Monday, February 2, 2009

I Just Have To Ask...

Media, you are truly a fickle bitch.

I am trying to understand what selection process takes place when the writers of media choose what stance to take on certain issues. The reason I'm thinking about this is the octuplets that the news people are currently fixated on.

Yes, it is insane that this woman, who already has six children, no job, no partner, and lives at her parents's home, would choose to undergo invitro fertilization and become pregnant again. No way am I going to try to justify or defend that. It was irresponsible, of course. Reckless even.

But does anyone remember the McCaughey septuplets from 1997? They were also born as result of fertility treatments. The parents already had one child. They were not wealthy enough to afford these children on their own. If I recall, their hospital bill came to something like $135M dollars! Yes, million!

The difference: the McCaugheys were media darlings. Sure, there were a few people saying how irresponsible it was and this and that, but mostly they were given gifts: full scholarships, a new van, a new house, two years worth of diapers, and free nanny services, to name a few.

I just read one news article that, in the same paragraph, scathingly criticized the mother of the octuplets for attempting to capitalize on the publicity by means of a book and/or movie deal, and then immediately followed by saying that taxpayers would be raising these children. Umm, make up your mind! If she sells her story then she'll have money to raise her own children. If people want to buy it, why not?

And please explain to me how that would be any different than the popluar reality show Jon & Kate Plus 8. They have twins and septuplets. The show is centered around the eight kids, whom the mother gets to stay home with because of the money made from the show. I've never heard anyone say how horrible or irresponsible it was for them to have invitro, or accuse them of being exploitative. Everyone just says "Awwww."

So what is the magic ingredient? Is the mother of the octuplets getting such bad press due to the fact she already had six children? If so, I can at least understand that.

Is it simply due to the bad financial timing?

Or is some of this stemming from the fact that there is no man in the picture? I think so.
Neither of the other two families mentioned above could afford the hospital stay for their pregnancies alone either, despite their being a daddy at home. Hell, only Brad and Angelina could afford that many kids- and look! Even they are criticized for it by certain members of the media for adopting and having so many children.

I'm sorry for such an unfocused rant. I am just puzzled by the media logic of "it was okay then, but not now."



Blicky Kitty said...

I can't figure it out. If I had enough of an attention span I might be able to keep my moral/judgement systems properly calibrated in between media barrages. Geez the media should travel back in time to any catholic neighborhood c. 1970.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I think it was never ok when you look at the metric which most matters. Being able to give each child the time, energy, attention and love it needs. Only a superhuman could manage such a thing. Money is not the thing that really matters in the end. It is other people and how we treat them.

From a societal standpoint, one such selfish family diverts massive resources from many other needy families. Also if this becomes a trend there will be no book deals or tv shows, just quiet poverty.

Annika said...

Hi, I am going to write a freakin' novel about this.

The McCaughey septuplets were almost certainly the result of fertility drugs, and the Jon + Kate sextuplets definitely were. Fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries to make you ovulate LOTS OF EGGS, and then you either have sex or have an IUI (which is where the sperm is "washed" and then inserted, turkey baster style). So there is no way of knowing how many eggs will fertilize.

This woman, however, is saying she had IVF. In IVF, the ovaries are stimulated and the eggs are harvested and fertilized in a petrie dish. If any fertilize, they are transferred back into the uterus - but only one, two, or (SOMETIMES) three of them. Different clinics have different success rates of implantation (actually becoming pregnant once the embryos is put into the uterus - which is awfully confusing when I put it that way, but it has to implant to be a pregnancy), but I think they hover between 25-50%. I know two couples with IVF twins. One of them transferred three embryos, one transferred two. I also know of several people who've transferred who and had a singleton pregnancy.

The problem with the octuplets is that no doctor on earth should have transferred enough embryos to create octuplets. Even if they all split into identical twins (impossible since it wasn't a 4/4 split boy/girl), which is SO UNLIKELY, four is too many embryos. It is so unethical I could spit. Those babies should not have survived, honestly. It is a miracle. And she shouldn't be doing so well either.

I want the head of that doctor on a fucking platter. And I think the mother should get some psychiatric help.

But I have no idea why the media fawns over some parents of multiples and not others. Maybe because this woman has been secretive about so much of it? I don't know.

*mary* said...

Sorry Annika, even after you just differentiated the fertility processes for me I still used the same INCORRECT terminolgy.
I'm one of those people that call any vaccuum a Hoover, I guess.
I do understand the difference better now, and I am thoroughly digusted that someone thought this would be okay.
See- the news is really off mark. They are still yammering about her when they should be reporting on WHO let this happen. What medical professional did this, and WHY?!

*mary* said...

Also, I hate that this woman's doctor is so grossly abusing these fertility techniques that are designed to help people have children. Maybe the media attention- if nothing else, will get doctors like this a little necessary scrutiny to prevent this fom happening again.

Annika said...

You know, it is possible that I know WAY too much about assisted reproduction technology, at least for someone who conceived her only child on, ahem, the first try.

minerva1822 said...

I must say that the media about these things disgust me more than the actual women or families that decide to have these it right that they want these children?, no one in their right mind and thinking of all the pros and cons no matter how much money they have would be considered sane to me.
but on the other hand..who are we to say that they cant love that many..its irresponsible and it isn't right but the media is judging this woman not only because of her lack of cash but because of the fact she is single and supposedly unable to love all 13 of her children...still not saying its right but once again who are we to judge.
for me its also no different than 1 woman whoring around having a crap load of single babies...i know plenty of women that live off welfare with a dad in the home doing nothing and they have 9 kids from 9 pregnancies...or how about drug addicts that have loads of babies and all of them are going into foster homes? there a difference?..nope not to me..but you never see this on the media except in politics about welfare cost or raising it for these low income families or in drug related programs. you would think that they would do something about these women and families but it doesn't happen...instead they still let them have children and say nothing.
either makes me sick

minerva1822 said...

but i also think it retarded and a waste of my time when i see HEADLINES posting about miley cyrus and how she doesn't like a hand me down car (which i must add is a Porsche) so she trades it in...a waste of time and paper if you ask me. not everyone with intelligence of any kind could care about this shit.

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