[DASH of SAS] Frozen eggs and other babymaking methods
Over dinner with a friend that I haven’t seen in a while, the catch-up conversation inevitably went from what have you been up to and what have you been doing to more personal matters.
Her job was great. She was going places, both literally and figuratively, but had no current beau, only a recent ex.
“So I had ‘em put in the fridge,” she whispered to me and I immediately knew what she meant. She had her eggs harvested and put in frozen storage to be thawed out when and if they are going to be fertilized in one way or another.
It is a conversation I’ve been having lately with a lot of female friends who have triumphantly checked off car, career, title, house, and have topped it off with to die-for-shoes. There had mostly everything except the relationship bit didn’t work out, was just not on the radar, or was simply missing. That and the baby.
But at least, the baby she could do something about.
Babymaking: The Alternatives
Another friend is exploring artificial insemination and is undeterred by the lack of (or total absence? No one really seems to know for sure) sperm banks in the country. She’s had to look abroad for the kind of offshore sperm banking she needs and was relieved to find out that courier companies have both the knowledge and the capacity to ship this kind of delicate-do-not-delay freight.
Another is thinking about adopting and studying current adoption laws in the Philippines. And yet another is wondering about surrogacy.
Sure, these women would like there to be a co-parent, but if no one was going to step up to the plate (or the current flame didn’t see kids in the future), they were ready to take the matter into their own hands. These are women who are financially stable, know exactly what they are getting into, what parenthood will entail – they are ready and very much willing. Which is actually more than I can say for the over 1 million annual mistimed pregnancies in this country.
This all reminded me a lot of what Sharon Stone was quoted as saying, “Don’t wait for a man to give you children. Do it yourself.” So she did and adopted 3 kids. Sandra Bullock did, too, and incidentally, Judy Ann Santos adopted her daughter, Yohan, before she and Ryan Agoncillo became a couple.
I interviewed Judy Ann for a fashion magazine before they got married and on adopting Yohan, she said, “If I was going to get married, ok. If not, ok din. But I just knew I wanted to have a baby.”
I lauded these women for their courage, but mostly, I was overjoyed that many giant leaps in science have made for many more small steps for womanity in the form of proactive choices when it comes to having a baby and becoming a mother.
Sure, an egg and a sperm are still needed in the equation, but they could find each other under the light of a petri dish instead of the dark canals of a woman’s reproductive tract (in-vetro). The 'lil swimmers could also be given a direct push in the right direction via artificial insemination.
Of course, I’m making light of the matter and oversimplifying things. But the crux of it is that having these options is extremely liberating for women. It takes the immense pressure off the ticking biological clock and when you take the snooze off of that, you wake up to clarity. The lucidity to see and evaluate the potential of the next relationship rather than just a potential sperm donor; the rationality not to settle for a man just for the sale of having one, being with someone or again, having a sperm donor.
Have I said sperm too much already?
The gift of feminism
A few years ago at the BlogHer Conference that I attended in New York, there was a big debate sparked by Anne Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.
Like Slaughter, many moms wanted to give up their jobs and spend more time with their children.
Some feminists were angered. Our forerunners had spent most of their lives lobbying and fighting tooth and nail for a woman’s right to work and advance in the workplace and now, the women who could fully enjoy this privilege wanted to stay home and raise their kids?
But that wasn’t really the point anymore. We were way past the era where women could only stay at home and only dream about the career. We were already at the stage where women can have a career without having to give up the thought of being a mother.
Women don’t have to stay at home, take care of the kids, and just wonder what it would be like to have a career. Conversely, the trade off of a successful career does not mean having to remain single and childless. And in the same measure, women can choose not to have children at all – independent of whether or not they are married or in a relationship.
And that is the greatest gift of feminism - the right to choose.
Feminism, technology, and science have changed the lopsided paradigm for women when it comes to having children later on in life or not having them at all. It has minimized the trade-offs and maximized the gains. She can define what having it all means to her, according to her and not somebody else. – Rappler.com
Artificial fertilization image from Shutterstock