posted by: RaiseYourOwnKids | November 15, 2006 2:22 PM

If I get a vasectomy, I will lose my power. I'll be firing blanks.

No no. My good wife has willingly agreed to IUDs.

Posted by: 223 | November 15, 2006 2:24 PM

I'm 23 years old and looking at a VERY LONG training period before I'll be able to have children (2 1/2 more years of medical school and 3-5 of residency) but I still would never choose to freeze eggs as a backup plan.

First of all, even frozen embryos are rarely viable past 5 years, and frozen eggs are even less stable (this according to the professor in my reproduction unit). This provides enough time for women who freeze eggs due to cancer or other causes to have children after treatment, but women who choose to willingly let their prime reproductive years pass by are going to be heartbroken to discover that their backup eggs will also fail them.

Secondly, I'm concerned about the precedent that this might set for those of us who want to have children early on in our careers. Are bosses (or in my case, hospital attendings) going to be flexible and understanding, or are they going to say "well you can always freeze your eggs so I see no reason why I should allow you to take maternity leave/breast pump at work/stay home with a sick child?

Posted by: keylime | November 15, 2006 2:25 PM

If I get a vasectomi, I will not be abel to make love like I always do.

Posted by: Thierry | November 15, 2006 2:26 PM

Van, I think sometimes we take a gamble on our genetics - my mom's mother lived to be 86, and my grandfather to 70 something, so with having her last at 46, she's taking a gamble (however unplanned for) that she'll last at least as long as her mom did.

I don't have much of a bond with my younger siblings, but just because I don't, doesn't mean my kids don't have fun with them. (And secretly, yes, I do resent that she is unable to visit me because of her current familial obligations, but that just means I send my older one out to her for a month in the summer.)

One thing I didn't think was fair about my mom having children at an older age, was the (perceived) onus left on my teenaged sisters still at home. It was my mom who made the decision to have the children, but my sisters were somewhat expected to arrange their schedules so they could care for the younger ones. Then again, its not just an age thing with my mom, she did the same thing to me when my sisters were younger. While some would argue if they are living in my mom's home and eating her food, they should pitch in ... I don't necessarily buy it.

I was relieved when my sisters graduated from college/got married/moved to different states, so they wouldn't feel pressured to do it anymore. The irony is, now I'm thinking about moving back "home" to help out (and hopefully be helped out in return.)

Even though this is the experience in my family, I'm not saying all older mothers would push off responsibilites. I wouldn't mind taking care of my younger siblings if something were to happen to my mom, but oh boy would it be an eye opener for them (no ice cream for dinner, no TV during the week, cleaning up after themselves.)

Posted by: LGB | November 15, 2006 2:26 PM

What are the consequences for the many, many Catholics who use artifical means to reproduce?

Are they willing to risk the consequences in order to bear children?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:33 PM

to 02:33:
"What are the consequences for the many, many Catholics who use artifical means to reproduce? Are they willing to risk the consequences in order to bear children?"

Really, I think we should all be used to the idea by now that not every Catholic follows all the teachings of the church. It's not a particularly interesting or revolutionary point to make. Plenty of Catholics use contraception, too.

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 2:36 PM

pittypat, I'm not sure it is possible to answer any question in terms of ethics without the reasoning in some way having been derived from one's faith or religious belief. that's why there is a vast source of religious humor out there that pits faith against logic and provides for endless debate.

Posted by: Father of 4 | November 15, 2006 2:36 PM

To 2:33: Ok, I will try to address this and anyone is free to correct me. The RC church does not forbid all fertility treatments. Only certain procedures. Like Lou said you can take ovulating drugs; like cholmid. They do not approve of the drugs that make a women super ovulate (ovulate many eggs at once). This may lead to higher order births. That situation is dangerous to the mother and the unborm fetuses. Causing many problems including premature birth and other developmental issues. The RC church is against procedures like invitro fertilization, interuterine insemination and other procedures. The reason being that it interferes with God's natural choice for you to bear children, the harvesting of sperm comes from artificial means (including masturbation-sorry for the bad words), and issues regarding selective reduction and not implanting each embryo. Catholics who choose to engage in these procedures do what they feel is right. They make their own choices. I don't think most Catholics would say what would happen to them because frankly we don't know what will happen to them. But we continue to pray for people to act their own conscience. That is the best answer I can give you. Also, the overwhelming reason is a lot of Catholics and Non Catholics only choose to believe a portion of what their religion tells them. Maybe they just don't agree with that part of the Catholic message. Most of my friends, who are Catholic, would not bat an eyelash over using artifical means of reproduction.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 2:40 PM

Thierry:

"If I get a vasectomi, I will not be abel to make love like I always do."

Word on the street is that you're not that great in the sack now, so there's no need to worry about the ill effects of a vasectomy.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:42 PM

Right, foamgnome, I should have said what you said: "Also, the overwhelming reason is a lot of Catholics and Non Catholics only choose to believe a portion of what their religion tells them." It's not just Catholics - all sorts of people make their own decisions about what to believe and what not to believe.

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 2:44 PM

"Lou, you are treading on dangerous ground. On this blog, any mention of the word "Republican", "conservative" or "religion" will instantly put you in the doghouse. you won't get a fair shake, none of your arguments will be given fair consideration."

Bob --

You're wrong about this. It's only when these subjects are mentioned in a rude, condescending, arrogant, mean-spirited, or self-righteous way that the posters get jumped on.

Rather like your posts today.

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 2:49 PM

I know offhand of 5 couples that tried and tried to conceive for 5, 10 years before going the adoption route. then after rearing their adopted child for a year or so, BAM! Mommy is pregnant! What's up with that?

Posted by: Father of 4 | November 15, 2006 2:51 PM

"If I get a vasectomi, I will not be abel to make love like I always do."

Thierry --

About this, you are wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:52 PM

To Fo4: Unless a women has a total hysterectomy or a man gets rid of all his male parts, there is always a chance of pregnancy. Adoption does not impede or increase your chance of getting pregnant.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 2:53 PM

Is vasectomi the plural of vasectomy?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:55 PM

I'm surprised all of the feminazis didn't take offense right off the bat to the title of this blog. Don't you prefer to be called women, and not ladies?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 2:57 PM

Isn't there a way to block comments that use the term "feminazis"?

Posted by: female | November 15, 2006 3:00 PM

No, because it was a quote in the story.

Posted by: 2:57 | November 15, 2006 3:00 PM

2:57-

No, because it was a quote in the story.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 3:00 PM

2:57-

No, because it was a quote in the story.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 3:00 PM

Also (can't believe I'm wasting time explaining this), I read it to a reference to "Gentlemen, start your engines!" - the obvious female equivalent is "Ladies."

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 3:04 PM

I think it must have been a quote in the story.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:04 PM

Was it a quote in the story?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:05 PM

Pittypat, you are right. It is very hypocritical to oppose stem cell research but to support IVF. For the same reasons that I oppose stem cell resesarch, I also oppose IVF. Both generally destory fertilized eggs. In my mind, the argument works like this: We know that a sperm is not a person. We know that an egg is not a person. We do not know when a person becomes a person - but we know it happens sometimes after the two come together. For this reason, I am completely against purposefully destroying any fertilized eggs.

Because I do feel so sad for friends/family who cannot conceive, I choose not to share my views on IVF unless it is asked for.

Using the same reasoning, I also oppose the birth control pill. While the pill mainly functions by suppressing ovulation (which I do not object to), it also works by thinning the lining of the uterus - thus making the uterus a less hospitable environment for a fertilized egg.

I will always suspect that a very, very early miscarraige that I suffered was because I had just come off the pill and my uterus had not yet "recovered".

Posted by: IVF vs. stem cells (+ "the pill") | November 15, 2006 3:05 PM

OH!!! IT WAS A QUOTE IN THE STORY!!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:05 PM

CMAC:If all the embryos are not implanted in IVF, aren't you creating life and thus destroying them. Because you threw them away?

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 01:37 PM

That's why I used the example of the natural process of embryos dying vs being destroyed during IVF. It happens in the natural creation process so for it to happen during IVF is a matter of natural destruction vs artificial.

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 3:05 PM

Sorry, I pressed submit a few times ;)

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 3:06 PM

To Father of 4: The phenomenon of conceiving a child after adopting is generally attributed to reduced stress about the act of conceiving. Diagnosable medical issues aside, the stress of trying to get pregnant actually impedes a lot of couples. Kind of like you find a life partner when you are least looking...

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | November 15, 2006 3:06 PM

Because I do feel so sad for friends/family who cannot conceive, I choose not to share my views on IVF unless it is asked for.

I feel the same way. No one wants to hear your opinion if it is just going to hurt them. On a blog like this, I feel like people want to hear others opinions. Also, I hope people know we are not intentionally trying to hurt anyway. CMAC, I get it now. I must of misread your original post.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 3:09 PM

fo4://BAM! Mommy is pregnant! What's up with that?//

must be different father.

Posted by: 310 | November 15, 2006 3:09 PM

The thing about "having it all" is that you never can. If you want to have kids ever, you have to give something up. If you have kids in your 20s, you choose to either devote more time and effort to your nascent career, or more time and effort to your kids. Maybe this way you don't have as much money, but maybe when the kids are gone you are still young enough to still enjoy that dream trip museum-hopping around Europe. Here, you of course gamble that you and your spouse will both survive to retirement for that delayed gratification. Or, you can decide to postpone childrearing and go for the gusto while young, and secure your financial and career security. You can afford better health care, private school, a house in a safer neighborhood, and in general can provide your kids with some wonderful advantages and opportunities. And like above, you make a gamble: IVF carries significant risk of multiple birth, therefore premature birth, therefore long-term health consequences in your kids. Freezing your eggs may stave off risk of chromosomal abnormality coming from YOU, but male senescence also leads to higher risk of problems such as autism and Down syndrome. And, like above, you have to give something up here too: the next generation. My dad's parents were 40 when he was born, and I never really got to know them because they died when I was a child. My mom's parents have, I'll grant you, beaten the odds: they are both now in their 80s (I'm 29). But it's been an entirely different relationship, extremely fulfilling for all involved. My grandmother made my wedding dress, for instance, and in the spring she and my grandfather will be coming from England to meet their great-grandchildren. I realize that I'm lucky on so many counts, and incidentally, we DID postpone childrearing for our careers: my husband is finishing a medical residency and I'm finishing a PhD. But despite knowing how much easier my career would be without kids, having experienced a wonderful relationship with my own grandparents I would never trade my life for one where I have no chance of experiencing that same relationship as a grandparent myself.

Long-winded, I know. But my point is really that if you want to define postponing childrearing as selfish, you have to define my choices as selfish, too. After all, my husband and I wanted a baby now, so we're gratifying ourselves by having one now.

Posted by: sarah | November 15, 2006 3:12 PM

I think the root of this problem is still the cultural pressure that just because someone CAN pro-create means that they SHOULD pro-create.

I think if we ACTUALLY made pro-creation as serious and special a choice as we all CLAIM it is, then how/when people chose to pro-create would not be much of an issue at all.

But then I tend to think that maybe one in a thousand people actually have the temperament and calling to be a GOOD parent. The rest just make babies and muddle along as best they can.

There's also something to be said about a culture that believes that those who HAVE a baby should be the ones to RAISE a baby. Physically we might be in prime condition to grow a healthy baby and give birth, but I think for the process of raising the child, it usually takes someone who knows what's going on and KNOWs who they are. Usually the people having the babies are the ones who still haven't really figured out who THEY even are yet.

Posted by: Liz D | November 15, 2006 3:13 PM

IVF --

Thanks you for your comments.

I don't agree with your specific beliefs, but it's a relief to find someone whose belief system is coherent and consistent.

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 3:17 PM

Some of these responses are so frustrating. I'm 36. I haven't put off marriage/kids because I've been "career-building"; I simply haven't met anyone yet with whom I've thought I wanted to spend my life/have children. Saying "Gosh, I'm twenty-five and happily married and at the ideal age to have kids and you *really* shouldn't have waited so long, dear!" is condescending, and unless you're speaking to someone your age or younger, absolutely useless advice to give to anyone in their thirties or forties.

I'm like most people - I'd like to meet someone, fall in love, and have kids someday. I'm healthy, relatively attractive, financially stable, and I think I have a better sense of self than I did ten years ago.

It seems like it's my business and no one else's if I want to have kids at 38 or 44.

Posted by: VA Annoyed | November 15, 2006 3:19 PM

to VA Annoyed-

We were discussing benefits for the child as well, not just the parents.

Posted by: Van | November 15, 2006 3:21 PM

"I know offhand of 5 couples that tried and tried to conceive for 5, 10 years before going the adoption route. then after rearing their adopted child for a year or so, BAM! Mommy is pregnant! What's up with that?"

Fatherof4, in these cases, it's usually due to the cable guy.

Posted by: Bob | November 15, 2006 3:22 PM

Some women above the age of 35 have fertility issues, more women above the age of 40 do. That said, many women conceive naturally at both these ages. Also, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of these women have healthy babies.

I had a perfectly healthy baby at 40 with a perfectly healthy pregnancy, I am trying for a second at 42 and and am hopeful I will be succesful. Why should a similarly aged woman who has fertility issues be denied options for being a parent? The hardest part is after the baby is born and we will be similarly situated there.

My understanding on egg decline is that it is more an issue of how close you are to menapause than how old you are, so the daughters of women who hit menapause early should be concerned earlier as they age than the daughters of women who have late menapause. (My souce is a book entitled Coming to Term, about miscarriage and infertility.)

Also, I read recently about research that indicates that, in the future, something as simple (when compared to options such as freezing eggs) as a blood transfusion could be a treatment for ifertility caused by aging eggs.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/07/28/finding_could_mean_extended_fertility/

would infertility treated in non-invasive manner such as this raise the same ethical concerns for everyone?

To OMG - good and bad parents come in all ages, income levels, cultures, genders, etc. If you are a good parent now, I suspect you will/would be an even better one years from now.

Posted by: older mom | November 15, 2006 3:22 PM

Hope tomorrow's topic doesn't prompt religious posts!

When people pick and choose from their religious beliefs cafeteria style, take me off of your recruitment list.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:23 PM

"I'm healthy, relatively attractive, financially stable, and I think I have a better sense of self than I did ten years ago. "

What does being attractive have to do with it?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:25 PM

Liz D said: "There's also something to be said about a culture that believes that those who HAVE a baby should be the ones to RAISE a baby."

This isn't some kind of wacked-out cultural belief. It's fairly basic biology. Animals have babies...and raise their own babies. Would you prefer some kind of culture where people gave birth, then we lined the babies up and handed them out to to the "better" parents? I agree with you that there are a lot of bad, bad parents, but I don't understand what you're getting at.

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 3:27 PM

Liz D, you want a perfect world. You want govt to administer parent tests and permits too? Sometimes people will rise up to the challenge. Research what kind of mother Beethoven had. Talk to many wonderful people who were raised by poor parents. You'd be surprised. We can't engineer society that way.

Posted by: Bob | November 15, 2006 3:33 PM

sorry bad spelling. i mean i usually make love in a "special" way and after vasectomy it is not possible. it is private details, ok?

Posted by: Thierry | November 15, 2006 3:36 PM

A recent article from New Scientist magazine was titled, "Sex is for fun, IVF for babies."

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/mg19225741.300-reproduction-revolution-sex-for-fun-ivf-for-children.html

"It's a scenario that is difficult to imagine from today's viewpoint. Yet could we be moving towards an age in which entering nature's genetic lottery is no longer seen as a desirable way to bring a child into the world? Might natural conception even come to be thought of as irresponsible, as bad as smoking while pregnant?

Reproducing the traditional way is undoubtedly flawed. Worldwide around 1 child in 16 is born with a mental or physical disability due to a genetic defect, and most of us probably carry gene variants that predispose us to serious illnesses later in life. How much safer it would be to go along to the fertility clinic, have some embryos created and pick the one or two that will produce the healthiest baby.

IVF has become commonplace, and top clinics boast pregnancy rates of more than 30 per cent for each cycle - better than the 1 in 4 chance of conceiving the natural way and likely to improve further. Until recently, though, IVF was only for those with fertility problems. The rapid development of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is starting to change this. Increasing numbers of fertile couples with a family history of a serious disease such as cystic fibrosis are opting for IVF with PGD so they can be sure any child will not inherit it. Others are resorting to IVF-PGD so they can choose their child's most basic characteristic: sex. Women who freeze their eggs to ensure they can have children later in life (see Methuselah moms) may soon swell the ranks even further. Could IVF-PGD one day become the preferred method of conception?"

Posted by: dcmichelle | November 15, 2006 3:38 PM

To VA Annoyed

I could not agree with you more. I think you expressed the major reason for starting famlies later. I did not meet my husband until I was 35, and I have many friends who are in similar circumstances. This is not about consciously putting off having children until your 40s or later for career advancement for most people. A good life partner is hard to find, and single parenthood is a hard choice to make, it is not for a lot of people.

Posted by: Older Mom | November 15, 2006 3:38 PM

"it is private details, ok?"

Ok, then don't mention it on the blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:39 PM

Hope tomorrow's topic doesn't prompt religious posts!
***********************

Honestly, that would be like me saying, hope tomorrow's post doesn't prompt liberal posts! Get a life!

Posted by: Lou | November 15, 2006 3:41 PM

VA Annoyed, Older Mom

I think people are responding more to Leslie's concept of waiting until you leave your career "in a blaze of glory" and then give birth via IVF and your frozen eggs then they are women who have children later in life because they don't meet the right man.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:42 PM

"sorry bad spelling. i mean i usually make love in a "special" way and after vasectomy it is not possible. it is private details, ok?"

You're not asian by any chance, are you? :)


Posted by: sonny | November 15, 2006 3:43 PM

"sorry bad spelling. i mean i usually make love in a "special" way and after "vasectomy it is not possible. it is private details, ok?"

You're not asian by any chance, are you? :) "

This is by far, the most interesting post of the day.


Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:46 PM

"sorry bad spelling. i mean i usually make love in a "special" way and after vasectomy it is not possible. it is private details, ok?"

Umm, Thierry, is your real name Borat?

What exactly do you think is removed in a vasectomy?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:46 PM

A good life partner is hard to find...

Especially if you are spending all your time at school and/or work to advance your career. My sister is currently doing this. She is working full-time at a school (not likely to meet your life partner among the under 12 set) and going to carrying a full time credit load to complete her undergraduate degree before starting masters program next year. She is also considering further education beyond masters. She has approximately 3 hours per week of free time.

While I am happy that she sees more to life than meeting a man and landing a husband, she is pushing herself at an incredible pace and has NO balance in her life.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:47 PM

Pitty - this may be hard to read (visually) but here are your long awaited answers:

"With embryonic stem cell research you are only destroying."

No, cmac, you're attempting to develop life-saving medical treatments.

Cmac's response's in **

**I knew this would be your retort, although I didn't see it on the forum till now. "Attempting" life saving medical treatment is loose terminology - if this can be accomplished without using human embryos - is that not a prudent choice to make? That is not too obtuse for you, is it? Adult stem cells are yeilding remarkable research but the emphasis is always on embryonic stem cells. Is it politics or science that is driving this? Do you think somone that has Parkinson's cares if it the cure comes from adult vs embryonic stem cells? No - but activists and politicians sure do. Talk about lack of ethics**

"Yes, your are using fertilized eggs that may or may not be "thrown away" but to many that is not justification for, in effect, killing the embryo."

Then what should be done -- ethically speaking -- with the unused embryos? The choices are:

1) Make the parents take all their frozen embryos to term.
2) Throw out the unused embryos.
3) Put the unused embryos to use in research that could benefit human life.
4) Leave the unused embryos frozen forwever.

Which of these actions would you advocate?

**I'm not advocating anything. Those are someone else's embryo's - not mine - so I would never speak for them. The part of my reply "but to many" was my educated guess as to a response from a "hypocrit."**

Also - your snipes at me were not missed.

Posted by: CMAC | November 15, 2006 3:51 PM

"While I am happy that she sees more to life than meeting a man and landing a husband"

No you're not, or you wouldn't be making an issue of it on the Internet.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 3:52 PM

Usually the people having the babies are the ones who still haven't really figured out who THEY even are yet.
------

What in the world does this mean? I had children because I don't know myself? If I had known myself I wouldn't have wanted to be a parent?

Please, explain how you came up with this notion.

Posted by: question for LizD | November 15, 2006 3:54 PM

Yes I am. What I am not happy about is that she is pushing herself so hard. She could be cutting her hours at school and taking longer to meet her educational career goals and have some balance in her personal life as well.

Posted by: to 3:52 | November 15, 2006 3:56 PM

To adoptee: I never got why people worry so much about the genetic history of an adoptive child. My DH is not adopted. But he has no clue about his medical history because his family rarely talked to each other. DD, who is biological, has a genetic disorder that we did not know ran in either family. It was the first time it showed up. So I guess, I don't know why people really put a lot of worry into things like that. You can't guarantee that you will know all the medical risks that you may be predisposed to.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 15, 2006 4:05 PM

"What does being attractive have to do with it?"

I, like a lot of mid-thirties, unmarried women have heard "You're single? What's wrong with you?" one too many times. I only threw out that to stave off the theory that "the something wrong with me" is that I must somehow be physically repulsive (ignore it - clearly, it's my hang-up).

As for benefits to children in having younger parents, I'm in no way saying that those who marry older must somehow always make better choices (the most successful marriage that I know of began before the couple graduated college), but a lot of my friends got hitched right out of graduation, and I'll be shocked if many of their marriages (all with children) don't end before their kids reach middle school age. One in particular has a parent with an inability to hold a full-time job; another takes his misplaced anger that he settled too early out on his wife, in full view of the kids. Yes, maybe these kids will have their parents around longer than if they'd been born to 45 year olds, but I'm betting the child of my just-had-their-firstborn 37/40 year old friends will grow up in a happier, more stable environment.

(Just curious - didn't the Post recently print a study about how those who marry later tend to stay married more than their younger counterparts? I could be making this up).

Posted by: VA Annoyed | November 15, 2006 4:16 PM

(one last comment)

"I think people are responding more to Leslie's concept of waiting until you leave your career "in a blaze of glory" and then give birth via IVF and your frozen eggs then they are women who have children later in life because they don't meet the right man."

Of course, you're right, and I've absolutely gone of topic and will be quiet now - but to clarify, I was responding to the "well, that teaches you for not having children early in life like I did" tone of some responders.

Posted by: VA Annoyed | November 15, 2006 4:19 PM

"I think people are responding more to Leslie's concept of waiting until you leave your career "in a blaze of glory" and then give birth via IVF and your frozen eggs then they are women who have children later in life because they don't meet the right man."

What's the difference? Who are we to judge what's important to anyone else? If you want to focus on your career, there's nothing wrong or selfish with that. It's what's important to YOU, and you're entitled to the pursuit of happiness.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to "have it all" either. It's not selfish. It's pursuing the things that are important to you. Everyone does it. The definition of "all" is different for each person. To some "having it all" means being able to be a SAHP and live on a 2-acre lot in an ex-urb. To another, "having it all" means a career and two kids in a high-rise condo. Equally valid, both of them. Why dump on other people just because their idea of what's important in life doesn't match up with yours? Children can be loved and thrive in all kinds of situations.

Posted by: Stop the meanies! | November 15, 2006 4:30 PM

FYI, Sully doesn't know what he's talking about. Women have far more eggs than they ever ovulate in their lifetime.

Posted by: Ryan | November 15, 2006 4:31 PM

VA Annoyed -- this blog routinely goes off topic ;-) I appreciated you weighing in -- I am a few years younger but in the same boat. DC is a transient place which leads to more unmarried 20-somethings and less "younger" mothers. Climbing the corporate ladder isn't the only reason people put off marriage and family.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | November 15, 2006 4:34 PM

It is selfish to have children at an age when you will almost certainly die before they get out college, if not sooner. It is selfish to have children when they will spend their childhood taking care of you - and by childhood I mean teenaged years. It is selfish to have children who will have a blight on their wedding day because of missing parents, who will cry backstage at their college graduation because of missing parents, who will cry on the birth of the first child because of missing grandparents. IT IS SELFISH.

Posted by: to: Stop the meanies | November 15, 2006 4:38 PM

Will having a lobotomy improve my chances of having another child?

Posted by: Fo3 | November 15, 2006 4:40 PM

The crazy thing here is that we are all so judgmental - some women aren't ready to be mothers at 20 - or 25 or 30. At forty or 45, if they are ready and it is what they want to do for the most of the rest of their lives, that is fine with me. Who am I to tell someone 'no - you can't do that?" - as long as it is the right choice at the right time. I am halfway to 38 and no kids - by choice - not ready - but am terribly afraid of having them as well. It is a leap of faith that I am not ready to make. Maybe we will next year - maybe we will adopt. Maybe nothing. Perhaps older moms are more overprotective because those kids are SO WANTED - maybe they aren't any more so - who can say? Please - everyone's choices are their own. I think that choice is what women have been asking for such a long time. And unless you are in someone else's shoes, you can't tell them they are wrong.

Posted by: WAMC | November 15, 2006 4:45 PM

"It is selfish to have children when they will spend their childhood taking care of you - and by childhood I mean teenaged years."

I spent my teenaged years taking care of my YOUNG alcoholic mother. I survived. I pity her for not being able to get a grip on her disease, but it did not ruin my life.

"It is selfish to have children who will have a blight on theirwedding day because of missing parents, who will cry backstage at their college graduation because of missing parents, who will cry on the birth of the first child because of missing grandparents."

I had a blight on my wedding day because my YOUNG mother is a trainwreck and did her best to cause a scene. I didn't want her at my graduation for the same reason, and I'm not to eager to let her around my infant child for the same reason.

Also, my YOUNG father decided to go his own way a long time ago, so his youthfulness was no benefit to me either.

" IT IS SELFISH."

No, you are only seeing things through the lens of your personal experience. Good and bad parents come in all ages. You have no right to judge. None.

Posted by: Stop the meanies | November 15, 2006 4:50 PM

Having a really good day, love the discussion, even loved the Wharton insults!

Posted by: Leslie | November 15, 2006 4:59 PM

"I am halfway to 38 and no kids"

Does that mean you're 19? ;)

Posted by: h3 | November 15, 2006 4:59 PM

My father was 50 when I was born. There are positives and negatives to any situation. My father was patient, kind, knowledgable, and better than any history textbook. We didn't go to amusement parks as much as the library, historical sites, or as much as we just sat and talked about the many experiences he had during his lifetime. I had many friends whose parents passed away before my father (who lived into his 80's). If I am half the parent my father was I would consider myself a great parent!

I had friends who had children while we were in high school. I had many friends who had children before I did, when they were in their 20s. I was in my 30s. You can't judge a book by its cover. There are horrible young parents and great young parents. The same is true about older parents. But, I realize that amongst my colleagues, although I no longer have my father, I have far more appreciation for the older generation and for issues of a century ago.

Posted by: Anon | November 15, 2006 5:07 PM

Whoops - no that means that I am 37 1/2. . .
sorry - just can't say 38 yet. . .

Posted by: WAMC | November 15, 2006 5:14 PM

"VA Annoyed," thank you for making the point I was sure someone would raise earlier. I'm sure it's wonderful, from the perspective of being 22 years old with kids, or 50 years old with grandkids, to tell other people what they should or should not be doing.

I'm 35 years old, childless, and I didn't POSTPONE childrearing for my career -- no one has asked me to marry him. And, I don't want to have children without being married. Therefore, no kids. I didn't ask for life to be this way, I'm not just putting off the kids for my convenience -- it's just how things turned out. You can't make a partner come into your life.

Posted by: Alicia | November 15, 2006 5:27 PM

My dad had me when he was 42. That doesn't seem old by today's standards, but I can say that I spent my childhood worried about my dad, worried that he would not see me graduate from college, that he would not live to see me married, that he would not live to see his grandchildren. He did and I am grateful for that. Nothing in life is guaranteed, though, and that he has outlived the average life expectancy for men in this country is partly luck, partly his own joie de vivre. But the fact is, the older you are when you give birth, the higher the chance you will die when your child is young. Period. And your child will know that. And worry about that constantly in a way she wouldn't about a younger parent. I sure did. So did my sister. And so did my husband, whose father was 46 when he had him. We did not worry this way about our mothers, who were much younger than our fathers. This is just a fact, something older potential parents must come to terms with before they decide to have that baby. Do you really want to risk leaving that child parentless as a teen, or a young person?

Posted by: Chicago mom | November 15, 2006 5:34 PM

Couldn't go through all the comments, but please be advised - women who give birth after 40 are not biological freaks or committing crimes against nature.
I had my first (but not last) child after 40. So did two of my sisters. My mother, grandmother and aunts and at least one great-aunt had children after 40. We're fit and healthy, our kids are fit and healthy. No fertility assistance, by the way. Maybe it's genetic, but having kids in our 40s worked out OK for the women in my family.
There are positives and negatives to having kids when you are younger, and there are positives and negatives to having kids when you are older.

Posted by: anonymous | November 15, 2006 5:36 PM

Anyone who thinks that a vasectomy is the same as being castrated, you need to read up on what it entails first.

Nothing from the male genitalia is removed at all.

The vas deferens is severed so that sperm cannot pass through during ejaculation. The male still produces sperm normally; it is simply reabsorbed into the body.

IMHO, sex is better. Condoms suck, period.

Posted by: RaiseYourOwnKids | November 15, 2006 5:40 PM

The comments on this blog are completely depressing. There's so much backlash against feminism and women's control over their bodies (disguised as "it's Gawd's will!" and "sometimes biology knows best") and class hatred and bitterness that you can't keep up with the Joneses, and above all, NONSTOP viciousness towards every imaginable choice that a parent makes. Here's a thought--the choices another parent makes are no reflection at all on yours. It's not all about you. Love is the starting point--as long as parents love their kids, they have the right tools to be parents.

Posted by: Depressed non-parent | November 15, 2006 5:45 PM

Chicago mom:

There are no guarantees in life - this means that people who have kids when they are young can die young, as well - all kids have the worry that their parents will die - that is the truth.

Depressed non-parent:

I agree with you! 100%! Thank you!

Posted by: WAMC | November 15, 2006 5:50 PM

Bob- BTDT. I understand exactly the predicament that having specific standards or an external screening process would create- I know that if I used my standards for my own parents, I likely would never have been born.

I'm talking more a cultural enlightenment- that having a baby should be like becoming a nun. A very personal calling that only a few are suited to follow this specific path for the rest of their lives. But our culture doesn't value the choice to have children like that at all- as much as it tries to say otherwise.

Question for LizD- it means that most of the people who have babies are in their 20s. Most twentysomethings have only begun to realize who they are yet and barely gotten settled and secure, if at all. They don't have kids in order to know who they are, they simply have kids at the same time they barely have any real idea of who they are.

Posted by: Liz D | November 15, 2006 5:51 PM

We just can't stand our limitations can we. That's why we kill more then we need, cause global warming, destroy the rainforest etc. How long till we just start ordering babies. "Yea, I'll take a heterosexual male, about 6 ft. with blue eyes and a zest for learning please...could you also throw in an easy-going personality. I'll take that to go, please."

Posted by: Tillman | November 15, 2006 6:14 PM

"Adult stem cells are yeilding remarkable research but the emphasis is always on embryonic stem cells. Is it politics or science that is driving this? Do you think somone that has Parkinson's cares if it the cure comes from adult vs embryonic stem cells?"

cmac --

You asked the question; I'm happy to educate. Here, from the Stem Cell Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the explanation for why embryonic stem cells are so critical to research. It's lengthy (3 paragraphs) but complete, and I'm certain it's not too obtuse for you:

"Why not derive stem cells from adults?
There are several approaches now in human clinical trials that utilize mature stem cells (such as blood-forming cells, neuron-forming cells and cartilage-forming cells). However, because adult cells are already specialized, their potential to regenerate damaged tissue is very limited: skin cells will only become skin and cartilage cells will only become cartilage. Adults do not have stem cells in many vital organs, so when those tissues are damaged, scar tissue develops. Only embryonic stem cells, which have the capacity to become any kind of human tissue, have the potential to repair vital organs.

"Another limitation of adult stem cells is their inability to proliferate in culture. Unlike embryonic stem cells, which have a capacity to reproduce indefinitely in the laboratory, adult stem cells are difficult to grow in the lab and their potential to reproduce diminishes with age. Therefore, obtaining clinically significant amounts of adult stem cells may prove to be difficult.

"Studies of adult stem cells are important and will provide valuable insights into the use of stem cell in transplantation procedures. However, only through exploration of all types of stem cell research will scientists find the most efficient and effective ways to treat diseases."

Finally, cmac, I don't think I did any sniping at you. At least I hope I didn't.

Posted by: pittypat | November 15, 2006 6:42 PM

As far as the "kids of older parents won't know their grandparents, etc. etc." ... both of my father's parents died when my father was a teenager ... more than 20 years before I was born. And no, I don't think I grew up TOO demented because of it.

As far as the question, should my Dad have had me when he was 42 when his parents died at 42, well, all I can say is that the infectious diseases that killed his parents back then were much more controllable by antibiotics 20 years later when I was born. Who knows what other medical advances may happen in the next 20 years?

Posted by: child of older parents | November 15, 2006 6:43 PM

Just curious -- If young women freeze eggs (to preserve young eggs), shouldn't young men freeze sperm (to preserve young sperm)? What happens if you combine young (previously frozen) eggs with old sperm?

Sounds like a bad recipe to me.

Maybe we should just freeze embryos and use them at a later date, TBD.

Posted by: young vs old eggs | November 15, 2006 6:51 PM

Pitty - just doing a quick google on Adult Stem cells and I seem to get a more mixed message than you:

http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04J01- Family Research Council - general article

http://www.cbhd.org/resources/stemcells/mcconchie_2004-06-16.htm

http://www.buffalo.edu/news/fast-execute.cgi/article-page.html?article=79920009
adult stems cells for heart damage

http://www.griffith.edu.au/er/development/content_icmt_adultstem.html
specifically adult vs embryonic

There was actually too much to weed through. Interestingly a couple articles I scanned - when making the comparison between adult vs embryonic - come to similar conclusions - that there are no conclusions.

As for sniping, I can read between the lines.

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 7:13 PM

Liz D wrote

Most twentysomethings have only begun to realize who they are yet and barely gotten settled and secure, if at all. They don't have kids in order to know who they are, they simply have kids at the same time they barely have any real idea of who they are.


Condescending much?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 7:23 PM

Pitty - I just tried to post a reply to you twice - one was a very long post wth articles that disputed your 3 paragraphs. I am pretty frustrated right now - perhaps I am being sabatoged??

Seems that there is a mixed opinion among not only scientists, but doctors (and celebrities! Thank goodness) as to whether embryonic is all what the Univ of WI - MAdison claims it is cracked up to be.

Posted by: cmac | November 15, 2006 7:30 PM

my lifelong best friend had her child at 17 and I had my first at 31. She envied my wisdom and stability and I envied her youth. Different strokes for different folks.

Now that we are both 50, she is enjoying early retirement, grandchildren and traveling. I am still dealing with teenager issues, shuttling to soccer games, homework reminders, etc. I have more patience with my children, but I still worry about college, retirement, health as we age, etc. The soccer games are fun to watch, but my knees sure do ache in the cold. I still work full-time, and I would say that I am honestly more tired now than when I was dealing with infants.

I personnally would not recommend starting a family in your 40's. I was 35 and hubby 46 when our second was born. My husband has been mistaken for "grandpa" - He is now 61 and she is 14. The babies are the easy part. Dealing with teenagers at an older age is much much harder.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2006 7:38 PM

I have known quite a few older, IVF parents, and I kind of wonder if the personality traits that lead a couple to have a baby no matter what it takes, despite being 40+,... are not characteristics that lead to great parenting. IVF is not a practical decision, and putting tons of money into having your own biological child when there are so many worthy causes out there is pretty self-centered. In my not so humble opinion, parenting is best done by practical, considerate people. I'm sure there are some great IVF parents, but as a general rule, I'm not sure IVF is good for society.

I briefly considered being an egg donor-- I believe my fee would have been around $3k, but I could have done it a few times. I decided against it because I don't believe that my moral responsibility to a child I help create can be absolved by signing a contract.

Posted by: Anon_for_this | November 15, 2006 9:54 PM

What a hair-brained idea Leslie. How is it fair to a 20 year old kid to have to be planning their parent's funeral or nursing home care? This is selfish beyond belief.

Posted by: Egad | November 16, 2006 12:03 AM

One downside is that you may die when your kids are only 20 and you will never see your grandchildren.

Posted by: Dave | November 16, 2006 8:35 AM

I don't think this is a good idea. It means that there is a large age differential between parents and children. This can't be fun for either of them. Raising children requires a particular sort of energy, which I think one loses as the years go by. Wouldn't it be far better if we just told the rest of the world to be a but less demanding in working hours etcetera? If we expect our children to pick up the bills for our retirement, our public finances, the mess we have made of the environment and what have you, wouldn't it be fair if we at least tried to be normal parents for them?

Posted by: Martin, the Netherlands | November 16, 2006 9:05 AM

I don't think this is a good idea. It means that there is a large age differential between parents and children. This can't be fun for either of them. Raising children requires a particular sort of energy, which I think one loses as the years go by. Wouldn't it be far better if we just told the rest of the world to be a but less demanding in working hours etcetera? If we expect our children to pick up the bills for our retirement, our public finances, the mess we have made of the environment and what have you, wouldn't it be fair if we at least tried to be normal parents for them?

Posted by: Martin, the Netherlands | November 16, 2006 9:07 AM

"IVF is not a practical decision, and putting tons of money into having your own biological child when there are so many worthy causes out there is pretty self-centered...In my not so humble opinion, parenting is best done by practical, considerate people. I'm sure there are some great IVF parents, but as a general rule, I'm not sure IVF is good for society."

Wow. Today's topic isn't about infertility, but this is about the most unsympathetic post to people who don't have the good fortune to be able to conceive easily or early, in this case. Infertility is incredibly painful. May you never have to deal with it (as I did. We didn't do IVF but we never thought we would be in a position to consider it either.)

Adoption is a absolutely a wonderful thing and we have not ruled it out but you should be aware, someone experiencing infertility hears that ALL the time. If it's so wonderful, why should only infertile people adopt? Maybe YOU should, too.

Posted by: VaMom | November 16, 2006 9:58 AM

To VAmom: I think this conversation went in the direction of infertility because freezing your eggs to use at a future time, implies a condition of infertility at a future time. If there was no possibility of infertility at a later point, there would be no reason to freeze eggs. Am I making sense?
I guess on the other note, what would the infertile couple say to couples who have choosen to adopt? If your canned response is why don't you adopt, then how do you respond to people that have for what ever reason they choose to adopt? I guess I can sympathize with any human beings pain. I definitely recognize there is a sense of loss while a couple is experiencing infertility. In a darker comparison, a couple who gives birth to a special needs child also faces a loss. It is a loss of the dream of "normal" child. But society does not go into long term empathy for couples with a special needs child who ONLY focus on the problems. We offer them assistance and have compassion for their situation. I think the lack of "sympathy" that infertile couples seem to think they get is because infertile couples keep STRESSING that they somehow are locked out of or prevented from PARENTING. That simply is not so. They are prevented from parenting a biological child. It is generally their choice to adopt. I do recognize some families may not be able to adopt due to finances, marital status, convictions or whatever. But I would gather that the majority of infertile couples are able to adopt but CHOOSE not to. That is their legal and moral choice. But how much sympathy do you really expect to get for making a choice NOT to parent and then say I am the victim. Yes, there is a definite loss of parenting a biological child, a loss of having the family as they wished to have it. But it is the same as someone who may have wanted more children, or a certain gender of children. They may have dreamed of having a boy and a girl. And ended up with all boys or all girls or only one child. Do you really expect people to feel sorry for that. I do recognize that is a fairly simplistic analogy. I wish that all infertile couples could have the family they dreamed of having. Heck, I wish all people could have the families they dreamed of having. But life is not like that. Adoption is a beautiful way to make a family. It is also a deeply personal CHOICE. I totally recongize it is a choice. But that is what I would say to infertile couples, if they asked, is you have a CHOICE. You have the choice to adopt, you have choice to become child free, you have the choice to foster, you have the choice to allow children to be a part of your life in other ways, or you have the choice to remain childless, miserable, but you do not have the choice to demand sympathy.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 16, 2006 10:38 AM

Oh the last post was from me. I did not mean for it to anonymous. Sorry for that. Again, I want to express my sympathy for infertile couples. I think most people do sympathize and I hope they can find a solution to their pain.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 16, 2006 10:41 AM

I agree with some of what you are saying (and as soon as I read my first line, realized that it didn't make sense...blame it on sleep deprivation!).

I am *very* supportive of those who choose to adopt. I have a friend who went through treatments prior to us that is now waiting for her child...and I am thrilled for them. We might pursue adoption if we want another child (an older child in the US most likely). We might pursue adoption after trying more fertility treatments. My problem with adoption is absolutely NOT with the practice (it is wonderful)- it is with people who thoughtlessly advise *others* that they should do it.

I appreciate that you have sympathy for couples struggling to conceive. Thank you for that. In my experience, I honestly believe that most people do not have that sympathy. Many of my closest friends still pulled the old "why don't you adopt?" right after learning of our troubles. It is very hard to begin to comprehend for them.

I also have to say that I find it quite insulting to compare not having a baby of a desired sex to not being able to conceive at all. Those dreams are something else entirely.

But I digress- and I think I entered this conversation way too late anyway! Let me chalk it up to this...After you experience infertility, even if you become a biological parent as I did, it stays with you forever.

Posted by: VaMom | November 16, 2006 11:09 AM

To 7:23 pm:

Sometimes, but in this case I think it's just the truth.

For the record, I'm 26.

Posted by: Liz D | November 16, 2006 11:13 AM

I think this is a bit selfish. Having kids when you're older than 50 makes it likely that they will be stuck taking care of you while they have their own small children, or even worse, you'll die on them and leave them without you to raise them. Having had my first child at 28 and my third one at almost 40 --- I can tell you there's a reason that Mother Nature, God, or whomever decided that biologically, older people shouldn't be bearing children. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to raise children, and with each decade of life, it gets harder to muster that energy, at least for most people. I would say, don't do this if it's just to fulfull your needs, but think of the child first.

Posted by: a mom | November 16, 2006 11:18 AM

To VAmom: Not having a child of the desired sex is viewed quite differently in different cultures. I guess I should have prefaced that. In Asian cultures, not having a boy is viewed as painful as infertility. In the western world, that is hard to comprehend. Maybe even viewed as archaic, sexist or stupid. But it is true, these families face incredible pain.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 16, 2006 11:19 AM

This is such bad advice. In the first place, the odds of success in these sorts of procedures is really low. You're better off getting fresh eggs from a donor. Even then, it's a low percentage, especially as you get older.

As an older mother, my advice is "have kids while you're still young". You'll have more energy and laughter to give. A friend of my daughter's said to me "I'm glad my mom is still fun". I'm not sure how she meant that but I have to work at being fun mom. Truth is I was much more fun for my first child. I'll also be a more fun grandmother to his kids, when he has them.

I once heard Cokie Roberts say to have kids while you're young. They're going to get in the way of your career no matter what. You might as well get it over with and then get back into the game. I wish I'd heard/listened to that when I was young.

Posted by: been there - done that | November 16, 2006 1:19 PM

There are more ways to balance or integrate work/family/hobbies than just these black and white scenarios.

The advice to "freeze your eggs" implies that these young women have only the option of late motherhood if at all if they want to achieve a high level of career success. Not true - I and other highly successful women had children in our 20s, stayed home or worked part time (while continuing our educations and staying connected to the work world) and then when our kids were older, jumped back into the career world. Nor was this a woman only option, my husband and I each worked PT and shared child care - we only had a 1.5 FTE income, but we were fine with that trade off. Soon after I began working fulltime, I took a position that is higher level than many who worked FT for the 16 years I didn't will ever achieve.

At one point, my atty, accountant, pediatrician and OBGYN were all working PT in order to have more balance - personally I'd rather get a C-section from someone who was working 30 hours a week and well rested than another doc in the practice who was working 60 hrs/wk+ and then going home to small children.

I now give my staff very flexible schedules because I value their contributions and want them to stay with our organization.

There are many, many permutations - especially for the well educated - which is the audience in question.

Posted by: rockville | November 16, 2006 3:30 PM

As another older mom, my advice is this: Try to have your children when it's right for you.
For some, that means in your early 20s. For others (like me), that might mean much later.
There have been accusations that older parents are selfish, that younger parents are stupid, and so forth and so on. But nobody has any business making these judgments about other people's family decisions.
As I said earlier, I had my kids after 40. My grandmother had one of her kids after she was 40. My mother had two kids after she turned 40. Two of my sisters also had kids (a total of five kids) after they were 40. It has worked out for the women in my family. Maybe it wouldn't work out for others.

Posted by: anonymous | November 16, 2006 3:32 PM

I too hate the overbearing, pro-career, anti-SAHM attitude. Which is why I normally don't read this blog. An idea that frequently comes up here is how raising kids is so awful, and SAHMs are unfulfilled and bored with their lives, blah blah blah. But give your kids to someone else to raise for 12 hours a day, go to work for The Man, and voila! Instant happiness.

Let's just assume that's the case. So what's the 65 year old new mother supposed to do? Her career is over, she's "stuck" at home with an infant, and there's no way she'll ever be able to reenter the workforce. It's wrong, but very few employers would be interested in hiring a 70-year old woman who, in addition to any health problems she might have, is going to need additional time off work to care for her kids.

If staying at home with your kids = a desperately unfulfilled existence, then who in their right mind would want to delay childbearing till after the point where a career is impossible???

Posted by: professional mom | November 17, 2006 4:47 PM

I am a 21 yr old female, one month ago I found out that I have (aml) leukemia. My doctor told me that the treatment I will be going through will leave me Infertile. The opportunity to freeze my unfertilized eggs is a blessing to me. I can't go a day without watching the news and seeing another child either abandoned beaten or killed by one of their parents. If you are actually putting thought in to your family and want to make sure you are prepared to bring a child in to this world. I say more power to you.

Posted by: thinkbeforeutype | November 22, 2006 2:28 PM

Are we sure we wanna see 15 year olds taking care of their 70 year old parents? I don't think so. This is a very self-centered decision, and having kids is not about self-centederedness.

Posted by: skeptic | November 24, 2006 7:54 AM

I had my daughter when I was 32 and then suffered secondary infertility. I was desperate to have a second child and after years of infertility treatments my husband and I adopted our son when I was almost 40 and he was 42. I'm a few months shy of 50 and in great health, as is my husband. But, I do worry sometimes about how long we will be healthy and mentally energetic for our son, who is now 10. Having a teenager, even a relatively good kid, is far, far more exhausting than an infant, much more draining than I would have ever imagined.
Then there is the issue of will you live long enough to see your child into adulthood -- I have friends in their 50s who've come down with debilitating diseases and my daughter knows five girls in their teens who have lost their moms to breast cancer!
From my perspective, mid40s is pretty much the tops for having an infant. Otherwise, it's just not fair to the child.
When we went through adoption, some agencies used the formula that to adopt an infant, the COMBINED ages of the parents couldn't be over 100. That made sense to me.
Those in their 50s should consider adopting an older child--there are certainly many who could use a good home.

Posted by: almost50mom | November 29, 2006 8:54 AM

It's sure an interesting concept. As someone who married at 40 and became a mother at 45, I can talk for hours about the good and bad of coming to parenthood at a "mature" age. Except for the fact that my kid will be starting college when I'm 62, it's been all good so far. But, she's still young, and I'll have to let you know how I feel about it when she's 14 instead of 4. However, I'm not sure why it's so important to give birth in order to become a parent. We adopted and did so by choice. It's an option that's always been out there. Medically, it's risk-free, and it's probably less expensive than a long course of assisted fertility treatments. IMHO, it's the way to go.

Posted by: Edie | November 29, 2006 4:21 PM

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