A few years ago I went shopping for a brand new house. Every model home I visited, regardless of the builder, had a gigantic master suite with a spa-like enormous bathroom where every morning you could cartwheel your way to the shower and back flip to the toilet. Down the hall, placed almost like an afterthought, were 3 or 4 tiny little bedrooms whose total square feet might add up to the space provided in the palatial master suite.
After the 5th house or so, I realized this was an indicator that society's values had shifted. Builders were building what the buyer wanted, which was clearly parental desire and comfort at the child's expense. I also knew it wasn't a good sign.
These days it is all about what parents want, not about what is best for the children. There is nowhere where this attitude is more apparent than in the assisted reproduction industry. We all heard of the Octomom, but it goes so much deeper than that. In vitro fertilization, better known as IVF, is not just about infertility anymore, it is about human manufacturing to specifications.
Recently, two stories have been in the news that illustrate my point. Gillian and Paul St. Lawrence, both fertile and in their 30's, have used IVF to create 5 embryos. They have frozen their 5 offspring until it is more convenient for them to raise children. From the Washington Post:
Our five frozen embryos, which we call our baby blastocysts, will remain in storage until we are ready to use them. Since study after study has indicated that the age of the uterus at the time the embryo is implanted is almost irrelevant to the success rate of achieving a healthy baby, we can wait 10 or 15 years: The chief consideration may well be how old I want to be when I'm raising a teenager.
Upon hearing this, my mother-in-law was quick to ask: "You don't have to wait until you are 40 to use the embryos, right?" No, we do not. We can choose to use them any time. And, of course, my husband and I are still free to have babies the old-fashioned way. We still have all the options we had prior to this project -- but now we have some insurance against future infertility.
Five human lives have been created and put in "storage" until they are ready to "use" as the St. Lawrence's "project" to provide themselves "insurance." (Her words not mine.) There was a time we used "gift" and "blessing" when referring to children but in this Brave New World, "project" and "insurance" are more appropriate. IVF is now being used for human manufacturing to specifications. In this case, ordered with delayed delivery.
What is particularly chilling (no pun intended) is Gillian's description of how she weighed the pros and cons of freezing her offspring as if she was deciding whether the lasagna she made the night before would freeze well enough to still taste good in a few months.