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.