Things that make me go...what?
I'm sure by now you've all read the headlines about the woman who gave birth to octuplets. If you have been hiding under a rock (or nursing a sleepless baby round the clock, or just waking up from a coma), go here: Octuplets
Just reading the word "octuplets" makes me tired. Exhausted. And totally terrified.
Only two days ago I mentioned the post-traumatic-stress-like reaction I have when I think about the three years of sleeplessness imposed upon us by Gabriel's infancy and toddlerhood.
So the mere idea of EIGHT babies makes me want to go hide under a bed or something.
There's been a lot of debate about whether or not a woman who already had six children should have been allowed to receive infertility treatments. One particularly astute comment (which I cannot find right now) was something along the lines of "simply wanting to have more children is not enough to qualify a family to adopt or foster a child, should it be enough to qualify for fertility treatments?"
And it's an interesting question, but I don't think it's the most important issue raised by this situation.
(There is, of course, a fundamental difference between IVF and adoption, and the difference is that there is, evidently, no government regulation of IVF whereas there is a whole lot of government regulation of adoption.)
Another fertility specialist commented that it was not up to him to 'police family size'. And it is this point I most want to discuss.
It is not that I expect fertility doctors to 'police family size'. I am the oldest of six children and I love my siblings dearly. Each of them is special to me. I respect the decision to have a large family. (Or to have a small family. Or to make a family without children. I respect all of these choices.)
But what I do expect fertility doctors to do, is, you know, be DOCTORS. I'm not a doctor (well, actually, technically, I am, a doctor, in that I have that J.D. after my name, the D being for "Doctor" - a Juris Doctor, a Doctor of Laws, but this is fun cocktail conversation, nothing more) - where was I? Yes, I'm not a physician, but I seem to recall something about "first do no harm". And it seems to me that implanting eight embryos into a human being is harmful.
The human body cannot support 8 babies, it is not possible to bring them to term. The human body cannot produce enough breastmilk to provide sustenance for 8 babies. We are not cats. We are people. It is not physically possible for a single human being to provide care for 8 babies around the clock. It just isn't. The human body needs a certain amount of sleep in order to continue to function. Eventually, without sleep, the human body shuts down. I imagine one would meet that point very quickly trying to care of 8 premature infants.
(I know a woman who has triplets. They are all teenagers now, but she told me once her husband had a seizure and had to be hospitalized...from the sleep deprivation. And that was TWO people caring for THREE babies. Not eight.)
Heck, even the Duggars, king and queen of the extremely large family, never tackled eight at ONCE.
My point is, it seems to me that it is dangerous, and expensive and risky to allow an octuplet pregnancy to occur. It is not like this is a situation that occurred naturally. (One doctor interviewed for one article I read said that the odds of naturally occurring octuplets was 'practically incalculable'.) Someone had to do something (aside from knock boots), something out of the ordinary, something EXTRAORDINARY, to cause this situation to happen. And I wonder, just because we CAN do something, doesn't mean that we SHOULD. And in fact, I think it means, quite possibly, that we SHOULDN'T.
So why on earth should a doctor allow an 8 baby pregnancy to even occur? If something unethical happened in this case, I think it lies therein - we should not play god this way. We should not implant more than 2 or 3 embryos into a human body, and I cannot imagine how any competent medical provider allowed this to happen.
But, what do YOU think?? I'm curious.