What Age Parenthood?
Apparently, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband has decided that they are going to have a baby. How does a 94-year-old woman have a baby? Good question. I guess the plan is for her husband to inseminate a donor egg and then for a surrogate to carry the child. An article on CNN states that this will never happen because no reputable infertility specialist would help Prince Frederick von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa due to the fact that their combined ages are over 100.
The key phrase here is reputable. Octomom, anyone?
But it does beg the question at what age a woman or a couple should not be able to become parents. Men can father children until death, especially since we now have Viagra. Should we withhold it from them? Or should we just insist that men that have to use Viagra or some other drug in order to perform sexually be required to undergo vasectomies?
If two gay men wanted to be parents, and one of the men was 48 years old, and his partner was 52, then should they not be allowed to purchase the services of a surrogate? How about the single woman without a partner? I know there are women that have given birth in their 50s and 60s. Yes, it’s rare, but it has happened.
Should we say that any single person over the age of 50, regardless of sex, shouldn’t be assisted with fertility issues? That is half of 100, after all. And the child of a single parent is especially vulnerable. If the parent passes away or if the parent’s health is compromised, then there’s no one to pick up the slack.
Annie Liebowitz gave birth for the first time at 51. Years later, a surrogate carried twins for her. Diane Keaton adopted for the first time at 50. Are they bad mothers due to their age? Are they less entitled to the experience than younger people?
I don’t think there should be any hard and fast rules. The thing about women like Annie Liebowitz and Diane Keaton and the kinds of women who can fund infertility treatments that help women beyond normal childbearing years become pregnant is that they have resources that us normal folk do not. Kelly Preston not only has a husband and a fat bank account she also presumably has a support network of people and employees that can help pick up any slack and provide for her new baby Benjamin should she and John die or become severely incapacitated.
It might not be fair. But life isn’t fair. You didn’t get the memo?
Each case is different and unique. Ideally, people who lack the resources to be good parents shouldn’t be given children. Life doesn’t work that way. Eleven-year-old girls get pregnant without assistance or effort. When this happens should we just shrug our shoulders and say that nature knows best? Obviously, she’s supremely qualified to be a parent by virtue of conception, gestation, and labor. But should the baby be taken from her?
Again, the answer depends upon the circumstances. Can the child be well cared for? Does the mother have the support of her own parents? Does she have the support of the father, the father’s parents (because God forbid the father be an adult; if so, I sincerely hope he’d be in jail for the first several years of the kid’s life)?
I’ve said before that I think nature makes women infertile at a certain age for a good reason. Do I think that means that women shouldn’t be allowed to be mothers once they reach a certain age? Not across the board, no. I think it should be evaluated on a case by case basis. There are children in elementary school now who suffer from diabetes and, less often, the reverse is true, and a 40-year-old has the body of a 25-year-old. Some people shouldn’t have children just because they can.
Technically, I could probably conceive a baby without medical intervention. But should I? I’m 39, overweight, diabetic, with high blood pressure. I do not have family support nearby. I do not have a large family. I am lucky to provide financially for myself. I can’t for the life of me think of someone that I could trust to provide for a child of mine if I died or became ill or incapacitated nor do I have the resources to provide that for a child. Should I have a child? Hell, no.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Zsa Zsa and her husband should be allowed to bring a child into this world. The idea would be absurd, but more shocking things have been known to happen. The reason I don’t think they should be allowed to have a child has more to do with the fact that neither of them are prepared to take care of a baby. Yes, there is more to it than just being able to provide financially. And Zsa Zsa’s been rumored to have money problems recently. We all know Prince Frederick didn’t marry Zsa Zsa for her youth and beauty, so that means that his pockets are shallower than his gene pool. And that’s sayin’ something!
Prince Frederick wants a baby as an ego thing or an immortality thing or maybe, sadly, just to secure his hold on Zsa Zsa’s estate after her death. And we all know the best reasons to want a child aren’t about what a child can do for you but what you can do for a child. In fact, in an ideal world we would apply the John F. Kennedy principle to all matters of fertility.
But the world isn’t an ideal place. You didn’t get the memo?
Entry filed under: Celebrity, Children, Family Planning, Health, Love, Social Commentary, Women's Rights. Tags: CNN, Diane Keaton, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, Infertility, John F. Kennedy, Kelly Preston, Surrogacy, Zsa Zsa Gabor.