The Purpose of Life Is Lost on Me
Many years ago in an anthropology class, a professor proposed the purpose of life is simply to procreate, pass our genes onto the next generation. Clearly, anyone can argue there is much more to life than procreation. That complicated philosophical debate aside, though, what then is my purpose as an infertile?
Apparently, it is to adopt.
It seems if you are an infertile and want to be a parent, you must ensure the success of another’s genetic material in the next generation.
Recently, I read about the birth of actress Elizabeth Banks’ second child who was born via a gestational carrier (or surrogate). Curiosity compelled me to scan readers’ comments. There were the typical congratulatory ones and those who railed for or against her craft, and then there was one that outright slapped me in the face:
“Surrogacy is to humans what pet shops are to animals. Why buy when you can adopt?”
Wow. Really?! And people actually agreed with her!
Ignoring the fact that this commenter likens breeding an animal to having a biological child, I can only infer she believes anyone who cannot conceive without assisted reproductive technology (ART) must adopt. Somehow an infertile woman’s desire to have a biological child by any means necessary is invalid, a moot point. So, because I am infertile and still willing to pursue a biological child with ART, I am somehow reaching beyond what is my right. Hmm…I wonder what that makes women who have more than one, two, or five children? Perhaps they are exempt from this logic, though, since they likely did not require ART. That’s unfair.
It seems even friends are not immune to this line of thinking, though. A good friend of mine with whom I have spoken openly about the various options to “having” a child (having adopted two herself) caught me off guard when she said, “I decided it was more important for me to be a parent rather than pregnant.”
The cockles on my neck rose slightly and I growled low in my throat. Okay, I really did not growl, but the cockles happened. Was she suggesting I was choosing the least moral of the two desires? Could one of these options even be immoral? Was she suggesting I was being selfish? Or did my friend simply want to point out that sometimes we infertiles confuse pregnancy with parenthood? I chose to give her the benefit of the doubt and focused on the latter.
Why is it so important for me to be pregnant and have a child this way? Certainly there are the obvious reasons—feeling the life you and your husband created growing inside you. And making your nose and hips spread while you upchuck. And, of course, I would love to see this little being who is part me and part hubby grow up. Then there are the more practical reasons. Right now, this is our most cost-efficient option because of our close proximity to a specialized ART program for active duty military members. As an airman’s wife, I know our time here is limited and we need to make the most of it. Perhaps any amount of reasoning, however, is insufficient to sway society to think differently.
This is the dilemma that each of us infertiles must face: how far is too far to pursue a family? For some of us this is ART, for others it is adoption. No matter what we choose, though, society will just have to deal with it.
"Times New Roman"”>Original photo via Flickr: janineomg