January 31st, 2009

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Paksenarrion's World Website Update (minor)

The front page of the site is now just about done (though websites are never exactly "done.")

Ruta did a bit of site maintenance this morning, and removed the "under construction" note from the front page, then added three links under the  intro text, to make it very simple to go from there to the Paksworld blog, my home page, or this LJ.

I expect most of you have seen the site by now,  but if you still see the "under construction" sentence, refresh your browsers. 

Otherwise, the link:  http://www.paksworld.com

The main divisions all have content now, though the content isn't "full" yet.  I will be adding content--mostly background material for new readers or those who haven't re-read and don't quite remember some history bits or geography bits--over the coming months.  Eventually, yes, I'll get the map of Aarenis scanned in (when I'll have time to finish the map of the north is WAY up in the air.)  When my editor gives me the go-ahead, I'll also start posting "reader bites" much like the snippets I've posted on the blog. 

My plan now is that all snippets will go up on the blog first, and then migrate to the website, under the "fiction" heading.  But none are there yet, so don't be surprised when you can't find them.  They're on the blog, for now.

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April


Yes, I'm opening this can of worms.

I'm appalled.  Let me say up front that I don't care about the birth mother being unmarried...I would be just as appalled if she were married (and am appalled at that 18 child household in Arkansas, too.)  I wish the babies the best, now that they're here.
I'm appalled by several things.

1) All multiple births increase the danger for both the mother and the infants, and that danger increases with every additional fetus. The risk of permanent disability (physical and mental)  increases with multiple births, too.  It is utterly irresponsible to implant multiple fetuses--especially more than two--ever, for any reason, any time.  It is clearly a violation of the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, since harm to both mother and children is likely (and nearly certain for the children.)  As a number of fertility-clinic doctors have states, it's against standard medical practice.

2) Fertility treatments should be limited to the childless or perhaps someone with only one child. This woman already had six children.  Six is WAY more than enough.  She was not a candidate for another fertility treatment and should not have received it, not even with one embryo.

3) Her parents have stated that she has been "obsessed" with having children since adolescence.  This suggests a psychological problem which should have been dealt with before any fertility treatment.  There's a big difference between the parenting qualities of someone focused on "having children" and someone focused on "being a good parent.".

4) Neither she nor her medical advisors apparently gave a thought to the welfare of the six children she already had. Siblings of high-multiple births and/or very large families are often pressed into service as caregivers, expected to do far more work than they can do without compromising their own learning (academic and social.)  Moreover, in very large families, children do not get the attention and support that they need unless the family is well-off enough to provide adjunct caregivers, tutors, etc. to enrich their lives.  (In the family of 18 recently in the news, the children have to make appointments to get a brief one-on-one time with a parent.  That is NOT good parenting!)  Parents should be more interested in what they can do for the children they already have than in their own neurotic desire for more children.

5) There's no evidence so far that she, her family, or her medical advisors considered whether she had the financial, emotional, intellectual or energy resources to cope with a larger family, over half of whom (now) are likely to have long-term developmental problems due to being part of a large-multiple litter.  Others will now step in and do the work, and pay the bills...money and time that will not be available for children in smaller families who may need it just as much--but octuplets are a big deal, with publicity, so guess who will benefit more...the single mother with a single multi-disabled child, or the octuplets?

It was irresponsible to the point of idiocy for any fertility clinic to take this woman as a client without noticing that she was disqualified on grounds of psychology, previous number of children, and resources to raise 14 children.  It was irresponsible of the birthmother's parents to let her obsession continue without at least attempting an intervention.    If it was culturally induced (e.g., they brought her up to believe that a woman had no value except as a breeder) than they're doubly responsible, but I know that such obsessions can arise even in families that are not culturally pushing women to get pregnant.  At the least, someone (parents, acquaintances, and finally the doctors who kept giving her fertility treatments) should have insisted on a psychological evaluation of her obsessive behavior.

I have my own money in this pot.  I wanted biological children.  I was not able to have them.  I do know the pain of infertility.  I chose not to pursue the (then new, but already proven) methods of conceiving artificially because of several factors, all related to what I thought (you can disagree) were more important considerations: the existence of orphans and unwanted children, the overpopulation of the world, a few others.  In my view, people who cannot conceive naturally, without fertility treatments, need to think long and hard about why their genes are so important to everyone else that they must be passed on.  If they really want children...then they can become parents by adoption to kids who, without them, have no hope.  If they don't want an adopted child but do want "their own"--I see that as a lack of commitment that's going to backfire on their own children someday.

You are free to disagree, but keep in mind that I did serious wrestling with this issue--both intellectually and spiritually--over many, many years, as my friends had children and I could not...this isn't a set of quick, shallow decisions.  You're not going to change my mind that implanting multiple embryos like this is a disaster, not a miracle.