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Home » Health, News

And baby makes 14 – I don’t get it

Submitted by on Friday, 30 January 2009 4 Comments
babiesI understand having one baby and stopping right there.

We almost did just that because of my age - 39 - when Big Guy was born. There were many who questioned our decision, in fact, when we announced as I neared 41 that Boots was on the way. One particularly tactless person asked if it was a decision. "Did you mean to?"

Obviously, I understand having two children, and even three would not have been that far of a mental stretch for me had I not been 10 years older than dirt when I starting having kids. Three definitely would have been a financial stretch, one I'm glad we don't have to make in this economy.

I can even understand having four kids. I know a two-career couple who handles their quartet spectacularly, though they decided to stop there out of concern they wouldn't be able to give as much per child to additional babies. They didn't mean money, either. They were talking primarily about time.

Once you get beyond four, it gets fuzzy for me. Maybe I'm too selfish or lazy, but I simply could not handle the workload, the emotional load, the sheer magnitude of being overwhelmed day-in, day-out. I know some parents do, and my hat's off to them.

And I definitely don't understand seeking fertility treatments that bring eight more into the world when you need a nanny to help care for the six you already have. Nor do I understand why any doctor would consent to help you.

"If she went to a fertility clinic, there's wide consensus from every single ethicist and fertility specialist that this was irresponsible and unethical to implant that many embryos," M. Sara Rosenthal, bioethicist at the University of Kentucky's College of Medicine, told CNN. "This is an outrageous situation that should not happen."

"She" is the 33-year-old anonymous Whittier, Calif., woman who gave birth to eight babies this week in Southern California. No. 8 was a surprise - doctors thought there were only seven until delivery day.

So to avoid exaggerating the situation, let's say she planned to have 13, not 14 children.

I'm setting aside speculation about her marital status aside - ABC News reports that she divorced a year ago though had not lived with her husband in eight years - because I don't have a problem with unmarried parents as long as they're committed to being parents together.

I don't get even 13 children. Not when you're living with your parents in a house a size more suitable for six, max, than for 17. Not with the extreme risks to both mother and children that come with multiple births. Not with the costs of caring for that many children, starting with a birth estimated to be in the $800,000 range.

And I certainly don't get the desire to have "just one more" when you already have a half dozen under age 7. And I don't understand a doctor who would agree to help.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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4 Comments »

  • jackie said:

    I can not believe that a Dr. helped her get preg. in the first place. she alredy has 6 kids not like she was desperate. I to would
    like to know how she is paying for all this and it better not be my tax dollars. so sorry for for ther harshness but we have enouph umemployment and families hurting that this was a choice of the mother and a ignorant operation on the Dr. part. Please lets use are god given since to make the right choice. STUPID!!!!!!

  • Elizabeth said:

    Sorry, the costs for this will far exceed $800,000. I had one son 8 weeks premature (8 years ago) and his 6 week stay in the hospital cost at least $800,000. There is a strong possibility several of these children will have developmental delays, sight problems and/or other issues that will require medical intervention, possibly for life. All I can say is it’s highly irresponsible to become pregnant with that many children when you already have a large family at home. She could have died due to the risks of a pregnancy with high order multiples. I am disgusted by the “doctor” that performed the embryo transfer.

  • Debra said:

    I’m sure you’re right, based on what I know about a niece who was in NICU for a month almost a decade ago. I didn’t calculate the costs myself, but used an estimate from another source. No doubt yours is much closer to accurate.

    And I believe the “doctor” is just as irresponsible. Other countries have limits on how many embryos can be implanted, while we merely have guidelines that some clearly don’t follow. I think it’s time to make the “guidance” a little stronger than a suggestion.

  • Amber said:

    My guess is that the state will be picking up the delivery tab. It would be interesting to see how the cost is handled.