The Demand in America to become a Parent

In our society there is ignorance (being uninformed) on many topics that lead to problems others suffer from. As a child I was unfairly stereotyped as a learning disabled child who should be coddled rather than challenged. The ignorance there was board of education leaders not understanding that every child is different. If it weren’t for my parents I would have suffered by never being challenged.

Now as an adult dealing with infertility with my wife we are dealing with a different type of societal ignorance and that is being childless. Time Magazine has published an article about those who choose to live a ChildFree lifestyle. While the article does hit on some key points how times have changed it does miss on other aspects such as missing the class of women who are childless by circumstance not by choice.

Pamela Tsigdinos a blogger an author of the book “Silent Sorority” dissected this Time article in her blog. I am a big fan of her work. In this piece Pamela points out how the Time article missed on the childless by infertility aspect, especially in the below part;

… especially when 33% of Americans believe having children increases social standing. Really? That’s the first time I’ve seen that lovely statistic. So those of us without children are seen by a third of Americans as having diminished social standing? Now that’s just cold.

This statistic doesn’t surprise me as those who are childless tend to be outcasted and made to feel inferior. In my IF journey I’ve done a lot of research on donor conception and adoption. Many of the issues in these communities are driven by the demand for babies that exist from those dealing with infertility. However, it is largely ignored by these communities that childless couples/people are outcasted and made to feel inferior in society. Being a parent is a privilege not an entitlement. But those who have that privilege are not superior to those who don’t. Granted this doesn’t excuse the parents who choose not to their child conceived through donor gametes or the parents who close their child’s open adoption or the hopeful adoptive parents who will say and do anything to acquire an expectant mother’s child. I don’t defend these actions. So I do understand why these communities would balk at this idea on the surface. But what this idea does is expose the underlying issue that leads to these actions.

If our society recognized the pain that comes with infertility, didn’t assume couples were childless by choice and didn’t outcast the childless and childfree communities many of the issues in adoption and donor conception can be prevented. There are many in these communities who feel the supply needs to be decreased to eliminate the problems. While I do agree it will help, it will only do so to a certain extent. But if you take away the supply you still have a group of outcasted childless people who go uncared for. What will truly achieve success is by addressing both the supply and demand sides of the picture. The fewer infertile couples that are outcasted from society the lower the demand for infant adoption and donor gametes. Makes sense doesn’t it?

That’s why those in the adoption and donor conceived communities should care about this and have it become a part of their platform. They would be the ones who would benefit from a societal change more so than any group. This change would help them achieve their communal goals.

As I said earlier I understand why these communities would balk at this on the surface, the entitlement of infertile couples to have children has led to many issues. But these people for the most part conceived children of their own. They would not understand the motivation their parents had to become parents. But what they can do is recognize it and have it become a part of their platform. It’s a way they can address the demand in America for couples to become parents.

8 thoughts on “The Demand in America to become a Parent

  1. Pingback: FRENCH: Celebrate me — I’m childless! | Rare

  2. Pingback: Time Magazine Promotes A Childless Lifestyle As The Path To The Good Life For U.S. Couples — State of Globe

  3. Mary Jolynn Harrison

    Perhaps this new move towards promoting the childfree way of life can lead to a new employment opportunity. Perhaps those who once worked for Exodus Ministries-the ones who recently abandoned their wrongheaded efforts to “help” the GLBT community by encouraging them to “pray the gay away” can be recruited to use their methods on those of us who are infertile. Maybe they can rally around the IF community and help us all to “pray away” our desire to be parents and in that way feel better about having to accept a child empty existence. I’m being sarcastic, of course-this would be absolutely heinous! My husband and I are struggling with IF-male factor due to a genetic condition that my husband was born with. Even if we woke up tomorrow morning into a world where the choice to live a childfree life was suddenly more acceptable, it would do nothing to quell our deep desire to overcome our disability in a way that we ourselves can live with. Even though it is biologically impossible for us to conceive a baby, we still long to be parents to a (reasonably healthy) infant or young child, and I daresay that we have what it takes to be good parents to a child. We are responsible people with a lot of love to offer a child, and who deeply wish to do so, despite the biological obstacles that threaten to make this impossible. I fully support the idea of making a childfree life less shrouded in stigma for anyone who finds themselves facing it, but my support of this does not take away the fact that there is a major difference between CHOOSING such a life even though you are biologically capable of pursuing something different, and facing the reality that has been thrust upon you by your biology. This latter group should not be discouraged from pursuing it just because they face a limiting biology. Imagine if we tried to resolve other problems with the same attitude-should we try to solve problems of hunger by persuading those who cannot afford food that starvation is just another form of dieting? Should we try to eliminate the problem of sexual assault by encouraging women to not report what has been done to them? IF people need compassion and understanding, to be sure, but we also need support to overcome our disease/disability in a way that we ourselves can live with. And those who are fertile should not be allowed to have the last word on the ways that we should have at our disposal in order to make it so. And speaking of those who are fertile, I refuse to take responsibility for the “supply” issue that faces the adoption community. I lay responsibility for that problem at the feet of those individuals who treat their sexuality like a toy and who carelessly conceive children that they do not have the resources to care for (and these resources are not limited to financial ones-there is a certain maturity level and sense of responsibility that needs to be in place before someone decides to take on the important task of parenting). Perhaps if these individuals were to change their attitudes towards their sexuality and who took some responsibility for their own fertility before a child is conceived, some of the problems that face their community would be solved as well. Maybe this is where our society needs an attitude adjustment-in terms of how we regard our sexual responsibilities-and less so in determining who should and who should not become a parent.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I’m so sorry and can empathize with you as my wife and I are going through the same thing.

      I guess my point was that those who look down on those who are unable to have children create a lot of the problems with the demand for children in society. Sure if it was better some would still form alternative forms of parenthood but maybe some wouldn’t.

      Thank you for your feedback.

  4. Mary Jolynn Harrison

    I apologize for the harsh tone of my previous comment. I guess I have just reached my saturation point when it comes to defending my desire to become a parent despite also being IF. I find it hard to read birthparent blogs where individuals who made very different choices in their lives than I have in my life feel so free to judge people like me for still wanting something(parenthood) that they were able to achieve so easily and without having to think about it. I agree wholeheartedly that those who are so strongly against adoption for whatever reason should not be allowed to dismiss the very real needs of the IF community as unimportant or as coming from a place of selfishness or a need to compensate for some shortcoming that they themselves have been fortunate enough not to have had to have faced in their own lives. Support must be a two way street-if we are going to support reform in both ART and adoption, those who are on the other side of this issue must recognize our humanity and help us to meet our goals as well. Those who have and can have children of their own should not have the last word when it comes to dictating how those of us who cannot go about building our families-unless those words and decisions are rooted in compassion-the same compassion that they demand and are entitled to in their struggles. They will not cure past hurts by lashing out at vulnerable people here in the present. And yes, I called IF people vulnerable-because we are.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      No need to apologize. I appreciate your feedback.

      I think you have to empathize with the birthparent perspective. Many of them had no support systems and had open adoptions that became closed. They have hurt as well that should not be ignored.

      I’ve found if you are patient, engage with them and show a willingness to learn you will gain valuable knowledge about adoption.

      Best wishes to you and your husband.

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