Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Have 8 Kids, Get a Reality Show!

Yesterday's Daily News ran a story by Patrick Huguenin about the woman who just gave birth to octuplets. That's eight babies. Nadya Suleman, 33, from California, is according to the author, a woman with "with an irrational, seemingly pathological, need to conceive." That's putting it mildly--- she already has six children.

It might be medical miracle and God(dess) bless all the little babies, but the ethical implications are staggering. Nadya's mother said that all the babies have the same sperm donor. Uh. I think the proper term here is father. Father and mother now have 14 children.

I thought that families that size went the way of Bakelite telephones, pantyhose, Catholicism, corporal punishment, and frosted hair. Maybe the parents assume they will get a reality television show and make millions--- in other words, ka-ching! These children will start work immediately, skip the innocence, and go straight into the glare of world wide media attention.

I can't imagine how much fun that must be for a three year old! Mark my words, readers--- they will get a reality television show. They will make millions in endorsement deals. The mother has recently filed for bankruptcy, and the father who is listed as a sperm donor, will never have to work again. Excellent.

Why impregnate a woman with eight embryos? Because we can? She had already proven her fertility by giving birth to six other babies. It doesn't make sense. It's disturbing. We are producing children with no clear provenance. What will that do to them down the road? They'll be like the children who are "created" by another's women's egg but brought to term in another's women's womb.

Will we as a society begin to coin new terms to differentiate the children who are conceived naturally and the children who are created in test tubes? Will that create a hierarchy of natural born children versus unnatural born?

People who donate sperm and who donate their eggs are anonymously disseminating their DNA throughout the population. They assume they are anonymous, but they are not. I watched documentary about children who grow up and go looking for their test tube mommies and daddies. They may not be able to find them but they do find their siblings. It won't be long until a young woman who in her 20's made $8,000 for her eggs, hears a knock at the door 18 years later. Believe it.

I read NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro--- about children, people who are cloned. Ultimately they are "harvested" for surgeries. It's got to be one of the most poignant books ever written. I couldn't read it again. It broke my heart. They really believed they were real, human, flesh and blood. They fell in love. They dreamed dreams. They planned for the future. They had likes and dislikes, passions and pathos. Just like us. Except--- not.

The woman in California with eight brand spanking new babies is a signifier of a much larger issue. Have we all forgotten Aldous Huxley's Brave New World? Should everyone read this book again? Do we really have to be reminded of the perils of playing God?

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