After my post last week about why I don’t hate Nadya Suleman, quite a few people insisted on the importance of personal responsibility in the blame-game about who bears the responsibility for the octuplet debacle. (Because while I’m as glad as anyone that the babies are all alive and relatively well, “debacle” it is, for so many reasons…)
I’m sticking to my guns and insisting right back that a woman as compromised in decision-making as Nadya Suleman obviously is (for whatever reason or reasons) deserves the help of society in making decisions as major as whether or not to have a high risk pregnancy (which the transfer of 6 embryos invites), let alone whether or not to bring multiple children of fragile health into the world with few resources at her disposal for their care.
Now I am passionately pro-choice. And as a lesbian whose right to be a parent who is constantly volleyed about rhetorically by the forces of the Right and the Left, whose identity as a “real” parent is challenged by people who don’t understand adoption, let alone transracial adoption, I am loathe to suggest we drag decisions about who can and can’t be a parent into the realm of regulation.
But I do think regulating the creation of high-risk pregnancies and high-needs premature babies is more than reasonable: it’s a moral imperative. I am not talking about disallowing assisted reproductive technologies, to which dear friends of mine owe their own beloved children. I am talking about applying reasonable standards of care that still allow for individual variations of risk and health.
In Wednesday’s edition of The Week, Tish Durkin discusses this very idea by comparing the situation of Suleman’s fertility specialist to the situation of similar doctors in a European context:
“Come on, guys. In Belgium, a doctor who [transfers] more than one embryo in a woman of Suleman’s age and fertility-treatment track record is breaking the law. In Britain, any doctor who transfers more than three embryos into any woman for any reason is very likely to lose his license. In the U.S., Dr. Michael Kamrava [transfered six embryos into Suleman]