Paying to conceive

This morning, on the way home after driving Lokes to work, a radio ad on IVF treatments was on, starting with a woman talking about how when we were young, we tried everything to avoid getting pregnant, and when we are ready, we try everything we can to conceive.

She then said something about IVF treatments and how she was now happily a mom of a six-month old.

I’ve never been a fan of expensive fertility treatments. Lokes and I agreed a long time ago that if we were unable to have children, the furthest we would go is oral medication. If that didn’t work, we would just leave it to nature since we did not have the money for it anyway.

Of course, that’s all moot now since we have two beautiful girls. So yes, we count ourselves extremely fortunate. Which, of course, makes me the least deserving person to talk about people who aren’t as lucky.

But I must. Because this IS for OUR own good.

I remember once discussing the necessity of expensive fertility treatments with a friend of mine (also a parent), and she, being more understanding than me, said that at least people now have a choice. And the freedom to choose.

My answer?

Yes, but people should make better choices. They make crappy decisions all the time, and that should stop. Like paying half a mil to have a baby they will eventually stick to their parents to care for, or a maid.

Fact: The world is now officially overpopulated. So unless you’re are under some government mandate to make like rabbits because your country’s population is dwindling (which is still a little ridiculous), or thinking of colonising Mars, please do not indulge in the delusion of thinking you’re doing the world, God, or even worse, your freakin’ Clan a favour by having kids.

Have you ever thought that perhaps the rise of fertility problems (which may be brought on by a more polluted environment, the food we eat, bad genes) is the universe’s way of telling us to STOP TRYING TOO HARD TO HAVE BABIES?

I know this isn’t really FULLY our decision and that God has a part to play, in that he’s the one putting souls in them babies. However, if I spent years and the family fortune trying to have one, I would get His drift and think before bruteforcing my way through.

And if you’re religious, ponder this: If God forbids abortion, what would he think of you insisting on forcing His hand on the whole baby issue? I haven’t read the bible in a while but I’m sure if cloning is iffy, then manipulating your hormones and growing babies in test tubes may be on the fence as well. He says be fruitful and multiply. So if you’re NOT fruitful, DON’T multiply!

Fact: Fertility, or rather infertility treatments, are expensive. More than ever, we have now got better options to get pregnant, but what does that really mean? We can go to the moon now but can we all afford to? No!  

Fact: You can get married and NOT have kids. People do it all the time! 50 years ago if you didn’t want a child or couldn’t, you would be subjected to ridicule by old-fashioned mother-in-laws and an oppressive, archaic society (at least that’s how it was where I come from). These days, this choice is more or less, yours. So why do people still think it’s an obligation to propogate the earth?  

Are we just kids ourselves, wanting what we can’t have?

Most of the time, parents who want to have kids don’t even know what they will be in for. We get told how wonderful it is and what a noble job being a mom or dad is and then we get it into our heads that that’s what couples who are in love do and should go towards as a sign of maturity and progress. But you know what? It takes more than that. Way more. And no amount of books or parenting classes or advice will prepare you for what the job entails.

Of course, in Malaysia, we won’t know that, since we have grandparents and maids and daycare centres to do our dirty jobs for us. I still remember what a friend of mine said.

“My mother-in-law wanted the child. Let her take care of him.”

We are fortunate to live in a time where medical science has advanced to a point where we are afforded choices – even if some aren’t really choices since they cost so damn much. But now, more than ever, we need to make better, choices. More selfless, educated choices.

The choice to adopt a kid whose reluctant parent has no means to care for him or her.

The choice to use the money you’ve saved up, to give some other kid a chance.

The choice to enrich your life as a couple in other more meaningful ways.

Like joining the Amazing Race. Or climbing Mt Kinabalu. Or helping to eradicate poverty.

Why aren’t we making THESE choices?

My post will not make a dent in the world of fertility treatments and desperate parents. I will never understand that desire to conceive that’s so strong and intense it can create divorce and heartache.

But when the time comes for my two girls to have kids, I will for damn sure tell them to choose better.

At least, better than I did.

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12 Comments »

  1. shyviv said

    Agreed 100%.

  2. Peng said

    If there’s a choice, I’m sure most mothers wound want to stay at home with their kids and not have to work. Unfortunately, with all the constant rising cost of living, it’s impossible to do so. Who else to leave the kids with other than with parents, maids or sitters? So now, we have a chicken and egg story, which comes first? Who is right? Who has the right to say?

  3. That is not true. There is a vibrant community of stay at home moms in KL even, and MOST of their husbands don’t hold high paying jobs. I can point you the address to the egroup.

    The choice is difficult, but it is a choice nonetheless. You could choose to live in a small town. You could choose to live in a cheaper part of KL. You could choose to bring up your kids with a different type of lifestyle, use the money you’re paying for the maid for something else, like putting it away for their education. You could learn to do something you could do from home. Accounting, writing, folding boxes – anything, to help out while being able to keep an eye on the kids.

    Even if you’re PLANNING to one day stay at home, it’s better than nothing. Kids need their parents more as they grow up, not just for sustenance but for love and support and learning.

    We’re not living in the 1950s anymore where our parents, with little or no education, tell us that they needed to work to put food on the table. That is not something we can tell our kids anymore, particularly when it isn’t true.

    The choice is there. All we have to do is admit it.

  4. Jo said

    well jenn, it’s harder in reality.. esp when u see ur fren’s cute and adorable kids… and i think to myself, wonder what my kid would be like…

    I have come to realise that i MAY not be able to have kids, and every time i think bout it sometimes, my heart do ache.

    Probably i will eventually heed ur advice and adopt a kid, as ultimately, i would like to groom and share my life experiences with the next generation…. but it is HARD, not having ur own kids for someone who just LOVES kids

  5. I know Jo, and my heart truly goes out to you. But you, at least, WANT to learn to let go and leave it to whatever force of nature you believe in. You don’t go against all odds to have kids, like spend 300k on your credit cards, like that woman did in the New York Times article I linked to. I can’t help but think how much money that is, and how much that would mean to a child in Guam, or India or even in Malaysia.

    It is human nature to want kids, that primal instinct most of us have. But there is a limit, a point where you tell yourself enough already, it’s time to stop the madness – without ending your marriage.

    We have to ask WHAT is the right reason to have kids today when we really don’t NEED anymore kids. That question is asked so rarely it’s a damn shame.

    I’m ashamed for not asking it.

  6. noregrets said

    I was married six years when I discovered I had severe endometreosis which depleted my chances of having a baby drastically. my husband andi deciced not to have kids after tha, but I suffered the ridicule of my own mother, telling me that even though Tony agreed, he would still want his own child. sad thing was, se was right. my first marriage ended a year after.

    I’m now remarried and adrew and I live arich life. we are now considering adoption.

    it is the pressure from our own family sometimes, and society, that makes the choice so hard but u are right. te choice is there. I’m much happier now. sometimesx giving up and starting over is not such a bad thing.

    thanks for the lovely entry. looking forward to more.

  7. Noregrets: Thanks for sharing. It’s heartwrenching to read this but glad everything worked out for you.

    Yea i never said it was an easy choice, but it is one nonetheless.

  8. minishorts said

    my very existence is due to fertility treatment technology. but it was so expensive it tore our family expenses apart and now i’m living with my mum who is single again.

    i don’t think she ever regretted her choice though. at least, i’m not about to let my mum regret having me. ^_^

  9. Minishorts – do u think u will ever pay so much money to have a baby?

  10. minishorts said

    i’ll find out when the time comes. ^_^ right now i’m not even sure whether i’m going to get married.

  11. Someone told me that having kids is easy. Raising kids is the difficult part. The temptation to shirk from the challenge is HUGE. Again, choices and decisions.

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    in favor of my know-how. thanks admin

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