Monday, April 11, 2005
A very large number of successful women without children in their 40s regret it. At which time it is to late.
Listen to a successful woman discuss her failure to bear a child, and the grief comes in layers of bitterness and regret. This was supposed to be the easy part, right? Not like getting into Harvard. Not like making partner. The baby was to be Mother Nature's gift. Anyone can do it; high school dropouts stroll through the mall with their babies in a Snugli. What can be so hard, especially for a Mistress of the Universe, with modern medical science devoted to resetting the biological clock? "I remember sitting in the clinic waiting room," recalls a woman who ran the infertility marathon, "and a woman-she was in her mid-40s and had tried everything to get pregnant told me that one of the doctors had glanced at her chart and said, 'What are you doing here? You are wasting your time.' It was so cruel. She was holding out for that one last glimpse of hope. How horrible was it to shoot that hope down?"
The manner was cold, but the message was clear and devastating. "Those women who are at the top of their game could have had it all, children and career, if they wanted it," suggests Pamela Madsen, executive director of the American Infertility Associatio n (A.I.A.). "The problem was, nobody told them the truth about their bodies."
Basically a woman should get pregnant by not much past 25 or the odds of it happening drop fast & the combined odds of it happening without a miscarriage drop faster.
THE GRAPHS ARE HERE
We have a society where people under 25 just don't have the financial resources (ain't paid off the mortgage) so having children is financially very difficult. No wonder we are suffering from a population decline, particularly among the educated. I am not generally in favour of a dependency culture but there is clearly a very good argument for society arranging it for people to be able to have children.
I suspect, though the article doesn't say so, that children born of older parents are not only more likely to miscarry but also to be handicapped. I remember once reading that the haemophilliac mutation that ran through Europe's royal families & played a major part in discrediting Tsardom, can be traced to Queen Victoria's father who fathered her in his forties (then fairly elderly)(Britain's royals were in danger of dying out so he was told to stop enjoying himself, get married & start fathering). This proves that us guys are not immune to this problem too.
And just to make things worse the law has just been changed so that donors for artificial insemination can no longer keep anonymity since the child has a right to know (& at some stage so may the CSA). As a consequence there are fewer donors. As a consequence they are seeking older donors. The child's right to be free of haemophilia is not a consideration.
The Law of Unintended Consequences is that there are always unintended consequences. It is one that all politicians with good intentions would do well to consider for anything they do.