On Air: Does everyone have the right to be a parent?

PregnancyYou’ve been sharing your thoughts and stories on whether everyone should be a parent for a week now and the latest is scientists are suggesting that everyone might be able to. Scientists claim to have created human sperm in the laboratory and believe the work could eventually help men with fertility problems.

“I wonder, will man ever tire of playing God? Not that I believe in God, but some things should be left to nature.” That was Simon in Lincoln reacting to The Times’ article. Is this man playing God or man trying to help mankind?

And this comment from Pete. “How sick is this? With the world seriously overpopulated we are still trying to find ways of ramming more people onto it. It’s sad for infertile people, but nature has selected them, let’s listen to nature eh!” Is he right should some people accept that they are just not meant to be parents?

Another issue raised in this comment from Jeff, ” First, society downplayed the importance of the father. Single, Govt. reliant baby factories (“mothers”) are on the up. Then, IVF and sperm donors arrived, no longer did a woman need to get to know a man to have babies. Now, you don’t need anything male related to take part in making a child. Urgh.”

What do you think? Is this a great achievement or science going too far? If you’ve been trying for a baby for long is this news welcome?

And…What got us talking in the first place
The Rwandan government is under fire for a proposed new law which would forcibly sterilise mentally disabled people.

 In Namibia, a group of HIV positive women are going to court because they claim they were sterilised against their will.

And in Britain a sixty-six year old woman has been heavily criticised for becoming pregnant through IVF.

In all of these cases the women involved are physically able to become pregnant, but is it a good idea? Does everyone who is able to conceive have the right to bear a child?

Type ‘parent license’ into Google and you get over 21 million pages. It’s an idea which has been around for a long time and which clearly has a lot of support, and a lot of detractors.

But the stories I’ve quoted here raise a few issues beyond the concept of a government-mandated parental license, (which doesn’t seem to be on any government’s agenda any time soon).

At its very heart, how much control should people be allowed over their most basic function – to procreate? Who should get to decide what is in the best interest of the child? Is that solely a personal decision for the parents? If there is a real chance that a child may end up being cared for by the state, say if he or she was born to a woman who might not be able to care for a child because of a mental or physical illness, should the state play any role in that decision?

Is it right to lump a group of people together because of a medical condition? For example, an HIV positive person can either be in very good health or very sick indeed. Someone with a mental illness can function very well in day-to-day life or can struggle to perform basic tasks.

If you’re to become pregnant, is it your incontrovertible right to have a child?

270 Responses to “On Air: Does everyone have the right to be a parent?”

  1. 1 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 18:49

    Lord no. People should be required to be licensed before they breed. There simply are so many stupid, mentally ill people that have absolutely no business passing on their genes simply because they have the selfish desire to reproduce. Just today, some toddler died in Florida because his moronic parents decided to get a pet python. The child was strangled by the python. The child is now dead because the parents are stupid, and should never have been allowed to breed in the first place.

    People need to get overthemselves and accept that having children shouldn’t be a right, but rather a privilege.

    • July 3, 2009 at 15:43

      It’s a good anecdote, but it seems to show that Darwinian forces do a pretty good job of creating the same effect.

    • 3 Dennis Junior
      July 5, 2009 at 04:17

      You echoed my thoughts on this item totally, that certain segments of society should not be able to have children…

      ~Dennis Junior~

      • 4 Malc Dow
        July 8, 2009 at 18:02

        Yes, like people who who would make such a decision!
        What a sick society we live in, that such a question should even be aired.

    • July 8, 2009 at 21:21

      Reproduction is a God given right therefore no one should stand its way. If we require people to be licensed before they breed then we would equally require people to be licensed before they have sex. I have seen a mentally retarded woman abused by men, she got pregnant and gave birth to a healthy son who later became a figure head of his clan. I agree that some parents are stupid and reckless.But why should it be a problem in the west where child abuse is being reinforced unlike other areas like the developing countries. People are just being reckless otherwise I see no reason why lower animals without five/six senses like human beings can reproduce and yet look after their off-springs with care.

      • 6 El
        July 9, 2009 at 15:57

        The reproduction is not a God given right, it is a capability of a body rather. He didn’t give us the right to create but capability to do so. However, this wonderful capability should be used with some responsibilities, which some people here are already pointed out. If someone is ill, HIV posotove or else, these people should take a responsibility of never ever even to start thinking of having babies. But the reality is far from the hope. I can’t have children. My husband and I tried everything. I came to conclusion that if I was meat to have a child that it would’ve happened already. I am a good woman, nor better or worse then any other. However…. the big question WHY? is still in my head. There is a reason, I know it. I just can’t see it yet. But I have a family to look after and that is where my energy must go. Just be responsible people. Stop being so selfish and stupid

    • 7 Maxine
      July 9, 2009 at 02:50

      Agree 100%. Plenty of people out there who are totally unfit to have children. Apart from that – the planet is overcrowded and we are running short of water.

  2. 8 Tom K in Mpls
    July 1, 2009 at 19:02

    There is no good answer to this. Personal freedom, public good, and eugenics. Where to draw the line….. ?

  3. 9 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 19:07

    Also, economic means should be taken into account. If you can’t even afford to feed yourself, you shouldn’t be having children. Why don’t people use common sense?

    • 10 Jessica
      July 1, 2009 at 21:23

      It seems unfair for society to decide who should and shouldn’t have children. Unfortunately there are lots of people who have children and can’t/don’t care for them for whatever reason: money, health issues, mental illness, lack of maturity.
      It would be nice if more people used common sense. We often hear that a couple is trying for a baby. These people have thought it through. But, lots of other children just happen or are “accidents”. If common sense was involved we might have fewer teenage parents, but I’m sure they aren’t “thinking” at that moment.

      • July 8, 2009 at 18:23

        I am an IVFdoctor in Monterey California who has helped countless numbers of women to have children through IVF since 1994. The only line that I draw is one of age, since in a women over 50 pregnancy can be a health risk for the mother as well as the fetus. I have helped many single women and alternative lifestyle couples to conceive using donor eggs or donor sperm. As a physician specializing in infertility I cannot deny anyone the opportunity to become a parent when the opportunity and science exists to make it happen. As an aside, my wife and I went through IVF and had a daughter twelve years ago. I cannot imagine denying anyone the joy we have been able to experience.

    • 12 Aboy calledhate
      July 2, 2009 at 07:05

      Yes, yes and yes! Why can’t everyone see that, why! Why don’t they think before they act, at least on this one thing! Please!!! If you can’t take care of yourself without assistance from others you should have a child.

      • 13 Aboy calledhate
        July 3, 2009 at 06:56

        I mean “Yes yes and yes” to Steve’s origanal comment, he is oh so right!
        NOT that anyone should be able to have a child, that’s just nuts.

  4. 14 Jennifer
    July 2, 2009 at 00:34

    Re: Should everyone be able to have a child?

    Hmm; this is interesting to consider.

    The majority of pregnancies are unplanned. I do think it’s very selfish for people to have babies when they can clearly not provide for them. I think you need to teach people that if you have sex; you are at risk for having a baby…..*cough cough* abstinence eliminates that risk. 😛

    Imagine our world if we had to have permission to have children. Surely; as time went on more and more regulations would be imposed upon individuals and before long people would be selectively having male/female/brown headed/blonde/blue eyed babies; etc.

    The government should not control a person’s right to become a parent. They should keep their paws off as much as possible because they tend to mess things up!

    • July 2, 2009 at 09:26

      “…abstinence eliminates that risk.” & “The goverment should not control a person’s right to become a parent.”
      What about the church? Shouldn’t it also keep its paws off it as much as possible?

      @ the rest of the blog:

      Every now and then we hear these gruesome stories about parents killing their children, children thrown off bridges or being found in freezers. But it’s a distorted picture we get. Only the worst cases are reported. Nobody bothers with how good and caring the parenting of the next door neighbour… or (and here it comes) a friend of mine, WHO HAD HER DAUGHTER WITH 15 and now they’re an inseperable couple.
      Clearly, Jennifer’s abstinence went wrong, but after that, it’s an entire success-story, full of parental and childly love.

      As for me, I was beaten a lot as a child. It’s in my eyes unforgivable and it stopped, when i was able to ward the hits off. So, in terms of caring for a child (me), my mother shouldn’t have been given a license to have children, even though it was a “perfect family”. But still, i’m grateful, i made it into existence.

    • 16 Zachariah in Portland
      July 5, 2009 at 19:49

      And what about the octomom? she already had six kids that she had no way to care for, and then had eight more, which are now being paid for by California taxpayers. Do you really believe that she had the right to have ANOTHER eight children? I bet you will rethink your last post.

  5. July 2, 2009 at 05:20

    This is an idea whose time will never come in a democracy. This is the kind of sick idea that Führer, Beloved Leaders, or Supreme Leaders get involved in. In the real world we suffer our Octomoms, our unwed teen mothers, our sixty-six year old moms, and our children born with AIDS, as tragedy, or buffoonery.

  6. 18 Aboy calledhate
    July 2, 2009 at 07:01

    Of all the topics you have had on your show this is the one I am the most passionate about. Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should do that thing. Having a child is the most important decision of a human’s life and should not be made lightly.

    I believe it unwise for a person who has mental, physical, emotional, chemical, difficulties to have a child, especially if there is even the slightest chance that those issues could be passed along to the child. It would be irresponsible to do so.

    I also believe that if you do not have the financial means to support a child you should not have one. To have a child that you know you are unable to provide for and then just expect society to provide for it is absolutely atrocious.

    I could go on for pages and pages on this issue but because that would be impractical I will refrain. Just know that in short I support any effort to curtail the haphazard way in which people bring life into the world. Having a child isn’t a right it’s a responsibility. A responsibility to the child and the rest of society.

    When you have a child you should be able to take care of it yourself without depending on anyone else other then close family for help.

    I wonder how many people would still have a child with defects if they knew they were going to be the one solely responcible for careing for it. Or any child for that matter. People here in the US have children knowing they can not provide for them and know they will have to use govenment assistance, how lame is that?

    • 19 Peter_scliu
      July 8, 2009 at 17:57

      Have your child the organic way. Marry , then have sex. No artificial stuff. Conceive without anesthesia . Breast feed baby. Carry baby , don’t use param. Do all this and you will deserve to be a parent.

  7. 20 Ann
    July 2, 2009 at 09:37

    Wow a really thorny moral issue!

    Seems to me there are two issues here…

    1)Forcibly sterilising people against their will as in the case of Rwanda and Nabibia. My gut reaction to these proposals is horror. It reminds me of the Nazi programme of eugenics. Shudder at the thought. I understand there are important issues such as HIV to be taken into account in these countries but there has to be a better way than this!! I’m sure these proposals must be against the Declaration of Human Rights?

    2)The second issue is should medical inteventions such as IVF always be given. And on this issue I’m more inclinded to sit on the fence. IVF can enable the birth of children in a way the nature never designed and there are serious moral and ethical questions at stake.

    • 21 Tom K in Mpls
      July 2, 2009 at 15:41

      Ann, you imply the concept of eugenics is all bad. Yes Hitler was a very intelligent nut case with a twisted goal using enforced eugenics. But the real world purpose of eugenics is all good. But where do you draw the line.

      According to the nurture/nature concept, choosing to wait until your situation is better to have a child is eugenics. Not being able to get past a persons appearance to form a relationship is eugenics. Prescribing contraceptive medications to mental patients is eugenics. All these things are done in the ‘western’ world and perceived as generally ‘good’. All are eugenics. And once again, the question is where do you draw the line?

      • 22 Ann
        July 2, 2009 at 15:54

        Sorry Tom – should have made myself clear – I was meaning eugenics in the the that Hitler used it to wipe out those he thought not worthy of life.

  8. 23 Ann
    July 2, 2009 at 09:55

    I’d also like to respond to Steve and Aboy.

    I can understand your concern about children being brought into the world in situation where they may not be given the best upbringing possible. However some of your comments about denying birth rights disturb me. Please let me explain by using my own experience to exemplify the point…

    I was brought up by two alcoholic parents who clearly had serious mental health problems. There was much poverty, violence, homelessness and neglect. But not for one moment to I wish I hadn’t been born and the idea that my parents could be foribly sterilized is abhorrant to me. (in fact my mother had chosed to be sterilized, it didn’t work and my sister and I came along).
    I think I’ve turned out ok so they must have done something right as parents and I thank them for what they taught me.

    Secondly, for much of my own children live’s, I’ve suffered a serious illness which has had a huge impact on them. Again we’ve known poverty, hardship etc and my daughters had to grow up very fast. And at 22 and 19, the stand on their own two feet and lead independent happy lives. Would you deny me the ‘right’ to have had my children?

    • 24 James Ian
      July 2, 2009 at 14:47

      Did your parents have you knowing they could not provide for you? Is the illness you suffer from a hereditary illness or one brought on by your parents alcoholism?
      If you did not have the means to support yourself and your children on your own without public assistance they yes I would ask you not to have a child until you were able to afford it. If you have a medical issue that could likely be passed on to your child and lower their quality of life, then yes I would ask you not to have a child that would most likely not have a happy productive life. Sounds like your kids are lucky they were able to rise above the situation you placed them in. Not everyone is the lucky though.

      • 25 Ann
        July 2, 2009 at 18:57

        James – if you look at my earlier posts you will see that my mother decided to be sterilsed.

        And no my illness is nothing to do with my parents alcoholism nor is it hereditary.

        I did have the means to support myself as I pointed out earlier.

        I have not passed on my ‘medical issue’ to my children.

        My childen have grown to be loving caring, responsible young women who are perfectly able to take care of themselves and I take at least some pride in how well I raised them.

        And you sir might want to consider your tone!!!! How dare you talk to me like this!

    • 26 James Ian
      July 3, 2009 at 06:40

      I wasn’t aware of any tone. Just asking questions and making statements Ann.
      Sorry missed the part about the sterilization and the implication that you have always been self suporting, that wasn’t clear. Or at least your husbands suported you.
      Anthony is correct though when he says you are the exception and not the rule. Far more poeple end up perpetuating the cycle of poverty, neglect and violance.
      You and your children should just feel lucky you were able to rise above it and be the exception.

  9. 27 Ann
    July 2, 2009 at 10:37

    Sorry don’t mean to dominate this debate, but a little story Steve and Aboy might like to hear…

    I knew a woman personally, who, when pregant discovered she was carrying a child with muscular dystrophy. Despite the fact that the father walked out, she decided to keep her baby. She devoted 20 years of her life to raising and caring for her daughter. It was 24 hour care 365 days a year – her daughter was virtually paralysed. And yes she was relying on state assistence from the Scottish government. But no one in the area felt she was irresponsible or that she did not deserve help – we were all touched by her love for her daughter and the utter devotion she showed. Everyone rallied round to help. It was humbling and heartwarming to watch.

    Should her decision to keep her daughter have been taken from because she couldn’t afford to raise her child alone? I don’t think so! I felt priviledged to have witnessed such love, devotion and public spirit.

    • 28 James Ian
      July 2, 2009 at 14:36

      Well she placed a burden on the rest of her community and props to them for not
      criticizing her for her disision. If she didn’t know there was a chance of illness then there was nothing she could have done and I’m ok with that , but if she knew there was a chance she could have a ill child but then went ahead and got pregnant anyway, then she should be ashamed of herself. Or if she got pregnant knowing she could not raise the child without help regardless if it was healthy or not she should be ashamed.

  10. 29 Vishaka
    July 2, 2009 at 10:47

    I have just tried to send a suggestion for a debate, didnt work 😦 It bounced right back!!

    Anyway my suggestion was the Decriminalisation of Gay marriages in India. What does the Indians in India and abroad think about that? I am extremely happy about it and think its an extremely open step for the authorities of India. Being an Indian myself,I am quite surprised, didnt think it was going to happen so soon!

    • 30 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 16:38

      @Vishaka, we did have that debate, you may have missed it because it was buried among all the MJ related debates.

  11. 31 VictorK
    July 2, 2009 at 12:51

    The Nazis, avid eugenicists, sincerely believed that they were conferring an immense benefit on the human race, especially the European and Germanic branch of it, by exterminating the Jews. If Eugenics is right, I don’t see why such post-birth improvement of the human stock is unacceptable.

    The socialist pioneer of birth control, Margaret Sanger worked with Black organisations to promote sterilisation. She admitted in private correspondence that her real goal was to sterilise Blacks out of existence.

    Another proponent of compulsory sterilisation was Marie Stopes. She was all for sterilising poor and working class people (as well as re-introducing child labour for the lower classes).

    I agree with Jennifer: any government with the power to dictate in this area is a government that owns its people. And eugenic policies are always used by an elite group to control or destroy some other section of society.

  12. 32 patti in cape coral
    July 2, 2009 at 14:38

    @ Ann – Your story was so close to home I almost cried. I have a son with severe mental disability, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I don’t know what I would have done if I had known about his disability before he was born, though, to be honest. Now that he is a young man, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about what will happen when I can no longer take care of him.

    I have to agree with Tom, there is no good answer to this. I was very young when I had my children. I had to grow up in a hurry, and my children did have to go through a lot because I wasn’t ready, but we are very close, and I can’t imagine my life without them. At the same time, I wish for all our sakes I would have been smarter and waited until I was more ready. I don’t know what the right answer is.

    • 33 Ann
      July 2, 2009 at 16:06

      Patty – my love and kindest wishes to you and all your family. It sounds like you have had many challenges to face in life, but have met them with courage and an open heart. I can’t imagine how hard and wonderful it must be to do what you have done. And I understand your concerns for the future.

      I think you’re right Patty, there are no easy answers to such challenges in life, sometimes we can only do the best we can with the cards fate gives us.

      I wish you continued strength, love and happiness 🙂

  13. 34 patti in cape coral
    July 2, 2009 at 14:41

    My mother told me that growing up in Colombia there was a mentally disabled homeless woman that lived pretty much on the charity of the people in the town. She had 6-7 children that followed her around wherever she went, begging. The reason she had so many children is because the men would take advantage of her. Once again, I don’t know what the right answer is.

  14. 35 steve
    July 2, 2009 at 15:14

    @ Ann

    But you’re expecting others to be financially responsible for you. You think it’s everyone else’s job to let you do what you want. If you cannot afford children, you shouldn’t be having them. Otherwise it’s just enabling someone. you don’t give drugs to a drug addict, becaues that enables them.

    You don’t have a “right” to have children if you cannot provide for them. You feel you have this right because you know society will bail you out. Imagine if society didn’t, would you still decide to have a child knowing it would starve? I doubt you would. so Society enables people to have this sense of entitlement.

    • 36 Ann
      July 2, 2009 at 16:22

      Hi Steve – if your referring to me personally, then firstly I’ll say I started working when I was 7 years old. I decided to have my children at 22, while I was in full health, married and in full employment. I put myself through university while working and raising my family and looking after my father who was blind. I struggled to work through the early part of my illness until I got to the point where I was physically incapable of working. The father of my children provided maintenance for them. So I have not asked other people to be finacially responsible for me or my children. My second husband now provides for me and he provided for my children too.

      I cannot see how I could have lived a more personally responsible life.

    • 37 James Ian
      July 2, 2009 at 16:25

      You rock steve!

  15. 38 Anthony
    July 2, 2009 at 16:51

    I would want people to be forced to take the birth control shot in the US before people are allowed to pick up their welfare check. Also, if you’re on probation, I feel you should need to show up for the shot. Basically, people already in trouble in the US shouldn’t be allowed to have kids until they “fix” themslves.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 39 Pink
      July 2, 2009 at 23:26

      Anthony, I agree with you. The injection is good idea–wish it could be put into legislation! Also for deadbeat Dads who are in court and continue to spread their seed around and make more kids they won’t look after.

    • 40 Aboy calledhate
      July 3, 2009 at 06:24

      Outstanding! That would be awesome! Why don’t we do that already?? Great Idea Anthony!!

  16. 41 Anthony
    July 2, 2009 at 16:56

    @ Ann

    So basically a person with a horrible life was brought into the world, and the Scottish people had to pay for a very expensive “pet” that she needed to make herself feel better. That is one of the MOST SELFISH THINGS I have ever heard of. What a waste.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  17. 43 Anthony
    July 2, 2009 at 17:06

    @ Ann RE: growing up

    You’re the exception then. If you look at the statistics in the US, that RARELY happens, and if 1 out of 100 people brought up in horrible surrounds turn out good like you, there are the other 99 that join gangs, smoke crack, and end up robbing people and going to jail. IT’s a numbers game, and DEF not worth it.

    He’s MY little story. I was an Mc Donalds with my son and he was playing in the ball room. There was also some cholo (mexican gang members) kids (around 7 or 8), and one of the little boys said to a little girl ” Fuc# you b!tc#, suck my d!@#”. The parents (cholos) just laughed. When we we’re leaving I saw one little boy kicking the other little boy in the face, him bleeding all over the place. I could see and hear the parents (one with gang tatoos al over THE FRONT OF HIS FACE) laughing and excited about the fight as we got into the car. Some people SHOULD NEVER have kids.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    Post Script, I never went back to that particular Mc Donalds.

  18. 44 patti in cape coral
    July 2, 2009 at 17:25

    I think there is a difference between needing help because of circumstances, and just laying back and letting others take care of you. Ann prides herself on leading a personally responsible life, as well she should, but I don’t think there would be any shame in her accepting help, as she clearly is not laying about waiting for a handout. I think welfare needs lots of reform so it differentiates between these types of circumstances, but I guess that’s a subject for another day.

  19. 45 Ann
    July 2, 2009 at 17:33

    Patti – apologies for spelling your name wrong 🙂

  20. 47 steve
    July 2, 2009 at 17:34

    @ Ann

    Not referring to you personally. But that’s how many people think. That they can do what they want because someone else will take care of it for them.

    Perfect example of people who should be sterilized:


    Do you think this person should be allowed to have children?

    • 48 Ann
      July 2, 2009 at 19:09

      Steve – I’ve counted 13 ‘you’s in your post above. And I’m well aware of how people think. I’m also well aware that some people don’t have the courage or humility to apologise.

  21. 49 Jennifer
    July 2, 2009 at 17:42

    The government is entirely different from the “church”. You are meaning the Catholic Church right? Well, if so, you may want to consider that people can be non-religious and still have the common sense to know that if you have sex; you are at risk for becoming pregnant or from contracting a disease. So, speaking of abstinence is bad? Even if it would reduce birth rates or transmission of STDs? Hmm.

    As for the Church’s involvement in abortion issue; that is about the murdering of an unborn child who has rights just like you and I do. Or, do you think that it’s ok because a baby is a baby and not really able to make a fuss about it? If the government wanted to do what was right by law then they would protect the safeguards of children whose parents want to impose their will and violate the child’s rights of the most basic thing; living! They don’t tell their parents to have sex yet their parents can snuff them out if they choose.

    You bring up an interesting point….maybe the Government does want to be like the church. They want people to be followers and non-thinkers. Please, think for yourself! And, know that there are religious people who do too.

    • July 7, 2009 at 11:21

      You’re right… I specifically meant the catholic church. I do however include any other church or organization, which tries to dictate its abstinence views on non-members/non-believers.

      You’re also right, that sex has to be had responsibly. But not by abstaining, rather by being safe.

      As for abortion, I leave that to the individual woman who’s affected with the issue. There is no global answer to abortion (we had that discussion weeks ago here). I myself would rather see a child given birth and then handed to responsible parents, than it being aborted. But who am I and who are you to make such decisions for someone else?

  22. 51 patti in cape coral
    July 2, 2009 at 18:52

    Hi Anthony – I don’t regard my son, his classmates, or any disabled people as expensive pets. They are people.

  23. 52 Ann
    July 2, 2009 at 19:14

    And Steve, James and Anthony, I am going to stop this conversation now before I say something I’ll regret.

  24. 54 Linda in Italy
    July 2, 2009 at 22:48

    I posted this at about 3pm CET and it seems to have got lost, or have I committed a sin and got bounced off?
    I’m with Ann on this one, in her first post when she points out the difference between the 2 issues, forced sterilisation is violence and a should never be practised, although of course that does assume that people with mental illness receive the proper protection from rape. In the Aids case, I may be wrong, but I think proper drug treatment prevents mother to child transfer and similarly this medication can prolong the life of HIV patients, enabling them to bring up their children. Both the examples are from Africa where resources are scarce, but that is what should be remedied rather than resort to female mutilation, why not castrate all men with HIV or Aids?.
    The other issue is actually moving the “able to conceive” goalposts and ironically the example in question blows all the financial arguments out of the water as this woman is actually extremely well-off and able to provide the child with everything out of her own pocket. About the age issue, no one castigates some guy who fathers a child in his 60s or 70s , they just hand round the cigars. Double standards anyone?

    • 55 Aboy calledhate
      July 3, 2009 at 11:20

      Cut some nutts, I’m with that too!! A woman can only get preg every nine months or so, there are some guys out there impregnating several women at a time. Cut their nutts off and stop those jerks! I’m with that! I’ve had my one child and I’m happy, I’m going to get mine cut ASAP!
      My parents had six kids and could only afford one. I don’t know what the heck they were thinking. Our lives were less then they could have been just because they spread it too thin. They made their own lives more difficult then they had to be.

  25. 56 Pink
    July 2, 2009 at 23:21

    Procreation may be a “basic human function” but it shouldn’t be a right. Just as it’s illegal to strip down and urinate in the road, you shouldn’t be allowed to have sex willy-nilly and have a kid, just because you feel to. Humans are one of the few, if only species, that don’t go into “heat”. Our bodies DON’T need to pair with another body in order to survive. Having sex, though pleasurable and relaxing, can’t feed, clean, rid us of waste or mend us if we are physically ill.

    Parental licensing, good idea! The world has gone awry; they’re aborting babies and calling it reproductive rights and then others are having them not only out of wedlock but having them face an uncertain future and then charging people who are responsible tax payers with welfare bills.

  26. 57 Aboy calledhate
    July 3, 2009 at 06:53

    In the beginning of time and in nature the rule was/is survival of the fittest and our human race was able to evolve and rise to be the masters of the planet. Now through our social programs we have allowed people who otherwise would not survive multiply and now we are seeing the results of it. If our government social programs ruin our economy and standard of living we have no one to blame but ourselves. I don’t have a problem helping people who need it, but to let them aggravate the problem by procreating is just wrong in every way. You don’t give a pyromaniac a box of matches and some gas and hope for the best.

    July 3, 2009 at 11:47

    I find stories of Patti and Ann very touching but never the less they constitute the kind of leadership that we want at home and in this world. Caring is what I want to talk about now that we have interfered with the genius of nature; which stands undefeated still.

    As I read through, my mind has turned on what I have thought all along. That despite our technological and breathtaking scientific achievements, we have killed the community within us and continue to smother it and dispatch it to oblivion with freedom for this and that. Who can’t deny that we have interfered with nature and our misguided reactions stem from the fallout. There were less than six million Kenyans by 1963. Then some experts started preaching family planning and distributing pills (donor aid). Look what happened. Nature control that had maintained low population for centuries was replaced with population explosion and the resultant crises.

    Nobody is paying heed to what kind of life we are leaving in our upward mobility. There is a problem when we have so many educated people with a dead community spirit. There is no caring anymore and it is not possible despite the many frontiers of we want to open. Thank you ladies. It is gratifying to know that people like you still exist out there.

    July 3, 2009 at 16:47

    There is nothing wrong with birthing and it has taken place for millions of years even before the modern maternity wards came into existence. I am not advocating carelessness here because even the ancients did not condone it but rather but, sometimes the unusual happens. We are civilized? This is what I hear from most posting on this blog.

    Nature is straightforward and has leaves no reservation for for saying that that is a child mother or that is cripple. Those who are sound are doing the right thing and yet we cannot ignore the fact that even with them, something can go wrong; it does even in hospital. Birthing is both a painful and a fulfilling sweet experience for biologically normal human beings. I can see so many people having gut reaction but this goes to show how much we are in trouble. These problems are human creations. Yes, I think even governments should contribute by doing something even though they stand indicted for failure to act in time.

    I quite agree that it is up to the individuals and most can take care of themselves(?). The so called under age and abnormal pregnancies are pointing to us the problems we are creating socially and we continue to ignore further exploration. They have not been part of us. They won’t go away because we are attacking symptoms and not addressing the root cause. Why can’t we accept that we have replaced good cultures with rotten ones by abdicating our responsibility to meaningless social institutions while we think mathematics can solve all our ails. May be but may be by turning to homosexuality is one way of controlling birth as some as the modern sages are now advocating. I am utterly confused.

  29. July 4, 2009 at 12:23

    Every woman able or disabled should has the inalienable right to have a child by whatever scientifically safe method is available. And with that right goes the responsibility of raising it either with a partner or singularly and avail herself of any state support to which she is entitled. There are no circumstances in which to oppose by force that right and responsibility are acceptable.

    • 62 James Loudermilk
      July 6, 2009 at 13:53

      Emile Barre Says:

      “And with that right goes the responsibility of raising it either with a partner or singularly and avail herself of any state support to which she is entitled.”

      There is that since of entitlement! My goodness that just drives me nuts!!

      The only thing you’re entitled to is to be able work your butt off and make a living for yourself, through honest hard work. If your going to have a child you had better be able to suport it yourself or with at most the help of your family.

    • 63 Roseann In Houston
      July 8, 2009 at 18:00

      “Inalienable RIGHT”???? Oh, my goodness! As a race we all sit aroung screaming about our “rights” – no focus on responsibility.

      Emile – you say “with that right goes the responsibility…(using) any state support to which she is entitled”. Rights and entitlement…what is covered by responsibility?

      My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and my father worked and provided for all of us (this was in the ’50s and ’60s). My mother’s responsibility was to cook and clean and wash clothes and toilet train, etc. So what I’m reading is that you think that a single woman, or a woman who’s partner is unemployed or underemployed, should consider herself “married” to the state, where the state provides for a physical needs and the woman does the cooking and cleaing? And it’s her “right” to do so?

      Where is this “right” granted?

  30. 64 James Ian
    July 4, 2009 at 14:46

    I can’t believe there are only 50 comments on this subject so far. This is one of the most important issues ever! Over population is a contributing factor in many of the worlds other issues.
    We need to talk about this and come to some kind of compromise.

    • 65 Tom K in Mpls
      July 8, 2009 at 14:50

      Don’t worry, nature has it covered. As with all species, starvation and disease will continue to play their parts. But wouldn’t it get interesting if we had to face predation too?

      • 66 Aboy calledhate
        July 10, 2009 at 06:19

        Natures check on humanity will be cruel, it will be interesting to see how bad it will get. I only worry for my daughter and wife. I didn’t want to have a child just because I know the future is uncertain. My wife insisted and now I worry insistently for her.

  31. 67 NSC London
    July 6, 2009 at 17:03

    Like most things, this argument will probably be resolved by blunt economics. As the world prepares for famine we may see nations implementing “population management” strategies.

    In the western world we have reasonably clear direction around who should and should not be allowed to procreate. People with violent crime convictions, a history of homelessness, drug abuse or mental illness would be an excellent place to start.

  32. 68 Ann
    July 6, 2009 at 17:45

    And Anthony – regarding your comments previously about the Scottish lady who raised her child with help from the state – in Scotland we have a saying..

    “Were all Jock Tamson’s bairn’s”

    – roughly translated as ” every person in the world is part of the one family, no one is greater than another and we should try to help and support them all”

  33. 69 ernesto
    July 6, 2009 at 20:49

    There will always be thoroughly unfit parents, morally, mentally or physically, and very unhappy, unhealthy children because of it.
    All too often there are ulterior and maybe even valid motives for the medical and other operations, like overpopulation, mental illness, ill health, rape etc. Any of these arguments can be twisted in somebody’s favour. Who is to choose what is right or wrong? History has seen thoroughly unfit states and groups to do the choosing.

    Again, who is doing the defining of the moral parameters and all the other arguments that might prevent people from procreating. We have indeed to be extremely careful. The Nazis started cleaning out mental hospitals and nobody stopped them (the few that could were already eliminated). So come the communists, homos, blacks or downright uglies…. One day you’ll find yourself on a list.
    McCarthyism was possible in the USA like Stalin in the USSR. Nobody is safe for the state if you don’t practice your democratic rights, when you have them. Be vigilant, think for yourself, participate in discussions and be in on the decisions of your society. Don’t exclude anybody, though., if you dare.

  34. 71 Charlie
    July 6, 2009 at 22:39

    Absolutely not!

  35. July 7, 2009 at 08:11

    We do not live in a “Star Trek” world; mandatory population controls are impossible to meaningfully implement. It is obvious that in a more natural i.e. primitive setting only a very small percentage of the present population would survive. People are in any case apparently more comfortable abdicating the breeding decision to random chance, regardless of the human misery produced. It will probably be the same with us as it is with fruit flies – we will breed right up to the limits of the environment, then crash. The bad news is that such tactics degrade the playing field considerably, and recovery is problematic. The good news is that we do think, at least on occation, and MAY be able to out-strategize the venerable fruit fly.

    As far as SHOULD we limit our breeding, I say by all means YES. Here are some possible rules:

    1) 3 max per lifetime, any over that are either taxed or are at least non-deductible.
    2) Pay folks to be sterilized (bonuses for sterilizations performed before the 3 child threshold and any congenital diseases avoided).
    3) Sales of your “Child Permit Credits” would be non-taxible. (Double score by selling credits AND getting sterilized!)

    As always, the well-off remain relatively unaffected, but they are usually outnumbered 95 to 1 anyway, statistically insignificant. Not too many Mel Gibsons out there really…

  36. 73 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 7, 2009 at 11:03

    On the surface the idea sounds great, because you can try to eliminate unfit parents as well as people who would likely have mentally of physically challenged children. But who is going to control the selection of who is fit or not? Most likely the government of the day will be in control and hence a power elite.

    Having a powerful elite in control of a vital function like reproduction will lead to abuse of that power and the suspension of democratic rights.

    Even though my heart goes out to the many suffering children and adults out there as a society we should use more intelligent mechanisms instead of opening a pandora’s box.

    Men should be held accountable for the offspring they bring into the world. To often the womwn are blamed and end up with the responsibity of child rearing while the man moves on to the next conquest.

  37. 74 Andy
    July 7, 2009 at 12:06

    I am currently watching the film IDIOCRACY which deals with a future world populated by morons who have out-bred the intelligent.

    • 75 Ann
      July 7, 2009 at 13:31

      The minute I hear the term ‘breeders’ or ‘morons’ I feel dismay at the lack of kindness in humanity.

      • 76 patti in cape coral
        July 7, 2009 at 16:25

        Hi Ann – I wonder if kindness could be used as one of the criteria for who gets to “breed” or not, maybe on a point system. For example, two points off for not being smart, 8 points off for not being nice. And if a person were lucky enough to be smart, kind, good looking, and rich, well, I guess the sky would be the limit!

        I understand how you feel, and it makes me sad too, and even more fearful for the vulnerable ones.

  38. 77 Leonet Reid- Jamaica
    July 7, 2009 at 14:46

    I strongly believe that not everyone should be able to have a child. Too often we see in our daily news the heinous crimes committed against kids by their negligent parents, too often we hear about the abuse, and too often we hear about children who are abandoned. Women, and even men, should be given a standardized test, or as my fellow blogger said, a license to have children. So that we can see the level of parental skill each individual possess. It is not only women who should be not allowed, but it should be the worthless men who impregnate and then disappear. They are the ones who should be held accountable, not only women. This is needed due to the high rate of child neglect across the world. In Jamaica, for instance, children are left to walk the streets, fending for themselves to find food and jobs as young as the age of six. Some, without proper supervision, become criminals and irresponsible adults who then continue the cycle of having neglected Kids. As a matter of fact, this problem is not only confined to Jamaica but is present in every country.

  39. 78 patti in cape coral
    July 7, 2009 at 16:04

    I wonder if the forcible sterilization of the mentally disabled is even necessary in Rwanda. I guess there is no way of knowing for sure, but the majority of guardians for mentally disabled citizens might opt for sterilization voluntarily, given the poverty and difficulty in caring for such a person, then that person’s child on top of it. Maybe there are plenty of people who would voluntarily accept to be sterilized if it were offered to them? I don’t just mean Rwanda, pretty much everywhere. Pre-parenting classes also seem like an excellent idea. I am uneasy with making things mandatory, though, it’s a slippery slope.

  40. 79 Archibald
    July 7, 2009 at 16:31

    If you look at the global population problem, no one should be having any children, at least for a decade. Additionally, affluent countries where litters of children are encouraged, should limit the number of children per person and those who carry a high risk of complicated pregnancy should be discouraged. However, I will not go as far to say that rights to have children should be controlled by the gov’t, any more than the right to a safe abortion should be.

    • 80 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 17:48

      @Archibald – you wrote “affluent countries where litters of children are encouraged, should limit the number of children per person”

      The majority of affluent countries have a birth rate that’s below replacement levels, i.e. they have declining population. It’s true of most of Europe, including Russia, its true of Japan, Singapore, and even China. Were it not for immigration the same would be true of Australia and maybe the USA too.

      So which specific countries do you have in mind?

      Gaza has a very high birth rate, I don’t think you could describe Gaza as affluent.

  41. 81 Billy
    July 7, 2009 at 21:56

    My I suggest two reasonably fair options.

    The first could be a nanny society where only those suitable can have kids but everyone including the less productive members are looked after.

    The second is a libertarian society where anyone can have children and is free to do what they want within their own boundaries but the more resourceful and productive members of society are not obliged to provide for the unproductive overbreeding members.

    The real problem is that taxpayers are currently forced to pay the child benefit for those unsuitable parents.

  42. 82 Billy
    July 8, 2009 at 08:50

    OK since it appears I was censored the first time let me say this again.

    I think there would be two fair options regarding breeding rights.

    The first would be a nanny society which ensures the well being of everyone but restricts breeding to reasonably healthy and self supporting individuals.

    The second would be a society where everyone can breed and do as they wish within their own boundaries but the more productive members of society are not obliged to support those less productive overbreeding individuals.

    Both of the above methods would take away the burden of overpopulation from those who shouldn’t suffer to carry it.

  43. 83 Ann
    July 8, 2009 at 10:09

    @Pattie – “Hi Ann – I wonder if kindness could be used as one of the criteria for who gets to “breed” or not, maybe on a point system. For example, two points off for not being smart, 8 points off for not being nice. And if a person were lucky enough to be smart, kind, good looking, and rich, well, I guess the sky would be the limit!”

    I think you might be on to something there! 🙂

    • July 8, 2009 at 14:11

      And who determines the points and how are they determined?

      • 85 patti in cape coral
        July 8, 2009 at 14:30

        My thinking didnt’ go that far, I was speaking tongue-in-cheek though I am assuming that the government would be determining all the laws related to any kind of point system. That is the slippery slope I was talking about, there seems to be no satisfactory solution to this problem. All the solutions seem like jumping out of the frying pain and into the fire, especially the ones involving government regulation.

      • 86 Ann
        July 8, 2009 at 14:32

        Konstantin – Patti and I are being ironic/satirical in reaction to the posts which keep referring to ‘breeders’ and ‘morons’.

  44. 87 Ann
    July 8, 2009 at 11:50

    Patti – I did it again! What a numskull I am! I shall endeavour to spell your name correctly 🙂

  45. 89 Claudette Francois
    July 8, 2009 at 13:33

    No they shouldn’t. Personally, for a start, I would exclude drug addicts and alcoholics!

    • July 15, 2009 at 07:12

      Good for you! It is OK to make choices; every behaviour does not have equal merit. Some folks would have you believe they do. I think you might broaden your category to include people who lack the ability to self control. Bulimia, gross obesity, various certifiable mental illnesses rendering you disfunctional, etc. Probably not good parent material in the long run.

      We make choices every day. The trick is to try to make most of them work for your survival, not against it.

  46. 91 Nelson Kampala
    July 8, 2009 at 14:42

    We`ve played with nature too much and look at where it`s got us, global warming and all other mishaps in the enviroment.A world which already has has billions of people who are starving and homeless does not need an increased population growth rate.

  47. 92 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 14:46

    Think this through. Does EVERYONE have the right to have children? Everyone would include Charles Manson sitting in prison at this moment. Does he have a “right” to have children? What about men that lack social skills and have no female interest in them? I know a 38 year old virgin. Women won’t give him the time of day. Does he have the “right” to have children even if there’s no woman willing to have sex with him?

    Take that into consideration, along with my earlier thoughts about the mentally ill, the insane, etc. I provided a link of a woman who gave birth in a porta potty and left the child in it to drown. Does she have a “right” to have further children?

    • July 15, 2009 at 07:22

      Nicely pointed observations, all. How about we quit using the irrelevant phrase “right to have children” and ask instead if this person is a net gain to the human gene pool? In my experience, most experiments end in failure…

  48. 94 Roy, Washington DC
    July 8, 2009 at 14:53

    In addition to the factors everyone else has mentioned so far, this is only going to contribute to overpopulation. It will put a greater strain on our economic and natural resources, which are already quite stretched.

  49. 95 Tom K in Mpls
    July 8, 2009 at 14:55

    Considering the advancements in understanding genetics, wouldn’t it be nice if couples could get a risk assessment? Granted it would typically only be used by those that are already the most responsible. But it would make their efforts more effective.

    But just wait and see how long it would take for someone to want to use it in a eugenics law.

  50. 96 Steve in Boston
    July 8, 2009 at 14:58

    I just did a search for the word “adopt” in all the 78 posts above, and it did not come up even once. How extraordinarily reprehensible.

    Maybe if you can’t have kids, it’s God’s way of telling you to get out there and make a home and a family with one or two of the millions of kids already out there with no parents and little hope.

    I have two adopted kids, and they’re wonderful.

    How about giving instead of taking all the time? I’m so discouraged about the state of the world….

  51. 97 kimberly
    July 8, 2009 at 15:16

    At the last world Food Summit in Argentina, scientists suggested a world-wide 1 child policy in order to assure food and water for the next 50-100 years. If our ability to produce food and provide water is in doubt, why should we find more ways to provide children to those nature has selected out? As it is, anyone who cannot adequately provide for themselves should NOT have offspring.

  52. 98 Justin from Iowa
    July 8, 2009 at 15:20

    Its a terribly thorny issue. If you try to enforce needing permission to have a child, what do you do if someone goes against that? Sterilize them? Imprison them? Take the child away? WIll they even care then, if you take their child away, or will they become desensitized to parenthood…

    Almost anything you want to do in regards to this issue involves too much wrong to make it right. If a person has a child that they cannot support, do you cut them off from all government support and let them starve and die? That would be the most powerful motivator to not have a child, but our society would never support it.

    Its an issue with no good resolution.

    • July 15, 2009 at 07:33

      The venerable Chinese did most of what you were wringing your hands about in an attempt to reduce their population to manageable levels. Most Chinese understood the practical reasons, and they had an understanding with the Government that their one child would get a real shot at a good education. A cashless society is a very effective tool to rein in behaviours deemed unacceptable to the folks controling the credit. Curiously the Chinese “one child per family” policy resulted in a surplus of male children, a result of modern science and Chinese cultural preferences.

  53. July 8, 2009 at 15:27

    Hi WHYSers!
    Everyone should be able to become a parent, so long as they are physically, mentally and emotionally able to do so. Whoever wants to have a child, so long as they feel responsible and is committed to the task of raising children should be allowed that privilege. Not because you are able to, however, necessarilly makes you capable of being good at it. Focussing on those who face handicaps is, of course, an obvious bias. It presupposes that only able bodied people are able to raise healthy, well adjusted children/ people. This is not true. We only need to take a look at how much hatred and craziness that goes on around us, many of the perpetrators of which were raised in homes with able bodied, even wealthy families, in some instances. These are clearly not the criteria for raising children.

  54. 101 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    July 8, 2009 at 15:30

    My answer wants to be no, but that would be a terrible violation of human rights. I think if people can have kids, they should be allowed. However, there are plenty of people who have kids when they can’t provide for them. That’s clearly wrong, but I think that’s a social issue we should work on rather than ban the poor from having kids or whatever.

  55. 103 Dinka Aliap Chawul,Kampala-Uganda
    July 8, 2009 at 15:36

    YES.Everyone have a right to child as long they are biological but not what i heard in the making in laboratories by UK Scientist. Do they think child produce by such kind of method would be strength & fit to live normally…….? Look at insemination method as an example.

  56. July 8, 2009 at 15:37

    Absolutely not, this belief in this right has become the bane of the western world. IT doesn’t mater what your ethical and moral qualities are. In this country the right to have a child even if they mean nothing more to you then a piece of nice jewelry is inherent. It has lead to a continues downward spiral of the moral fiber that built this country. If a 16 yr old selfish, hormone driven, party girl wants to have a child just to get attention, she can. As soon as it is born and the novelty is worn off, she dumps the kid on the grandparents and the system is left to feel the affects.

    However, in a free and democratic society, how do you stop this damaging activity? The other thing that has to end is the belief that the mother is the healthiest choice for physical custody. Both science and statistics say otherwise.

  57. 105 Nanci
    July 8, 2009 at 15:37

    On the one hand I don’t think people have an inherent human right to have children. However, the ability to procreate is a huge part of what contributes to our humanity.

    The state should not be forced to include IVF in NHS coverage for example. If people want to have children other ways they can fund it themselves.

    Because I believe that the issue is actually a private one, I think that licensing people to have children is a dangerous intervention by the state. Who determines who is fit, who defines what constitutes ‘fitness’.

    This socialist government wants to license and regulate everything. I say hands off licensing people to be parents. IT would strip us what makes us human. Yes there are good parents and bad parents. The mechanisms of the state do provide for the protection of children (albeit imperfectly).

    And I don’t think people who are handicapped mentally or physically should be sterilized. It’s wrong.

    • 106 Aboy calledhate
      July 10, 2009 at 08:23

      Nanci Says

      ” And I don’t think people who are handicapped mentally or physically should be sterilized. It’s wrong.”

      Ok Nanci, but you can pay for all the social programs designed to pay for them and their stuff, don’t ask me to because I think it’s irresponsible and wrong for them to procreate.

  58. 107 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 8, 2009 at 15:39

    This is a very difficult question. In one side, we have human rights, that are universal, so people have the right to have children, it comes along with freedom. On the other side, there are MANY children that are abandoned, abused, mistreated, traumatized, etc. by their parent (s).

    If I answer this question with my heart, I would said that there are people that absolutely DON´T have the right to have children. However, who is going to decide…that is the real issue here.

    For instance, I can bet there are people that think I am a bad mother because I work full-time and I leave my children with a caregiver while I am at the office. If they were the ones that decide, they could said I don´t have the right to have children.

    So, in conclusion, it is a very difficult issue to address. Many violations of human rights could happen if the government start deciding who should and shouldn´t have children. I think preventive measures should be strengthened, like sex-education programs at school and parenting courses.

    About people undergoing fertility treatments, I don´t have any problems with that. If they are willing to go all the way through it to have a child, is enough proof for me that that child is wanted (in the majority of the cases). The problem with overpopulation is not the people in fertility treatments… it is the uneducated and poor people that do not have access to contraceptives or that culturally are forced to have” whatever children God send them”. That is the challenge… As and example, in my country, the national average of children per family is 2.3. Among the poor is 6. Go figure…

  59. July 8, 2009 at 15:46

    If a woman and, or a couple wants to get pregnant through artificially created sperm, I can see very little in the way of a challenge; that is, if this is her/ their only option. This business of reproduction is so fraught with politics, we have managed to turn it into an agenda item for all kinds of crusaders. Whatever happened to just having a desire to care for and nuturing others, as well as the wherewithal to love someone else? Aren’t these some of the reasons people become parents? Why would we need to place unnecessary obstacles in the paths of those who face obstacles in achieving this end, in terms of being able to reproduce naturally? Just curious.

  60. 109 John in Salem
    July 8, 2009 at 15:53

    Planet Survey Report –
    The dominant species on this planet, a bipedal life form, initially showed great promise. However, at a stage in it’s development when the population had reached 6.6 billion, a level that was beginning to strain the planet’s resources, and with projections showing a doubling of that population within the next century plus a rapidly shrinking habitat due to climate change, this species then produced technology allowing any and all individuals to procreate at will.

    Conclusion –
    No intelligent life. Recommend sterilization and resettlement.

  61. July 8, 2009 at 15:55

    People should not be forcibly denied the right to being parents simply (?) because there are problems in the world. After all, in many instances where starvation and global warming issues have occurred, for instance, these were deliberately engineered by men, often with the aim of destroying other men. They are not objective realities in and of themselves. The sustained assault on the weak and vulnerable cannot and should not be used as a basis for denying people the option of being able to reproduce; that is, if they face certain kinds of handicaps…Where is the love?

    • 111 Roseann In Houston
      July 8, 2009 at 18:06

      Where will the love be when ALL countries are experiencing famine due to lack of resources?

      • 112 Dennis Junior
        July 9, 2009 at 18:40

        @ Roseann:
        good point, who is going to pick up the financial part of “caring” for these children…..

        ~Dennis Junior~

    • 113 Aboy calledhate
      July 10, 2009 at 08:43

      “Where is the love”??!!
      What’s love got to do with it?
      When we have used up every resource in the world and nothing is left because of our selfishness, when future generation have nothing left because we used it all up in the name of human rights, freedom, and entitelment.
      Yeah, “where is the love”??!!

  62. 114 Clayton
    July 8, 2009 at 16:02

    I have not read the whole blog response, too long!

    I have recently beeen told that I am infertile. My wife and I are on the waiting list for donor sperm and are exploring adoption.

    In response to the argument that I should simply sit back and ‘listen to nature’ I would say that this point seems to be espsoused by people who have no direct experience of my condition. To be told I could never have my own biological child was like being told a close relative had died. I am still grieving now – my more extreme emotional moments are very similar to what I felt when my father died. I had a genito-urinary condition when I was born (31 years ago) that was not operated on until I was 5 years old. My urologist tells me my condition is common in infertile males. Nowadays it can be operated on much sooner, at 12 months old. Who is to say that if I had had this operation when I was younger that I would not be fertile today? I deserve children as much as anybody and how dare anybody tell me otherwise. My wife and I are absolutely devastated by what has happened to us and will cling on to any chance we get to have a child together.

    • 115 patti in cape coral
      July 8, 2009 at 16:22

      I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties and hope all the best for you. I was wondering how you feel about adoption. Do you feel that that this is the “second best” option? Do you feel that you would love an adopted child as much as if it was your biological child?

    • 116 Tom K in Mpls
      July 9, 2009 at 17:10

      Actually, you are listening to nature. Getting naturally viable sperm leaves your genetic issues out. Sorry I don’t mean to be mean, just practical. Adoption is better socially but can be seen as circumventing natural selection. This is because if the parents for whatever reason couldn’t raise the child, they were a ‘dead end’. Also, adoption denies your wife the mixed glories of pregnancy.

    • 117 Aboy calledhate
      July 10, 2009 at 08:47

      If you can pay for all that and the child too on your own without using any public assistance then i don’t think anyone here has a problem with you trying to have a child. But If you need to seek public assistance to do so then that is the issue.
      By all means adopt if you can, lord knows there are kids out there that need a home. Just make sure it’s a task you are financially up to.

  63. 118 Katharina in Ghent
    July 8, 2009 at 16:03

    How did they solve the problem of imprinted genes? If they didn’t, then the embryo will die at a pretty early stage. I doubt that the scientists are already at the stage where they can produce healthy human babies.

  64. 119 Anthony
    July 8, 2009 at 16:14

    @ patti in cape coral and Ann

    That’s fine and all, but WE the people shouldn’t have to help pay for that. If you can afford a child that is extremely disabled then more power to you. If you can’t, then WHY IN GODS NAME would we (the people) spend not only state aid, but EXTRA money for their “special needs” when we could spend it one children that will actually DO something and contribute to society?

    Sarah Palin having a child at her age when she was TOLD that the risk of having a child with down syndrome was much more probable was irresponsible on her part.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 120 patti in cape coral
      July 8, 2009 at 17:17

      Anthony – I see your point, but some disabilities are unknown in utero until the child is born, so there is no opportunity to choose. Also, sometimes at the time you decide to have a child you might be able to afford it, but things happen. Sometimes husbands leave, sometimes husbands don’t want to stick around when you have a “defective child.” Sometimes your means of support crumbles unexpectedly.

      When my husband left, the state was offering a program where it would pay for school and child care. I took advantage of this and got a degree in 18 months in a field where I would be able to work from home and stay with my son, because at the time it was difficult to find care for him.

      I understand your disgust, and I remember meeting many women who would have more children so they could get more from the state, then get paid under the table for babysitting, and they had way more money than some working couples I knew, and definitely more money than me. That is a definite abuse of the system. I didn’t understand why they didn’t take advantage of the programs that would send you to school and help you get a job.

      My son will never be the doctor, lawyer, rock star, or architect that I daydreamed about when I was pregnant. He works at a grocery store bagging and stocking, and I am grateful for that. Who has the right to say what he does or does not contribute to society?

      Sorry about the length of this post, I tried to edit, but it still turned out long.

  65. 121 Anthony
    July 8, 2009 at 16:26

    @ Clayton

    PLEASE don’t take this in a malicious way, because in NO WAY is it intended that way, but don’t you think that either:

    a) God doesn’t think you should have kids.


    b) Evolution is telling you that you shouldn’t be having kids.

    How can you say it’s not fair. It’s life. Would you rather be you, here and now, or a person who can have kids but living in Liberia? You have it VERY well, so I don’t think you have room to talk about fairness in the world.

    Just by you having this computer and a Urologist tells me you’re better off than 90% of the world. And there is NOTHING WRONG with adoption.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 122 Aboy calledhate
      July 10, 2009 at 08:54

      Very well said Anthony, good point no matter what what camp you are from, creationism or evolution. Hard for people to hear but a very good point.

  66. 123 steve/oregon
    July 8, 2009 at 16:30

    I find it amazing that in order to pull a fish out of the water I am required to have a license… to drive a vehicle I am required to have a license and pass a test… in order to get a permit to shot vermin or birds i have to go through a hunters safety class and pass a test to get a license…… But if I wanna have a kid all i have to do is have sex..

    Sorry but for once I agree with steve people should be required to attend a 9 month school on child raising. This school would be paid for by the parents and after the 9 months of school there would be a serious test.

    Can anyone explain why in order to feed myself i must have a license but to bring life into this world has no requirements no reveiw of my ablities or ablity to care for this new life.

    NO ONE has a right to have children unless they can provide for those kids and know how to raise them.

  67. 124 steve/oregon
    July 8, 2009 at 16:34

    @ Patti lots of people simply keep having kids cause they like babies once the child is about school age they loose interest that is how children are seen as pets. If a human cannot function they are a pet.

  68. 126 Venessa
    July 8, 2009 at 16:39

    I strongly believe that it is not everyone’s right to have children, however I am a strong supporter of people’s individual rights. I’ll agree with Steve that it should take a license to have children. The problem is who gets to dicate who can and can’t have children? Has anyone else noticed the moral police running around in society or the absurd laws that are sometimes passed as a result. Does anyone really think they are qualified to dictate how someone else chooses to live their life? Ask yourself if you want someone poking into your life like that and telling you what you can do.

    What is clearly wrong to me is the support provided to people who have children they can’t support on their own or all the unwanted children in the world. It disgusts me and I think it’s selfish of people to have children simply because they can.

    As far as making sperm goes, I think it’s wrong. There is natural selection for a reason. If you can’t have children on your own then consider adopting. We have seen time and again that playing “God” does not end well. One just needs to look at the state of the planet ot see that. Unfortunately humans are too arrogant to understand.

  69. 127 Tom D Ford
    July 8, 2009 at 16:48

    There is a lot of money at play in the fertility industries and I have to suspect that is driving a lot of the research and business.

    I tend to think that considering the world population problems we have, that we ought to pay attention to either Nature or if you prefer, “God”, and value infertility as a good thing and redirect that money to education about family planning and contraception.

    Just because you can do something does not mean that you ought to, and increasing fertility is one of those things that we ought not do.

  70. 128 patti in cape coral
    July 8, 2009 at 16:56

    I think adoption is an ideal solution to a lot of these problems, there are so many parents that want children, and so many deserving children out there, but from what I understand from my friends, the adoption system is very difficult and extremely expensive, at least here in the US

    • 129 Venessa
      July 8, 2009 at 17:11

      @ patti ~

      Sure adoption is expensive but you can spend just as much on fertility treatments. If you want a child bad enough and were willing to spend money on fertility then you can cough up the dough for adoption.

      • 130 patti in cape coral
        July 8, 2009 at 17:19

        @ Venessa – Good point, I wonder how much difference there would be in a side by side comparison.

      • 131 Roseann In Houston
        July 8, 2009 at 18:10

        My friend’s daughter just concieved on her second round of IVF – it was about $10K per round.

  71. 132 Clayton
    July 8, 2009 at 17:02

    @ Anthony – Not taken in a malicious way my friend. I recognise this as a valid debate.

    Good question about Liberia – my initial reaction is that I would give all my material possessions right now to have a baby. But that’s not going to happen so I will continue as I am.

    Also I don’t think I said it wasn’t fair. I just would love to have a child with my wife.

    Neither did I say there was anything wrong with adoption. I have always wanted to look into adopting a child even before this happened to me. I can definitely see this happening whatever the outcome of our fertitlity treatment (all self-funded I would add).

    Finally – If God and Evolution are enabling scientists to grow me some sperm from stem cells, then I’ll be signing up right away.

  72. July 8, 2009 at 17:02

    Salaam gang… In the Iraqi society it is considered a MUST for any married couple to have kids… When I was a teenager I was hoping to have six children when I get married, but now after growing up and coming into close contact with the real world that number has now dropped to four ! ;)… I am still single, but I do believe that inside woman, there’ll always be an empty space aching to be filled by having a child, my heart beats up fast each time I see a child and I am only 23 for God’s sake, I maen males can never really understand what motherhood is really about, and that’s why Arabs say : ”Paradise is under the feet of mothers”… With my love…. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

    • 134 Aboy calledhate
      July 10, 2009 at 09:11

      Lubna Says

      “In the Iraqi society it is considered a MUST for any married couple to have kids…”

      Don’t take this wrong but I think that is an out dated and flawed train of thought and tradition.

      Having a large family should be considered a mark of financial and social status.

      And it child birth should not be used as a weapon to inundate the world with a paticular race or religious group.

      Your fascination with a large family is troubleing to me. Wouldn’t you rather have just one or two and devote more time and attention to raising the to the best of your ability? Remember quality is more important then quantity.

  73. 135 Clayton
    July 8, 2009 at 17:11

    @ Patti – thanks for your comment.

    I don’t see adoption as second best, just a bit different. I think the issues that are raised now as I am trying to come to terms with what has happended (such as will I feel different about a child depnding on how it was conceived) will simply pale into insiginificance should my wife and I be blessed with a child, be it adopted, conceived via donor sperm or even by stem cell sperm.

    Right now it feels like those options are all slightly different – but I have no doubt that I would love any child in my care with all my heart and would do my absolute best to raise an honourable and decent person.

  74. 136 Venessa
    July 8, 2009 at 17:13

    @ Clayton

    I’m sorry that you are unable to have children and clearly that is what you and your wife want. However, life is not fair and everyone cannot reproduce. No one is telling you you can’t have children, nature is. That’s how it is. (Like Anthony, I do not mean this maliciously) Are you willing to consider adoption or are you opposed simply because you want the child to biologically be yours? That’s how I interpret your post.

    Personally, if I ever had children I would adopt although I am perfectly fertile. On the other hand my husband only wants a child if it is biologically ours. He can admit the only draw for him to having a child would be to see what we could produce and knows it is completely selfish. As a result we are not having any children through adoption or natural means and it’s that simple for us. No need to contribute to the world’s population when it’s not necessary. I also recognize that it’s not as easy for other people to make a decision like this, but those are also the few people out there that actually consider what bringing a child into the world entails.

  75. 137 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 17:13

    How is it a human right to have children if you can’t even afford to feed yourself, let alone the child? That’s like me claiming that I have a right to live in a nice apartment, paid for by someone else.

    • July 15, 2009 at 08:34

      Bad analogy. As my dear wife pointed out – you don’t stop living because you’re broke. Being broke never stopped people from having sex. Think opportunistic breeding instead – spreading costs to others; popular with the bird world; Bronze headed Cowbirds and Cukoos, neither of which is going extinct.

  76. 139 John in Salem
    July 8, 2009 at 17:22

    Just a point of semantics – there is NOTHING in this universe that is unnatural. We are an evolving sentient animal on an average planet doing what is probably normal for sentient species everywhere who have developed similar technologies.
    No one is “playing god” here. This particular technology is NOT unnatural – just incredibly stupid and short-sighted.

  77. 140 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 17:23

    @ Venessa

    “There is natural selection for a reason. If you can’t have children on your own then consider adopting. We have seen time and again that playing “God” does not end well.”

    So does that apply to homosexual couples as well that have to use medical science to have children, or should they just adopt as well? It’s biology that says you need a male and female to reproduce naturally, not a woman and a woman or a man and a man.

    • 141 Venessa
      July 8, 2009 at 18:01

      I didn’t say not to use fertility treatments or even give an opinion on that nor was I saying one has to have sex to have them. What I meant by “on your own” was that the individual was infertile and therefore was naturally selected not to have children. What I was referring to in the quoted paragraph was the the engineered sperm for someone who was infertile.

      I know quite a few gay couples that had IVF. They paid out of their pockets and everyone was obviously fertile, they just didn’t want to have sex with a man for obvious reasons. They know the donor personally. As I’ve stated, It’s none of my business but these are fertile people choosing not to have sex vs. someone trying to genetically engineer sperm to fulfill their need to pass on their own seed.

  78. 142 Kevin (Menlo Park, Ca)
    July 8, 2009 at 17:24

    Right to have a child? Does that even make sense? Forget that and think about the practical implications: if we forward technology to the point where people are having children into old age the carbon foot print and resource consumption in the Western World would be uncontrollable. Furthermore I’m sickened by such insistence on producing one’s own offspring. At least in the US there are orphans to adopt, as long you don’t insist on a baby or don’t insist the kid be white.

  79. 143 RightPaddock
    July 8, 2009 at 17:28

    I can’t believe that people who clearly live in the developed world actually hold some of the views they’ve expressed here, I want to believe that they’re only trying to stir the pot in order to get a reaction.

    Of course there are people who I’d prefer didn’t have children. But not because I begrudge my taxes being used to support the parent(s) and their children. But because the state so often fails in its duty to protect the children. Too often they’re warned by teachers, police, doctors, relatives, even by the people who pose the threat, of the imminent danger the children face, and they still fail to act.

    I note that most of those who claim eugenicist views have male nicks, whilst most of those who claim to hold an opposite view have female nicks.

  80. 144 Afya (USA)
    July 8, 2009 at 17:32

    I guess the answer to this question depends on who you ask and what their personal views are as they pertain to religion, the environment, social norms, etc.

    From a Christian Biblical point of view, I believe that “Be fruitful and multiply…have dominion over the Earth” is pretty self-explanatory. Its up to us to do so in a way that is both responsible and respectful (of GOD, humankind and nature). The question is, are we as humans capable of policing ourselves and not let the prospect of money/profit cloud our judgement when employing new scientific discoveries?

    I don’t think that GOD is insecure or afraid of science. I think he created human intellect and is well aware of its abilities & limits. I think that being able to create human sperm from stem cells is fine, but I’d like to be sure that proper ethics and safety rules apply to its application before it is used generally on humans.

  81. 145 gaston diang yaounde cameroon
    July 8, 2009 at 17:33

    Childred are a gift from God .there is no questoin if someone should have a child or not becouse it is not our wish

  82. 146 Clayton
    July 8, 2009 at 17:34

    @ Patti

    Not sure why it comes over that I’m not in favour of adoption. I am completely in favour of it and will more than likely adopt at some point in future.

    However I would prefer to have at least one child that is a biological product of both me and my wife, most definitely. If stem cell research can help with this then bring it on.

    • 147 patti in cape coral
      July 9, 2009 at 12:00

      Hi Clayton – Actually, I didn’t think you were not in favor of adoption, just curious. Whatever you do, good luck, it sounds like you will be good parents. At the time I had my children, there was not a lot of debate about this, or I might have considered adoption. I probably would not have fit the state’s criteria for an adoptive mother, however.

    • 148 Tom K in Mpls
      July 9, 2009 at 17:38

      Creating viable sperm from a ‘dry’ source starts getting scary. There are four aspects of eugenics that forms a grid. On one axis you have natural and genetically manipulated. On the other axis is voluntary and mandated. You fall into the the voluntary manipulation area.

      Your genetic traits left you sterile. A genetic ‘dead end’. Assuming a way around this can be found, is it good to pass this on? Then if it goes further and the condition could be edited out, where is the line drawn. While the intentions are good, what will the end result be. To me it is not a fear of of god, it is a realization of our ability to create our own doom. This is not an easy choice.

      As for the other axis of the eugenics grid, personal choice is good but often made by unqualified people. But who can trust the law to make a high percentage of good choices either, and that is assuming legitimate good intentions.

  83. 149 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 17:42

    People in “olden” days “needed” to have lots of kids because of the infant mortality rates. Very few children would survive to adulthood. Now most do, hence the world is getting severly overpopulated. If you want war, with lots of and lots of deaths, please continue thinkingi it’s everyone’s right to have as many kids as they think. The blood is on YOUR hands.

  84. 150 Anthony
    July 8, 2009 at 17:44

    @ Pink

    Dead beat dads, AWESOME ADDITION. Too bad we aren’t in office. Think of the money that would be saved and distributed more constructivly if so!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  85. 151 Anthony
    July 8, 2009 at 17:46

    @ steve and Vanessa

    I don’t think she’s talking about gays adopting. In the case of gays, I’m thinking she means that gays shouldn’t be able to use their seed evolutionarily speaking, but that adoption is fine.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  86. 152 Trent West
    July 8, 2009 at 17:48

    I think the measure of who should have children and how many should be determined by their ability to take care of the children. The problem is the poorest among us seem to have the most children. I do not advocate that the poor should some how be denied the right to have children but I think it is unfair to the rest of society for people who cannot afford them to have a bunch of kids.

    The issue for me is those of us who decide to have couple or no kids end up paying for other people’s bad decisions. I do not have a child but therefore I do claim any one on my taxes thus I pay more taxes than someone who makes the same amount of money but have kids. I used to volunteer at a food bank and I remember seeing a lot families with many children coming to seek help. The whole time I was thinking if some of these people had two three less kids there would not be here.

  87. 154 Tom D Ford
    July 8, 2009 at 17:54

    @ Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 8, 2009 at 15:39

    “… On the other side, there are MANY children that are abandoned, abused, mistreated, traumatized, etc. by their parent (s).

    … I think preventive measures should be strengthened, like sex-education programs at school and parenting courses. …”


    I would really love to see parenting courses for all children starting early in all in schools and repeated and reinforced yearly.

    We have a very destructive tradition in the three branches of the “One God” Abraham Religion, of following the King Solomon instruction of “spare the rod and spoil the child”, and also the idea of “put the fear in children early”. These two instructions are in my experience the root cause of many if not most of the psychological problems that people have.

    People, and children are people, who live under a regime of fear and intimidation create many and varied mental and behavioral strategies to try and cope with that fear and intimidation, and most of those strategies are socially dysfunctional. Examples are rebellion, giving up and becoming depressed, turning to drugs and alcohol, sneaking around the parents backs, becoming abusive themselves, lying, bullying other people, playing the victim, etc.

    Good effective parenting does not use fear and intimidation, it uses positive reinforcement of desired behaviors and does not reinforce undesired behaviors by giving them attention by way of punishment.

    I would like to overturn some three thousand years of King Solomon type destructive parenting and change to more effective ways by teaching children in schools. This ought to be a national requirement for all nations and international requirement through the UN.

    There are examples in the world where the children don’t do the kinds of dysfunctional behaviors that afflict children in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and I would like to see those three branches take a new look at King Solomon and revise and reject the idea of using fear and intimidation. I invite other religions to take a new look at their methods also.

    We can make better people by making people better parents and thus better role models.

  88. 155 Shannon
    July 8, 2009 at 17:57

    Facinating posts!

    I taught school for almost twenty years, and spent most of that time working with some of the poorest “at risk” American children in a variety of settings. I worked on Indian reservations, in inner-city neighborhoods, and in very remote parts of Appalachia.

    True, I witnessed first-hand the crushing cycle of poverty that accompanies early out-of-wedlock births and heavy dependence on government assistance in one form or another. Some of these young mothers–many of them involuntarily single–were far too immature to have children. They were selfish, incompetent and often guilty of abuse or neglect, or some combination of the two. Some resented their children, others simply did not care and refused to take responsibility. Many told me they consciously chose to become pregnant so that they could love and be loved. Obviously, they learned a few essential facts about parenthood too late. Needless to say, those kids were a mess–many are now in prison or have repeated the cycle.

    However, in those same communities I became aquainted with young mothers (and a few fathers) who were truly heroic figures. Not only did they struggle to educate themselves and better conditions for their children, but they did so while nurturing and encouraging those kids to build prosperous and productive lives. Many of those young students, now adults, are lawyers, teachers, physicians, and successful business people. In other words, not all poor people make bad parents.

    Approximately fourty-seven years ago an American teenaged girl became pregnant out of wedlock. The man who impregnated her eventually abandoned her to pursue his own interests. She ended up on government assistance for a time, and gave birth to a son. Despite the odds the child went on to do pretty well for himself. In fact, he is currently the President of the United States of America.

  89. 156 Andrew in Australia
    July 8, 2009 at 17:57

    Where do you draw the line? Where do you consider using immense resources or excessively unnatural methods and means to acheive something that simply could never be if left on their own. What about drugs to prolong life? No comparison as you could chew on a leaf or bark after a heart attack to heal the damage, a natural intervention. Brings in the grey area of life support, but there is a similar argument for not proceeding with such interventions then.

    On this logic however, I have always wanted to fly but I cannot. Therefore I demand that science and medicine develop the technology to grow me a pair of wings! Discriminating against those with aviation impairment is not fair either.

  90. 157 Keith
    July 8, 2009 at 17:59

    This doesn’t reflect my opinion on whether births should be regulated, but you can’t formulate your opinion by saying: “I was born and I’m glad!” If a baby was capable of making the decision, I doubt many of them would say “nah I’ll probably just sit this one out.” Not every baby can be born, that’s the sad truth of it.

    Almost every major societal problem is somehow caused/exacerbated by overpopulation.

  91. 158 Joy in Los Angeles
    July 8, 2009 at 18:05

    There are so many unwanted and neglected children in this world. It is morally reprehensible that people continue to create human beings at all costs and methods when there are children who need love now.

  92. 159 John in Salem
    July 8, 2009 at 18:06

    If you think you have a human right to have a child then you are selfishly ignoring the children who will have to die in order for your child to live.
    It really IS that simple. There just aren’t enough resources to go around and there will be less tomorrow.

  93. 160 saad, jaffabad, Pakistan
    July 8, 2009 at 18:08

    Well, I don’t think that some people should not have children at all. I will prefer family planning rather. Family planning might be able to create Utopian world. Any body who can has child he can have child and no body has right to interfere in it.

  94. 161 Tom D Ford
    July 8, 2009 at 18:09

    One thing that i find incredible offensive is a group of Conservative Christians, around, I think Minnesota, who are waging a religious war against Islam by trying to raise very large families of children to be religious warriors. That is child abuse in the extreme, waging war with child soldiers is against International Law and most moral laws in the world.

  95. 162 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 18:10

    Seriously consider this, since “ANY” was the key word used. Should everyone have the right to have children? What about the 40 year old virgin? No woman will willingly have sex with him. If he has a “right” to have children, how does he go about this?

    Should murderers on death row have this right to have children as well?

  96. 163 Anthony
    July 8, 2009 at 18:11

    This gay woman who decided to have a child with a partner, yet she can’t keep an adult relationship, and she want’s to have the child on her own? Why, it just seems selfish to me. Why does she want the child besides selfish reasons?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  97. 164 Bardly Geek
    July 8, 2009 at 18:11

    Loving and wanting a child is a necessary prerequisite.
    Having a realistic plan for feeding and educating it should also be required.

    The planet has added about 80 million more people each year lately.
    Let’s prevent the easy cases already.

  98. 165 Christa (CA)
    July 8, 2009 at 18:13

    There are so many children that need to be adopted. It’s entirely selfish and arrogant to force nature to do something it doesn’t want to.

  99. July 8, 2009 at 18:13

    We need more focus on preservation of social and cultural assets, rather than using technology to alter who we are. It’s mankind’s responsibility to just exist, rather than fiddling with the process of natural selection.

  100. 167 Melissa
    July 8, 2009 at 18:14

    I do not understand the need for IVF when there are so many children that need to be adopted! As a woman I do not feel that I couldn’t love an adopted child anymore than a child I birthed myself.

    There should most definitely be a set criteria for people to have children. So many young girls, uneducated and ignorant people are having children and the rest of us have to pay for it. In America a lot of people have more kids because they get more money from the government, and yet do not use that money to take care of their children! It’s disgusting.

    Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry is meant to bare children.

  101. July 8, 2009 at 18:15

    We need more focus on preservation of social and cultural assets, rather than using technology to alter who we are. It’s mankind’s responsibility to just exist, rather than fiddling with the process of natural selection…

  102. 169 Poul in Stumptown
    July 8, 2009 at 18:16

    I dont think that age has as big an impact as the ability to care for another living being.
    Some people don’t even have the know-how or want to care for the animals that they already have and then they want to have a child. This does not make sense to me.
    Gay or straight does not matter to me, just have the want , and the ability to do so.

  103. 170 Yona
    July 8, 2009 at 18:17

    As a queer Jewish woman currently trying to get pregnant I’m terrified of anyone trying to say who shouldn’t be a parent. Though I agree there are many bad parents out there, restricting people from have children is NOT the answer. I feel that, no matter how well-intentioned the restrictions start, it is only a matter of time before they come after perfectly capable parents-to-be just because they don’t agree with who you are or what you believe.

    Portland, Oregon

  104. 171 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    July 8, 2009 at 18:17

    Who would be qualified to judge whether or not someone is fit to have a child or not? At least in the U.S., it’s a woman’s right to choose abortion and I think it’s also a woman’s right to choose whether to undergo fertility treatments. I think it should be left up to a higher power or fate (depending on which you believe in) to decide who successfully bears children.

  105. July 8, 2009 at 18:17

    Reproduction should be a natural process.If someone has chosen a naturally impossible way of life such as homosexuality, then they should learn to live with its limits. Human should remain human not try and become super human. Stop meddling with nature.Learn to live ….naturally.

  106. 173 Tom K in Mpls
    July 8, 2009 at 18:19

    ‘The right’ seems a silly question when ‘the ability’ exists. Also past successes and failures are irrelevant in this debate. The question is related to the new possibilities that are available.

  107. 174 Bailey
    July 8, 2009 at 18:19

    I don’t think that society has the right to declare that one should be denied the opportunity to conceive a child solely on their physical inability to do so, much more should come into consideration. I would be much more concerned with those fundamentalists who believe that all, or the majority of scientific advancements go against “God’s will”. These are the type who are likely to deny their children necessary medical attention. As for Rwanda, their human right record places them in a different category all together.

  108. 175 DOLAPO AINA
    July 8, 2009 at 18:20


    Having children is a privilege but it seems people now take it for granted. Get pregnant and abort the fetus have kids and put them on to adoption, have kids had no proper care.

    A factor could be the laws pertaining to child bearing et al and the unrestricted freedom given to both men and women. If you can’t bring up a child properly or you aren’t fit to become a parent don’t impregnate or have a child as the case may be.

    Also, parental upbringing of the intending couples plays a part, if you weren’t brought up properly, how would you do the same to your child? You can’t give what you don’t have.

    Also it seems because of the “I can do want I like” mentality of a lot of uneducated westerners, they see a child or having a child as a trend.
    It is a privilege when you have it to cherish it.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria.

  109. 176 Chrissy in Portland
    July 8, 2009 at 18:20

    To those of you suggesting having a one child law I urge you to looking into the possible repercussions. I recently watched a documentary called China’s Stolen Children on HBO. I urge you to watch it or at least look at the synopsis (small excerpt below):


    Legal abortions are commonplace for Chinese families in the one-child era. Moreover, with ultrasound machines allowing parents to determine gender at 4-5 months, many first-time pregnancies are aborted if the fetus is female. This selective (and illegal) practice is the result of China’s traditional preference for sons; here and in other Asian cultures, brides migrate to husbands’ families, leaving their own parents to fend for themselves in old age. Because of this, parents covet male babies. In the one-child era, as many as 40 million baby girls have been selectively aborted – creating a gender gap that has left millions of men with little hope of finding wives. And while the black market for male children remains robust, there is a growing demand for girls as well.

    How do we have these types of laws in place (one child law, mandatory sterilizations, etc.) and safeguard against these types of problems (selective abortions, human trafficking, etc)??

  110. 177 Mike in Salem
    July 8, 2009 at 18:20

    Would it be possible to bring up the point of adoption? Yes it should be possible for anyone to have a child, however must it be biologically? There are tens of thousands of children that need loving parents. If adults want children so badly that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars and risk physical and emotional trauma, why is adoption not a more viable option? If there is love in your heart then any child could benefit from that.

  111. 178 Lori
    July 8, 2009 at 18:22

    It seems as if this question is geared toward woman – society seems to have no problem with men procreating when they are 60 or 70.

  112. 179 Charlotte in Houston
    July 8, 2009 at 18:22

    Such a difficult issue!
    I do not believe anyone has the right to tell another person she or he cannot have a child, but offering to interfere with the natural course of things to make it happen is a step too far. I feel very sad for anyone who wants a child and is not able to have their own but Mother Nature puts limits on these things for a reason. There are so many unwanted children in this world who are just waiting for a safe, loving home.

  113. 180 Amy
    July 8, 2009 at 18:22

    Any person has the right to have a child by whatever means as a basic human right. All of the irrational reasons people are presenting as why people should not be allowed to have children are purely personal and others DO NOT have the right to impose their emotionally driven, personal opinions on society. Keep laws off our bodies!

    • 181 James Loudermilk
      July 10, 2009 at 13:26

      Amy as long as the rest of us and goverment are picking up the bill we do have the right to impose what ever laws the majority wants. You open that pandoras box as soon as you except public money.

  114. 183 Miriam Hyde
    July 8, 2009 at 18:22

    Rather than licensing or sterilizing, realistic education would make a major difference. if kids – if everyone – were actually taught, not how to balance an egg, but the financial and emotional costs, they might think twice. However, unplanned pregnancies happen all the time. I believe in choice, but I also believe in free access to contraception and support for the baby, and for the mother during the pregnancy. I also believe that every pregnant woman/couple must have parenting classes before the birth, to teach what they never learned or may have forgotten.

    HOWEVER, I take absolute umbrage with the statement “Should people with…”

    I have a psychiatric disability as does my husband. When we got married, neither of us had custody of our children; within the first year, we got four out of the five (my eldest was already 19). I won’t say it hasn’t been very difficult, or that we haven’t needed assistance, but to have denied the children, or us, the opportunity to create a family together; to give these kids a safe, loving home to grow up in; to prove to ourselves we could be successful under extreme circumstances…no one has the right to deny us, or anyone else, that. Mental illness, for the most part, are manageable. Many of us work, are involved in our communities, are politically, religious’; in many cases, the only difference between us and our neighbors is that we take different medications than them.

    Killing off older people. Sterilizing the mentally ill. Low income? No babies. Sounds a lot like Nazi Germany, and the world was appalled. When did Hitler become God?

    Is it any different just because it’s 2009?

  115. 184 Marley in the Everglades, Florida
    July 8, 2009 at 18:23

    I think a two part solution is best:

    1) Stop romanticizing having children. When I was a teenager, so many girls thought that babies were cute and cuddly and fun, and genuinely didn’t understand that there is a lifelong responsibility attached to them. Some had babies far too young, because they thought babies were cute or because they wanted attention or because they used the pregnancy as a way out of a bad situation. They expressed surprise when the four AM feedings started, when diapers needed to be changed, when medical problems they couldn’t handle presented themselves.

    2) Improve education around the world, so that most people reach the point of being able to evaluate whether having a baby is the right thing to do. The decision to have a baby is often purely emotional, without considering the parent(s) ability to raise the child, or potential health problems. The question shouldn’t be “Do I want a baby?” but “Am I making the best decision for any future babies I might have?”

  116. 185 Mary Ann
    July 8, 2009 at 18:24

    As much as we would love to prevent the immature, irresponsible, or mentally inadequate to have children, we have to consider that any attempt to control reproduction is extremely dangerous! When any outside person or group has the power to make that decision, there is an immense transfer of power: look at Communist China and its one-child policy.

    In an effort to reduce its population, the government has resorted to the most draconian measures, and have left parents with unconscionable decisions. Millions of baby girls have been murdered because of their sex, because the government will not allow parents to have another child. Babies are abandoned to die painful deaths, neighbor turns against neighbor, there is no reproductive privacy whatsoever.

    Who should make these decisions? Governments? Doctors? Politicians? What a nightmare! As much as I hate the idea, we have to leave these decisions to families. In an imperfect world, there is no perfect answer. But we have to side with individual rights.

    Having said that, in no way should anyone be forced, through increased insurance premiums or taxes, to pay for extraordinary measures to accomplish a pregnancy. Infertile couples must bear the financial burden themselves.

  117. 186 Roseann In Houston
    July 8, 2009 at 18:24

    The question is about the “right” to be a parent. What about the rights of the child? The right to a mother who isn’t drunk all the time, or in jail. The right to eat healthy food, to not sleep on the street or in a car or in a crowded shelter – and I DO NOT think it is the responsibility of the state to provide those things!

    I chose not to have children – I do have dogs. I take them to the vet twice a month, I pay cash for their shots and their food, I chose my home with a thought to them having a fenced yard. The state doesn’t help me. Before I get another dog I do my budget and determine if I can afford to properly care for it…it’s a real shame that humans don’t put the same amount of thought and planning into having children.

  118. 187 Keith
    July 8, 2009 at 18:24

    Another point to consider:

    it’s often the families of the same people in question who will suffer if the wrong decision is made. It is their responsibility to understand the consequences of their actions, and we cannot influence them.

    The state is incapable of determining who is or is not capable of having children. If nothing else, it’s simply too difficult to regulate 🙂

  119. 188 DOLAPO AINA
    July 8, 2009 at 18:26


    Having children is a privilege but it seems people now take it for granted. Get pregnant and abort the fetus have kids and put them on to adoption, have kids had no proper care.

    A factor could be the laws pertaining to child bearing et al and the unrestricted freedom given to both men and women. If you can’t bring up a child properly or you aren’t fit to become a parent don’t impregnate or have a child as the case may be.

    Also, parental upbringing of the intending couples plays a part, if you weren’t brought up properly, how would you do the same to your child? You can’t give what you don’t have.

    Also it seems because of the “I can do want I like” mentality of a lot of uneducated westerners, they see a child or having a child as a trend.
    It is a privilege when you have it. so cherish it and the children.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria.

  120. 189 Ramesh
    July 8, 2009 at 18:27

    This is really funny… We are part of nature and if nature intended that each one of us could have a child whenever we wanted, women would have been able to produce eggs till they are alive. The very fact that there is an age that the human body stops producing the eggs is like a cutoff age for having a child. Anything after this is against nature. Anybody willing to have a child through the new means should be biologically fit to bear a child i.e. they should still be producing healthy eggs.

  121. 190 Mark - USA
    July 8, 2009 at 18:30

    Considering the limited resources of governements and the work in general, I believe there should be some limitations and everyone should not have the right.

    The Octo-Mom, recently in the news here in America, is one of the best examples. She wanted children and could not support them. The tax payer is now responsible for raising the eight children for at least 18 years. I also believe there is a biological age at which the increased chances of birth defects should outway the individuals, possibly selfish desire to have children. Perhaps those who seek fertility treatments (the Octo-Mom for example) should sign a waiver stating they cannot seek governement support.

  122. 191 Ben
    July 8, 2009 at 18:30

    I believe it is not a basic human right but a basic human decision. There are some degrees of being mentally handicapped where a person might not be fit for such a decision. In terms of the rights of ‘stupid people’ to procreate, we start treading down a socialist structure. Everyone has the right to think as harshly about other’s parenting as you want, but to put a controlling system on this would verge on the line of inhumane. I am all about eugenics in theory, but it is something that inherently can not be morally appropriate.

  123. 192 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 18:30

    For those who think there is a right for everyone to have children, given that overpopulation will lead to wars for resources and land, many will be killed. Are you prepared to sacrifice your children for the right of others to have children?

  124. July 8, 2009 at 18:32

    Regarding the state’s responsibility to support people trying to become parents, it’s important to remember that many of the world’s developed countries are experiencing a fertility crisis. The prospect of population decline might have positive implications for things like the environment, but for my generation (I am a university student), it also means there will be more and more retirees and fewer and fewer taxpayers to support them. If anything, I think people have a responsibility to have children, provided they expect to retire and enjoy the financial support of younger people!

  125. 194 A.J.
    July 8, 2009 at 18:33

    It would be lovely if everyone who wanted a child was able to do so… except for in a few very important circumstances. Some serious questions must be considered before having children: Are the parents (or parent) financially capable of raising a child to 18 years of age? Is there a great chance of giving birth to a severely mentally or physically disabled child? Are the parents of an age appropriate to 18 years of child-rearing (will a 10 year old be trying to enjoy playing Ball with his seventy year old father)? Do either of the potential parents have violent tendencies? I believe that anyone conceivably (no pun intended) able to avoid any of these possible scenarios should be a reasonable parent and “allowed” to be one. We certainly cannot make laws about who can be parents and of course ANYONE can and will have a baby if they damn well please whether they can properly parent or not.

  126. 195 Miriam Hyde
    July 8, 2009 at 18:33

    OR, what about people who lose jobs and homes? Should their children be taken away? What about parents who are abusive or neglectful? They probably would have passed “requirements” just fine. How can you know that if you are poor now, you might not improve your situation?

    Obviously, there are people who shouldn’t. If they have physical or psychiatric disabilities that are truly so severe that they are, in no way, able to care for themselves, that may be understandable.

    Other than that, no. Just no. This is wrong.

    Sorry for writing twice, but I am outraged that this is even being discussed.

  127. July 8, 2009 at 18:35

    Everyone has the right until they want others to fund it for them.

  128. 197 Tom K in Mpls
    July 8, 2009 at 18:37

    Another thought. Part of what keeps US health costs high is the number of procedures that should be considered as elective. In my opinion fertility related treatments should be considered elective, and therefore not covered by any financial support.

  129. 198 Kari
    July 8, 2009 at 18:37

    I think forced sterilizations of an entire category of people on the part of the government are probably not the best idea, but I do think that a family should have that option as it pertains to a disabled child. But on the question of heroic interventions for infertile families, I really wish people would more seriously consider adoption. Yes there are risks involved, but the same is true for giving birth to a child. I and my lesbian partner have adopted 2 children and they are thriving. My brother has adopted 3 children and they are thriving. My cousin has adopted 2 children and they are thriving. It is much less “risky” than the mainstream media would have you believe.

  130. 199 Andrew
    July 8, 2009 at 18:38

    I cannot how many callers are supporting eugenics: a disgusting crime against humanity that the worst groups in the world have embraced to deal with those they find inferior to themselves. For shame!

    Andrew, Indianapolis

    • 200 Tom K in Mpls
      July 8, 2009 at 19:41

      To rephrase the topic question: Is voluntary eugenics enough or do governments need to step in? Every time you decide not to have a child, you are practicing eugenics. Government control of it can be a help to society or abused just as with any other issue.

  131. 201 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 18:38

    The desire for children sounds exactly like codependency to me. Is that not a mental problem?

  132. 202 Tom D Ford
    July 8, 2009 at 18:39

    “Scientists claim to have created human sperm in the laboratory and believe the work could eventually help men with fertility problems.”

    As if there were no shortage of sperm in the world and so many very willing donors!

    I can admire the science but what need does it possibly address?

    Isn’t that a solution without a problem?

    Just because you can does not mean that you ought to.

  133. 203 Keith
    July 8, 2009 at 18:42

    Also, we are all aware that we have plenty of orphaned children that need adoption. It would be wonderful if infertile people adopted them. It would be wonderful if ANYONE adopted them. Don’t dump the responsibility of adopting the world’s orphans on infertile people-

    Why can’t a fertile couple adopt a child instead of having their own, if in your opinion, it’s just as rewarding? Who are you to decide that your child is more entitled than a child created through IVF, and therefore you should have a child and they should adopt?

  134. 204 Roseann In Houston
    July 8, 2009 at 18:43

    I admit that, when I think of this topic, I get a mental image of different families that I have seen on TV. Usually it’s around Christmas time, and it’s always a mother with a baby on her hip pleading for help (in getting something – toys for the kids, food, a job, whatever). And the camera backs up and there are 3 or 4 other kids gathered at her feet, and sometimes a husband standing behind her, and the kids all look to be about 2 years apart in age. And the woman tells her story and ALWAYS she tells a sad story that started 3 or 4 or 5 years previously. Either the husband became disabled 5 years ago, or the mother had a health problem 4 years ago, or they were caught in Hurricane Katrina and have been living in a FEMA trailer for years, or whatever. And my question is ALWAYS – why the hell did you pop off one or two more babies AFTER the tragedy??? I would feel sorry for you, would maybe send you money, but when you keep popping off babies after there has been a catastrophe that causes suffering for the kids that you already have, I do not sympathize with you – on the contrary, I condemn you.

    Ann – I do call these women “breeders”. No apologies.

  135. 205 steve
    July 8, 2009 at 18:44

    You could tie this show into the issue that I believe was portrayed on another show, where people sought designer defects in children. Blind parents wanted to genetically engineer children to be blind, midgets wanted to ensure their children would be midgets as well. So it’s basically an extension of this topic, but should people be able to have “designer defects” in their children by choice?

  136. 206 Ramón
    July 8, 2009 at 18:46

    Why should a lesbian want to have a baby? Isn’t it hypocritical. You make choice. Let babies alone. Why prevent children from having a father.
    Every choice entails a consequence, so you have to live up to your choices.

    Ramón Cedano
    Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

  137. 207 Jim
    July 8, 2009 at 18:47

    Apparently nature has dictated to Katie that she is a lesbian, a sexual orientation that, by its nature, eliminates the ability to have children by natural means. Why is it that she embraces the idea of her sexual orientation but cannot accept the consequences of remaining childless?

  138. 208 Yona
    July 8, 2009 at 18:47

    People say “adopt” all the time but they don’t have any idea of the limitations of adoption. My partner and I make a reasonable amount of money and have a stable loving household. However we have been told we would have a hard time adopting because of my partner’s thyroid disease even though it is well controlled and will not shorten her life. Also, the cost of adoption is very high. If we spend all our money on the adoption then what will we have left to care for that child? For us, attempting to have a child through pregnancy is the financially smart choice.

  139. 209 Evan (Oregon, USA)
    July 8, 2009 at 18:49

    In this country, you need to pass a test and/or get a permit to drive, add on to your house, get a job, get credit, etc. But you can have a child, and assume the responsibility for that child, without any qualifications whatsoever. Is it any wonder so many children these days have turned out so poorly? Has anyone out there seen “Idiocracy?” I would not want to have a child in such an environment, yet I have a real worry that future generations are heading toward another dark age.

    The purpose of procreation is to ensure survival of the species, in the face of predators. Species that reproduce too quickly and threaten other species are considered invasive. Could it be that we humans have become an invasive species?

  140. 210 Charles
    July 8, 2009 at 18:49

    Being a Vegan, a parent, and living in the US — I hear more than anyone that I should not have children, but this is coming from people who don’t understand what they are talking about. The notion that we are overpopulated is obscure and misunderstood. What the data represents is a mismanagement in resources.

    I am a sustainable engineer and have spent several years pouring over the ecological footprint data and calculations to determine that we have not even come close to overpopulation. We have come to the end of our stupidity and irresponsible use of the planet and its resources.

    Truth of the matter that if everyone only had one child (one child per person or two children per couple) then the world would never reach overpopulation and in fact due to natural disaster, infertility, war, etc our population would decline.

    You may call me at: 503-649-0757

  141. 211 Victor
    July 8, 2009 at 18:49

    I think that infertily is natures way of finding homes for childern in need. All across the world there are orphaned/unwanted and needy childern.

  142. 212 Yona
    July 8, 2009 at 18:50

    I am a supporter of negative population growth even though I’m currently trying to get pregnant. My partner and I plan on having only one child to lower the burden on the environment. We also strongly support open availablility of contraception and abortion so that every pregnancy is wanted.

  143. 213 Mike in Seattle
    July 8, 2009 at 18:51

    I’m 26, and my significant other is 27, and I just wish my friends and family would leave us alone about having children. We don’t feel we’re ready or responsible for it, and we wish folks would quit bringing it up every time we attend a family event.

    If we have children, we have children, if we don’t we don’t and it’s our choice to make.

  144. 214 Alexandrea
    July 8, 2009 at 18:52

    Everyone should have the right – given they have been EDUCATED in the Importance of parenthood!
    Tom DFord said (in support of Luz) “I would really love to see parenting courses for all children starting early in all in schools and repeated and reinforced yearly.”
    Then Finally he pointed out the Elephant in this debate – Religion!
    His point was about abusive parenting methods I would like to point out the Massive influence of religion on notions of womanhood = motherhood, Madonna’s vs. Whores etc. If religious dogma did not have the influence more people WOULD use preventative methods without the shame and guilt religion imposes.
    I whole-heartedly agree with the woman who said “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!” This is a radical statement in the “west” and our culture of privilege and ENTITLEMENT!
    Understanding the difference between CAN and SHOULD takes a great deal of education, personal agency and self-esteem! NONE of these things are encouraged or fostered in a world dominated by outdated ideas about womanhood, and motherhood.

  145. 215 Eric
    July 8, 2009 at 18:53

    I can understand the position of the caller who said there are too many people in the world, and overpopulation is indeed a real problem. When I was in my late teens I was vehemently opposed to having children for this reason, before I’d ever heard of VHEMT (the Voluntary Human Extinction MovemenT).

    However, now in my 30s, I believe I would be a good father, and be able to help raise children who are likely to have a lesser, if not beneficial impact on the world. If and when I find the right woman to settle down with, would like to have kids (only 2, to replace the us parents).

    To address the main question of today’s program, if for some reason my future wife and I are unable to naturally procreate, I would be unwilling to participate in IVF, egg donors, or any other unnatural way of ensuring the survival of my genes. I think adoption would be the answer, if we wanted to have children that much.

  146. 216 James
    July 8, 2009 at 18:53

    Hi All,

    I am writing from Berlin. I am the uncle of three kids that have been taken by the Social Services in the UK. The system has been rigged for families to fail. The Social Services succeeded in destroying our family by force-adopting our two beautiful children. The State looks at children merely as commodities. This is not a UK phenomenon as it is occurring in other parts of the world, especially America.

    It has been a ceaseless campaign of terror against our family, all because the government thinks it knows best!

    The words ‘forced sterilization’ remind of the Nazis!

    Thanks for tonight’s show. it is very interesting!

  147. July 8, 2009 at 18:53

    What about the American Christian Fundamentalists who belong to the “Quiverful” movement who think women should have as many children as possible? It’s not uncommon for “Quiverful” families to have 8, 10 or more children (all being home-schooled and raised to believe the same thing as part of their “Army of God”) . How do religious beliefs figure into the equation? And how is this different from the moral and ethical questions?

    Thanks! Great show!

    imbillorightsmanandiapprovethismessage in CLE OH USA WCPN 90.3 FM

  148. 218 Tom D Ford
    July 8, 2009 at 18:54

    Mark, I, make that , we, just heard one of those humbling stories that you mentioned on your bio, “old grandfather radio”.

    Thanks for making that possible.


  149. 219 Martin
    July 8, 2009 at 18:55

    One of the biggest impact on the environment is human population, with a population of about 6.4 billion the world has seen the most rapid degradation of the environment ever and this will continue so long as the population increases and human activities continue.

    The right of choice is a fundamental human right, but such rights must be exercised responsibly and that includes choosing to have a child or not.

  150. 220 Nikki
    July 8, 2009 at 18:55

    I have a similar story to the current contributer. My father left my mother before I was born and my mother was a drug addict. I rose above my upbringing but my younger sister and brother did not. They are both addicts now themselves and if my mother was put on birth control at least after I was born than perhaps my siblings would not have had to deal with their very troubled lives. I wish my mother would not have been allowed to have any of her children including me.

  151. 221 Susan Bruce
    July 8, 2009 at 18:55

    I don’t think, with the exception possibly of the age issue, that there is any ethical decision to be made about who should be allowed to get IVF treatment for the simple reason that, infertility is a health issue, and IVF is one possible remedy for that. Another is adotion of course, which I would view as preferable but, that is a matter of personal choice and I don’t see that anyone has the right to tell someone else that they can’t have children; we don’t make that decision for fertile people so why make it for infertile ones?
    The age issue is a thorny one. My own view is that children under 14 aren’t old enough to decide for themselves whether they want a child or are able to look after one.(incidently, the law saying that people under 16 shouldn’t have sex is something of a joke; most people do start having sex between the ages of 14-16 and, even if they choose not to, at 14 you are certainly old enough to decide that for yourself) I would also argue that people over 65 can’t reasonably be expected to be there for their children were they to have them at that age but, if you put an upper age limit on IVF, then there should also be a law to prevent healthy people who are capable of having children from doing so. After all, there is nothing to stop a man of 80 from becoming a father but, the chances of him being there for his child growing up are minimal.

  152. 222 John
    July 8, 2009 at 18:56

    I am born of a mother who suffered from depression and anxiety most of her life and a father who suffered from anxiety. Most days I honestly wish my parents would have decided not to have children.

    • 223 Roseann In Houston
      July 8, 2009 at 20:08

      John, I am the oldest of 8 children, my mother was almost always suffering from post-partum depression and my father was an alcoholic. He had a good job and we lived in a middle-class house in the suburbs with 2 cars – most of us attended private (Catholic) schools for at least the early part of our eduction. All but one of us has at least one degree, and we all worked our way through college. And yet….

      I don’t think about it as much as I used to when I was in my 20’s and 30’s, but I think there would have been a whole lot less suffering if my parents had never met, if they’d never had kids. It’s a hard thing to say… I respect you for saying it, and I want you to know that you are not the only one that has thought that way.

  153. 224 Melissa
    July 8, 2009 at 18:58

    @ Kevin (Menlo Park, Ca)

    Well said!!

    -Melissa (San Francisco 🙂

  154. 225 Andrew in Australia
    July 8, 2009 at 18:58

    Michael Jackson had a ‘right’ to have kids.. look how that turned out!

  155. 226 darcy
    July 8, 2009 at 18:58

    Remeber Eugenics? A forced sterilization project started in the U.S.?
    The same model Hilter used.

    Although I believe a lot of people become parents when then are not capeable, Who should be making the decision as to their parenting? the alternative is impossible to manage ethically.

  156. 227 mieke
    July 8, 2009 at 18:59

    Great program: some parents may have a right to have children but all children have a right to parents.


  157. July 8, 2009 at 19:00

    We might have the right to do many things in the world, not just have children. But that doesn’t mean all of us go and do whatever comes to our mind, or even have children. There are a few conditions that need to be fulfilled before a couple can have a child … like physical, emotional condition etc.

    All rights are subject to a sense of responsibility that comes along with it.

  158. 229 Daniel
    July 8, 2009 at 19:01

    This is a multifaceted issue.

    1. There once was need for all to procreate. The infant mortality rates were high, people died young. We as a society have progressed faster than biology. Yes, there is a biological need for many to have their own child. But does that make it right for us as a society as a whole? We need to progress beyond this thinking.

    2. Yes, there are “success” stories with those that are born from less than perfect situations. But when there are genetic, mental health, or physical issues that could impact the life of a child born in these situations. Statistics show that MOST of the children born in many of these extreme situations DO NOT succeed. We need to detach our own personal experiences from the argument and understand that many born in a similar situation cannot achieve the same. To believe otherwise is selfish and narrow minded.

    3. The fact of the matter is that having a child impacts many more people than just the one desiring to have the child. Namely, the child themselves. Being brought into a situation without any choice. Many would make the argument that that child may turn out to be a wonderful addition to our world. Taken to the opposite extreme the argument could be made that every egg should be harvested and then fertilized, because of all the potential posititve additions to our society.

  159. 230 Kelsey
    July 8, 2009 at 19:02

    This topic seems to be raised more recently (and I’m so glad that people are really pausing to think about whether or not they want or need kids). Unfortunately, many of the comments that I’ve seen in response don’t seem to be contributing to a solution, just expressing anger at the people whose choices aren’t understandable to those posting.
    Many amazing people in our history have been born into poverty. Many, many people alive today have had to grow up with abuse (my husband and myself both fall into this category). What will ultimately predict who is successful and happy in life does not have to do with the circumstances into which you were born as much as what shapes your childhood, and what you are encouraged to reach for and value.
    I am a huge proponent of educating boys and girls from early on about not only how babies come about but also when in any given month it is or isn’t possible to conceive – if kids grew up with that simple medical knowledge they would be more careful about when they were having sex, even when being careless about birth control.
    Also, I was disturbed at how much of the discussion has centered on Mothers and Women being irresponsible and supported by men – isn’t a baby just as much a Father’s/Man’s responsibility? Where is the talk of the Single Father’s? Where is the debate about Men taking care of children equally so that both parents can have an income? If the stakes in having children were equalized between the genders, I believe that the birth rate would fall tremendously.

    • 231 Daniel
      July 8, 2009 at 19:12

      I could not agree more. As a male in my thirties, and being a responsible parent to my son. It is amazing how many men in all races and social/economic levels treat being a father casually. As a man, nothing infuriates me more that these poor excuses for men cannot meet the responsibility of fatherhood. Personally, I think that failure to be a responsible should be high crime against society, and an imprisionable offense. Where then the “father” is forced to work and all of his wages earned go to support his offspring. Tired of being tollerant of irresponsible people.

  160. 232 Christa (CA)
    July 8, 2009 at 19:07

    We need to be smarter than our hormones. Wanting to care for and raise a child is a huge responsibility. If you’re willing to do that, then take the next step and help children that already exist.

  161. 233 Fingal
    July 8, 2009 at 19:15

    Whether people have a “right” to have children is the wrong question. The question is whether it is a good idea. The last 5000 years of human culture have been very successful in filling the world with human flesh. Now there are more people than our planetary ecosystems can support, though it may take a hundred years for us to exhaust the “extra” that those ecosystems have accumulated over time.

    The notion that a woman has an unexplainable urge to produce something of her own, and that thus she has some kind of “right” to bear children is not sensible. A similar line of argument, with which I also don’t agree, is that men have a built-in biological urge to rape women, and that since it’s a Darwinian reproductive strategy, we shouldn’t make rape illegal. I think the two arguments are similar: you may have an urge, and it may be biologically based, but that doesn’t mean we should encourage, respect, or tolerate it.

    So, no, I don’t think this “right” exists. At the same time, I think it would be very questionable for governments to act in some draconian way on this issue if other means of heading off global ecological disaster haven’t been tried first.

    As for the guy with six children who thinks this is wonderful, look dude, I’m sure your kids are great, but assuming this is with one partner, you have reproduced yourselves three times now. Do you have any idea what this planet will look like with three times its current population? Having that many children is either based on abysmal ignorance or is profoundly selfish.

  162. 234 Karol in Indiana - US
    July 8, 2009 at 19:16

    Having a child is a God given right and while God said go forth and be fruitful, there’s also the acknowledgement that there’s Gods law and the law of man.
    Sexual orientation should not be a determination, and I’m heterosexual. Age however is troubling. Some 16 year olds are far more mature and capable of raising a child than any 40 year old, while most are not. My 63 year old father can run circles around me, but the hard truth is if he were to father another child, what are the chances of him still being around to see that child walk down the aisle? There are people that are living on government assistance and still reproducing, even though they have upwards of 3 children. That’s wrong in my opinion.
    Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to think about telling a sex offender that they’re unable to have children because so many offenders made the mistake of dating a person that was younger than them by only a couple of years. Parents became upset with the elder – and BOOM – they’re convicted and tagged with a horrendous
    title. No, I don’t personally know anyone that’s had this happen to them, but I know it does happen.
    Additionally, there are folks with mental and/or physical handicaps that perhaps aren’t fully capable of raising or tending to the needs of a child, but who have more than ample resources to get assistance where they may have downfalls. Heather Mills, while a weak example, is one that I can think of. She’s well off financially and though she has a handicap, is obviously capable of raising a child.
    To sum it up… I think that while it’s easy to look and say this person or that person shouldn’t / can’t have a child – it’s unrealistic to think that we can police it.

  163. 235 Adam
    July 8, 2009 at 19:17

    Women that deliberately become mothers show a much greater understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and the ability to understand the pros and cons of the decisions they make in life than those that have unplanned pregnancies.

    Who has a right to be a parent ?
    Those that have indicated a strong desire BEFORE doing so.

  164. 236 patti in cape coral
    July 8, 2009 at 19:22

    @Tom D Ford – I thought fertilization treatments WERE elective! The funny thing is that my new insurance doesn’t cover a lot of contraception! I called them to find out why, and they said only the birthcontrol pills listed would be covered, which I had bad reactions to. They refuse to cover IUD, sterilization, diaphragms, or anything else. I tried to reason with them that it would be cheaper to cover an IUD than it would be to cover the birth of a child, but they were not amused.

  165. 237 Jim L.
    July 8, 2009 at 19:54

    Good debate.

    For those berating the Chinese one child policy, just imagine what things would be like without it – millions more mouths to feed, many of whom would have died from disease or starvation. Personally, I think they did the correct thing.

    With reference to the question, I don´t think being a parent is a right, more like a privilege – and one that has been severely abused, which has brought us to the sorry state in which we now find ourselves. I also find it obscene when I hear of multiple births caused by fertility treatment. If a couple cannot have a child for whatever reason, then they should just adopt. There are plenty of children out there looking for love and a good home.

    There is also no doubt that female education and empowerment means smaller families. This has to be the start and made a priority for all governments and aid agencies. I would also stop all the stupid benefits given to people for having children. That just encourages irresponsible behaviour.

  166. 238 All Seeing I
    July 8, 2009 at 19:57

    Yes, we should stop treating infertility and we need to go one stage further to save this over burdened planet. We should stop healing the sick. If, we did that, only those that have the fittest genes would survive and eventually we would have a much healthier and fitter population.

    We would be rewarding the responsible for a change and not the irresponsible! Obesity would become a problem of the past as being obese would lower the ability of one’s immune system to fight infections. Crime would also fall dramatically as drug addicts would succumb like flies to common ailments.

    We could easily expand the hospice system to ensure no one needs suffer unnecessary pain.

    • 239 Jim L.
      July 9, 2009 at 18:32

      @ All Seeing Eye

      Yes, very funny – given that your health system (if you have one!)/doctors/nurses all over the world DO make life and death decisions every day. If your disease isn´t covered by your health insurance, tough luck; if you cannot afford those HIV anti-virlals, tough luck.

      I wonder if you would prefer your taxes being spent on infertility treatment, or say, cancer research?

  167. 240 patti in cape coral
    July 8, 2009 at 20:13

    @ Ann – It was so good to hear your voice on the show today, and to put a voice to your name.

  168. 242 John
    July 8, 2009 at 20:33

    While an interesting question it seems moot, as the majorities are endowed with this ability. That said it would serve society as a whole should people take more care before procreating. Both of my children were unplanned but we adjusted our lives to become parents & have raised 2 happy, healthy & productive people.
    I was an unplanned child & was adopted. I have since met my birth mother at the age of 35. She made a couragous & difficult decision & I am the better for it.
    The important thing is that we as a people police ourselves. Childbearing is an inborn right, but it is then our responsibility to raise our children to the best of our ability. Should we become aware of abusive parents I would hope we would all have the good sense to do something about it. Otherwise we are free to raise our children with all of our assets & foibles. We might think that there are those that should not procreate, but I personally am uncomfortable thinking about whom would get to make & enforce such policy.

  169. 243 Marc
    July 8, 2009 at 20:43

    I think restricting who can and can’t have a child would just cause too many problems and perpetuate social inequities.

    However, what needs to change is how society views childless couples or people who choose not to have children. That choice needs to be respected as a viable option.

    Many, many people view parenthood as a vital part of their lives, but many others probably have children because they’re expected to.

  170. 244 steve
    July 9, 2009 at 00:47

    @ Adam

    Like Octomom?

    Isn’t the state supporting her decision to have 8 kids? or is it 10 kids? she already had some, right?

  171. 245 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 9, 2009 at 03:00

    In cases where men neglect their children a law should be implemented that makes the fathers responsible for providing financially for their children. Once proven that the man is the father of the child he should be tracked down and made to pay for that which he has deposited on the earth. If he is employed a deduction from his salary should go directly to the caregivers of that child and if he is not employed he should be jailed and made to work to pay his debt to his child.

    Society doesn’t understand that the greatest crime committed is the abandonment of a child by a father. This can have the effect of destroying that child’s life.

    If father’s are made to become more accountable by the state they would be more judicious in their sexual behaviour.


  172. 246 Lynda Finn
    July 9, 2009 at 04:10

    The trouble is, most people don’t discover they are bad parents until they fail at the job, by which time, the child is harmed.

    In addition, many women dearly want a child and plan for it and then, when it is born find themselves in the horrendous situation of not bonding with their baby.

    Society pressures people into having children and that results in many poor kids having a raw deal.

    The French have a proverb, ‘The children of lovers are orphans’ = some people have only time, love and affection for one another and there is nothing left over for the children.
    I know this to be true from personal experience.

    So where people are able to choose, sterilisation should be widely available.

    Where they are not, perhaps in the case of severe mental handicap, then those in authority (who are already choosing lifestyle moves for these people), may be part of an overall process which would give fertile yet incapable women the right to sterilisation.

  173. July 9, 2009 at 05:45

    As much I like to think that parenting should be free for all , in a globalised and organised world as today I would prefer parenting only after professional consultation and advise as a Life is important not just for bringing into the World but to carry it through LIFE. David.

  174. July 9, 2009 at 06:29

    A “right” to have a child? For a great many child-bearing is an attempt to secure a steady income or validate their ego or a simple result of proximity, opportunity and biology. People breed right up to the limits of their environment, like the other animals on this dirtball circling Sol.

    There is a vast difference between being an opportunistic biologic reproduction unit and a PARENT.

    Here’s a thought: As long as “society” is being asked to assist in a childs support, that same society has a “right” to expect the biologic parent to exercise self-restraint and discipline in further breeding. If they do not, “society” has a “right” to step in and protect it’s own self interest by imposing breeding restrictions on opportunists. Fair? Carry your OWN water then.

  175. 249 viola
    July 9, 2009 at 06:34

    Suppose that governments everywhere do decide that not everyone should be allowed to have children. What, then, would be the criteria the government would use to select persons who would be allowed to have children? A certain level of wealth? Education? And how would the government convince these well-off folks to undertake the expense and time it takes to raise many children if they were only able to reach this state of wealth by not raising children, thus freeing up their time to amass more wealth through work and by freeing up their money to invest in further wealth creation?

    If a government requires a certain number of babies be born yearly and has determined that no one but well-off people should become parents, then won’t they also tell these people how many children they have to have to keep the population up? Remember, huge swaths of the population would likely be judged unfit for parenthood, requiring the slack to be taken up by those judged fit.

    Think the moneyed class would stand still for that?

  176. July 9, 2009 at 08:02

    No further comment.

  177. 251 Lee
    July 9, 2009 at 08:54

    No one has the right to anything… The whole concept of having “Rights” is manmade… With that being said I suggest incentives to keep people from reproducing for example… Foundations funded by philanthropists could get together and offer young males cash incentives to have a vasectomy.. Think about it. If you are a poor young male and are offered to $3000 to get fixed you probably would do it. This would lower the birthrate among the poor. What a great benefit to society that would be and its voluntary. I can’t think of a better way for a billionare to give to a charity.

  178. July 9, 2009 at 10:20

    even by now,many people still cant recognise that some things if not everything are there because of the will of GOD the creator of everything.
    and talking about some sperms being manufactured in the laboratory,this isnt healing either,but letting the so-called impotent man act like that coffee machine…dispenser or whatever..or actually just like a water tank that doesnt come with the waters.


  179. 253 Ann
    July 9, 2009 at 11:00

    “I have a similar story to the current contributer. My father left my mother before I was born and my mother was a drug addict. I rose above my upbringing but my younger sister and brother did not. They are both addicts now themselves and if my mother was put on birth control at least after I was born than perhaps my siblings would not have had to deal with their very troubled lives. I wish my mother would not have been allowed to have any of her children including me.”

    Hi Nikki,

    I’m the contributer you mention in your post. I am so sorry to hear that you feel this way, but I can understand the feeling. It is a difficult challenge to let go of the hurt, the anger and put all painful memories in a place where they don’t haunt so much. It is even more difficult learning to truly value yourself when all through your life people have pointed fingers and looked down you. For me, the shame I felt seeing the look of disgust on other people’s faces was one of the most difficult things to overcome.

    I do wish you well Nikki and I hope and pray that some day you may feel a lasting gladness at being alive. And my kindest wishes to your brother and sister too.

    • 254 Aboy calledhate
      July 11, 2009 at 06:26


      My parents had six of us and couldn’t afford one of us. I love my mom but what a dumb butt thing to do. I don’t think it was her so much as my dad. He was one of those people who thought it made him more of a man to have a bunch of kids.
      He treated us like crap and beat all of us except two of us. I remember wishing several times that I would have been born into a family that could afford me and wondered what it would have be like to live in less financialy strained home. I, like you, I wished I would have never been born.

  180. 255 Ann
    July 9, 2009 at 11:07

    @Steve – “The desire for children sounds exactly like codependency to me. Is that not a mental problem?”

    Do you think this is true of your own parents Steve? Or were you an unplanned, unwanted baby? In either case, I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. And my best wishes to you.

  181. 256 patti in cape coral
    July 9, 2009 at 12:07

    Once again, I would be curious to find out what the results would be if sterilization were made available widely on a voluntary basis, or as someone above said, pay people to be sterilized. It might not be necessary to make it compulsory for it to work.

  182. 257 Austin
    July 9, 2009 at 12:19

    anyone who says that its amazin to hv yr own child thru your own body and blah blah, let me tell you its even more amazin to adopt a child if you so desperately need one.This is exactly what i’ve done a few years ago (we are able to have kids the biological way) but it seemed wise and thoughtful to care for a child that already exists without parents to care for.Isn’t that the reason we want to have kids in the first place ? to be good parents.The world already has millions of uncared for babies in institutions around the world.Trust me adopting a child and ensuring that child is yours and will be taken care of as your own is truly awesome.

  183. 258 Austin
    July 9, 2009 at 12:23

    July 9, 2009 at 11:07
    @Steve – “The desire for children sounds exactly like codependency to me. Is that not a mental problem?”

    Do you think this is true of your own parents Steve? Or were you an unplanned, unwanted baby? In either case, I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. And my best wishes to you.

    Ann we are a family of 05 and there are times when my mother said she had too many kids to take care of and in some way regretted it untill we all grew up and moved on but her time to take care of us 5 kids was terrible I can tell you as much as she would talk about bein a good mother.My point to you Ann is that we cannot turn the clock bak but we definitely can learn from the past and yes just for your information ann after the first 2 kids my parents had the rest of us were unplanned but were cared for since they had to.

    • 259 Ann
      July 9, 2009 at 14:28

      Austin – I hope you didn’t think I was meaning anything derogatory or disrespectful in my comment to Steve. I wasn’t implying that a child that was unplanned must be unwanted. But if you did take offense then I apologise sincerely. The comment to Steve was said in the context of the whole conversation and most particularly the posts that Steve contributed above.

  184. 260 EJ
    July 9, 2009 at 13:37

    I can’t help but think about George Orwell’s book 1984 in which all babies were produced from test tubes. The impact on society and need for multiple classes to manage the business of LIFE was an interesting concept that the book explored. It seems to me that any limitations put on Parenting are done out of public health, survival or economic reasons and can be justified on a short term basis but should not become long-term “Policy”.
    The inteconnectedness of our global economy and the advancements in our transportation systems have made the world a much smaller place. Just look how quickly a pandemic virus can spread. We can no longer think in terms of my locality, but, in global terms when it comes to population growth. As one person pointed out earlier, we are reaching the limits of a sustainable population given our current natural resources (especially clean drinking water) and the technology by which we supply those resources to our population so we should be considering ways to slow our global population growth until new solutions are developed to address the larger # of human beings on the planet. Last thought, as we think about who “should be a parent” just look at the criteria list used by our social workers who place orphans into adopted homes. Seems to me that there are some minimum pre-requisites that are needed to be a parent. But as George Orwell points out, the “job” of a parent can be “out tasked” to techonology and public services but in my mind the sum of the parts provides a much less “nurturing” environment then the packaging of the whole in a commited parental team.

  185. July 9, 2009 at 17:54

    If you ask me, there are a lot of things that one needs to consider. There’s the issue of age first, then the person’s mental state, how comfortable that person is and by this i mean are they able to provide for the child’s needs and also is the person married or not………… Basically, based on the above reasons, am saying not everyone has a right to be a parent but its everyone’s right when they are born to reproduce before they die. peace!!

  186. 262 David
    July 9, 2009 at 20:01


    For one, I would not want to grow up to find the only parents I have are two males or two females. I do not care what other people say. If people want to live this way, it is their business.

    Secondly, I have read with a gust the development in the UK of producing sperm in a laboratory. For whom??!.

    Just think this way, one day growing up looking for your biological parents just to learn that they are a test tube and a petry dish. Oh my God! Stop this madness. In my view, these so called scientist should be put in institutions and never to be allowed out again.

    Stupid thinking, stupid question and a very sick world.

  187. 263 LadyJ
    July 10, 2009 at 00:03

    Nobody has the right to say if a person should or should not have a child. However, I do believe that for the likes of baby Peters’ killers’ sterilisation should be enforced.
    I could live with that scenario far better than the revelation that baby Peters ‘soon to be free’ mother is due to give birth….Mark my words because it WILL happen.
    As for the rest of us, as long as you love your child then nothing else, be it money, disability or marital status, whatever, doesn’t matters. More to the point, it sure as hell aint anyone’s business but yours.

    • 264 Aboy calledhate
      July 11, 2009 at 06:10

      I guess if my tax dollars are paying for the birth and/or up bringing for the child that makes it my business. If you can’t afford to have a child you shouldn’t have one. Just like if you can’t afford to a new car or new house you shouldn’t buy one with the expectation of government or someone else comming in and making your payments for you when stepped in too deep.

  188. 265 Cody
    July 11, 2009 at 19:21

    I believe that this is a huge scientific achievement that should be noted and celebrity. I have known many people who would be great parents, but have had troubled having children due to fertilization or whatever reason.

  189. 266 Aboy calledhate
    July 13, 2009 at 04:32

    Let me just say one more thing on this and I will leave it alone.
    I know is sounds kind of strange but go with me here.
    One of the big arguments I hear in opposition to population control is that a great mind may not have the opportunity to be born.
    No matter what camp you are from, creationism, evolution or what ever it’s not a stretch to believe there is a ( for a lack of a better word) life force energy that animates all of us.
    I think that just because one physical vessel does not come into existence the life force will not manifest it self in another.
    With that thought in mind isn’t it our duty to make sure every life force is born into a physical vessel and into an environment where it will flourish unhindered by physical, mental, emotional, social and financial disability.
    If we as a species were more careful/prudent about procreation the world would be a more rewarding place I’m sure.
    Does that make sense, I don’t know that I have explained myself well.
    I guess those who want to understand will and those who don’t wont. LOL

  190. 267 steve
    July 15, 2009 at 15:21


    Well, there’s your answer. World’s oldest mother dies at 69, after having kids at 66, leaving two 3 year olds parentless. All because she was incredibly selfish.

  191. July 22, 2009 at 05:34

    Check out what the Indian Supreme Court has to say about the right of a mentally challenged person who is raped to have a child. And my reaction as a woman to the judgement. http://shreevenkatram.blogspot.com/2009/07/disturbing-judgement.html

  192. January 6, 2010 at 09:00

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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