Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

I came across this infertility post today. In it, the author, Melissa Ford, questioned a Dear Abby column responding to a reader on the subject of financing infertility. Ford found Dear Abby’s response to be ignorant.

The reader was asking for Abby’s thoughts on holding a fundraiser to raise money for infertility treatments. Personally I think that may be stretching the limits of your friends and families’ love and generosity, but I agree with Ford and thought the advice given was incredibly insensitive:

“My heart goes out to you, but my gut reaction is negative. If you needed donations for treatment for a life-threatening condition, I might feel differently. I encourage you to explore other options available to you — including adoption.”

I know absolutely nothing about the emotional pain and heartache that infertility can cause, but I couldn’t believe that an advice columnist would be so dismissive about such a heart-wrenching topic.

Then I had a little moment of self-awareness. I remembered a conversation I had not that long ago with a friend
who was kind enough to catch me up on the whole Jon and Kate saga. My
reaction to the whole mess was astonishment that they had been blessed
with two healthy children and still had spent oodles of money on having
more.


After reading Ford’s post, I gave myself a bit of a mental kick my own
ignorant and thoughtless words in the past. After all, how dare I judge
anyone for their desire to have children? Still, there’s a wealth of
difference in questioning the ethics of spending huge sums of money on
your third child and spending that same amount of money on your
first…isn’t there?

I’m not sure. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a long way from having a
child.  God-willing, I very much hope to have a family one day. If I’m
unable to have children, then I also hope I’ll have the means to seek
other options. But if I have two children, I think I might stop while I
was ahead.

Tell me, do you think there is an ethical line to be drawn? At what
point is it out of line to have a child under any conditions? Do we ever reach that point? Was it okay for the original reader to ask for assistance in funding treatments for a first child as opposed to her second or
third?

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