In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 3, 2009 / 9 Shevat 5769

And Baby Makes 14

By Mona Charen

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The morning TV chats shows were chockablock with beaming doctors last week telling the birth story of the second set of octuplets in American history. "Good Morning America" was just brimming with exclamations of joy and wonderment at the successful live delivery of eight premature infants. Mike von Fremd reported live from the California hospital and Diane Sawyer interviewed two from the team of doctors who performed the delivery. Everyone was wreathed in smiles.

But while the safe delivery of any baby is cause for thanksgiving, this tendency by the press to create celebrities of parents who give birth to multiple babies is utterly misbegotten.

It would be different if this were a natural occurrence. But it very rarely is. Data from the late 19th century, long before the era of fertility drugs, found that twins occurred roughly once in 87 births, triplets once per 7,103 births, and quadruplets once in 757,000 births. Quintuplets were not even reported. But fertility drugs have now made multiple births far more common — and medical science has made it possible for more and more of these severely premature infants to survive. It's wonderful if they survive, and even more wonderful if they are healthy. But in a multiple birth involving more than two babies, the risk of early death and a host of medical and psychological problems — from cerebral palsy to learning disabilities — skyrockets. Assisted reproduction technology available, if used properly, can dramatically reduce the odds of multiple births. When a woman finds herself pregnant with so many at once, it's a failure of assisted reproduction, not a triumph.

A few days after the octuplets' birth, news about their mother began to leak out. We have learned that Nadya Suleman, 33, is a single, unemployed woman who already has six children between the ages of 2 and 7 (one of whom suffers from autism). The father of her new brood is reportedly a friend who donated his sperm, and Suleman is said to be hoping that Oprah Winfrey will pay her $2 million to appear on her program.

Maybe the party was premature.

Ms. Suleman was probably poorly served by whatever doctor agreed to transfer so many embryos into her uterus at once — though it isn't altogether clear how many were transferred. It is possible (though rare — one in 250) for one or more embryos to spontaneously divide and form identical twins. Still, in all likelihood, too many frozen embryos were transferred. Her mother (none too happy apparently at the added burden of all these grandchildren) told the press that her daughter had used embryos from previous in vitro attempts. Also according to the grandmother, when it became clear that so many babies were developing, the fertility doctor had advised Suleman to "selectively" abort some of them to improve the chances for the others. This, for understandable reasons, she declined to do. It is a stain on the assisted reproduction industry that any parent is ever asked to make such a choice — to kill one child for the sake of another.

Still, if her fertility doctor ill-served her, so did her society, by treating childbearing as a kind of self-expression. "She was obsessed with having children since she was a teenager," we learned from her friends. Well, fine. But she was clearly not obsessed with creating the proper environment in which to raise children. That environment would include, just for starters, a husband. An income would be nice as well, as would her own home.

But movie and sports stars don't do those things, nor even members of Congress these days. Consider Rep. Linda Sanchez, who represents the district in which Suleman lives. She announced last November that she is pregnant, though single. "I don't know how it'll be received," Sanchez told the Los Angeles Times. "I hope people will recognize that to be able to plan that in your life — I don't think that marriage and childbirth are black and white. There are certain instances in which you have to do things in reverse order." Yes, well, she needn't have worried. Everyone was totally understanding. No marriage yet either.

People think the old stigma about unwed childbearing was all about sex. It wasn't. It was about children and what's best for them. Of course some women want babies the way others crave shoes, but babies are not, or at least shouldn't be treated as, consumables. Badly done all around.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate