Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Rao Devi of Haryana, India, has given birth to a daughter. No big deal, really. Women have babies every day -- except that Rao Devi is 70 years old. She and her 72-year-old husband have been married and childless for 50 years. After 10 years of childlessness, he also married her sister, but no children were born of that marriage, either. This child was conceived in vitro utilizing someone else's egg, naturally. Or unnaturally, as the case may be.
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but this is in my opinion a travesty. 70-year-old women were not meant to bear children. That's the whole purpose of menopause. I can't fathom how any doctor could in good conscience facilitate this. Yes, the parents finally got their wish, but what about the child? More than likely, she'll be orphaned before she reaches adulthood. True, she'll have her life, however it came into being, but isn't a life which almost guarantees she'll lose her parents while still a child doing her a grave disservice?
I find this disturbing. Personally, I believe the doctor's actions were irresponsible, perhaps even immoral. By what criteria did he judge how safely a 70-year-old woman who'd never had a child could carry the baby to term and safely deliver? How could he be sure that the child would suffer no ill effects? Just because you technologically can do something doesn't mean you should -- which is why they don't permit human cloning. I know I'd never consider pregnancy and childbirth at that age. Shoot, I wouldn't consider it at this age. The only diapers I plan to be changing at 70+ are grandchildrens'. Ditto chasing after toddlers. Geriatric pregnancy is unnatural and, in the end, nature does know best.
Then again, maybe I'm just cranky today. Maybe this wouldn't have creeped me out yesterday. And maybe it won't tomorrow. What do you think?