According to today's Dom Post, the parents of little girls suffering from cancer are having the girls' eggs harvested before they undergo cancer treatment. Treatment may damage girls' fertility, so parents are trying to ensure their daughters will have the choice to one day have kids of their own.
I feel fraught about this; and then I feel hypocritical for feeling fraught about it. I'm lucky to have no fertility issues: I wanted babies, so I went ahead and made some. If I'd been unable to have kids, I would probably have been devastated.
But the harvesting of little girls' eggs makes me feel yucky for a host of reasons. Here are some:
- It makes an implicit value judgement on the lives of women, suggesting that having kids is - or ought to be - a key life goal.
- It exposes children to the discomfort of what I've heard is an unpleasant procedure. Sometimes, as a parent, you've got to make your kids go through nasty stuff for their own good (vaccinations, for example), but the gain should outweigh the pain. In this case, I'm not sure it does.
- To me, egg harvesting seems at the very edge of what a parent can reasonably determine is in his or her child's interests. I don't like the view that kids are property of parents, and that parents therefore get to call all the shots regarding their kids lives. Sure, there are times when I make decisions about my kids' lives, but I'm reluctant to go too far down the road of deciding what is or isn't right for them. I'll make them wear jackets when it's cold, but I don't force them to go to church or learn ballet, for example. I don't feel I have the 'authority' to call the shots about some aspects of their lives (eg, their spiritual development, interests, future life choices about fertility, etc).
What do you lot think?