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2 posts categorized "parenthood"

July 25, 2008

Australia's Most Loved Lesbian Couple

When I wrote the post, Wrongful Birth, the lawsuit was still in the wings but now, a year later, Australia's most 'loved' lesbian couple have lost their compensation claim. The couple claims that both children are cherished but the entire lawsuit raises many questions, questions that these children will no doubt come across when they're older: one twin is wanted, while the other is viewed as the mistake. And it's not the type of jocular mistake, but one that involved lawyers and appeared in the media.

There are two ways to anger people who are unable to conceive, and require IVF: announce your pro-choice stance on abortion or be either a gay or lesbian couple and begin legal proceedings for financial compensation for 'wrongful' birth when your combined income exceeds $100,000.

This case is unique in Australia. In fact, there have been no similar cases. Suing an IVF doctor for an extra embryo? Everyone knows that there is a chance of failure with one embryo,  hence the second (or third). This sort of legal case can also be used as an argument against same-sex parenthood (where IVF is concerned) and will no doubt lead to an amendment of most documents to include a clause that prevents people from suing doctors for extra embryos or twins.

The bulk response? People are saying, at least in newspaper comments, that this couple should consider themselves lucky (among other comments that aren't nice) to have two healthy babies, and I tend to agree and I think this couple has -in its own ironic way - reversed the efforts of other same-sex couples. After all, Australia has never experienced a  heterosexual couple suing a doctor for an extra IVF embryo and it is quite unheard of in other parts of the world.

In terms of abortion, many arguments can be made, ranging from a woman's inability to be a parent, rape and contraceptive failure. But to desire children, pay all that money for IVF, and then sue a doctor for an extra embryo when you're not living on the financial breadline is extraordinary. A sign of the social times? How will this affect other Australian lesbian couples who seek IVF to help them along? Will they be forced to go through more contractual hurdles? Will it alter legislation? Can an absurd legal case, such as this one, erode the reproductive rights of other lesbian couples? How would the doctors feel. How does this doctor feel after going through a trial? Would he be really motivated to help more lesbian couples after being hurled through the legal system? I doubt it. But you see, this couple don't think of other 'fellow lesbians,' it's all about them. They 'cherish' the children, but sued for the undesired extra child and are presently viewing further legal options. Go figure.

I agree with writer Jenny Wills:

"There is something so terribly sad about a couple who view the birth of healthy twin girls as a mistake for which they should be compensated."

And Jenny is being nice.

Me? I'm not so nice. I think it's unhinged.They're like pet owners who decide to surrender pet to the RSPCA after deciding it's too much work for them, except they're asking for a lifetime of compensation - for a doctor to pay for their other daughter's upbringing.

Viva la Feminism!

April 17, 2008

One Foot Out of the Nest

There comes a time in a parent’s life when children prepare to step into the wider world and a part of that process are the additional questions that pepper dinner conversations. I wasn’t on the receiving end of sex questions this time around, and this was quite a nice change because teenagers tend to ask awkward questions, or ask in an awkward manner.

The subject of part-time work arose during dinner. It surprised me because the idea of child labor or any teenage labor creates doubt. I’m not one to encourage my son to work for a corporation for a paltry hourly sum (ie flipping burgers isn’t my idea of an ideal after school job). My son went into rebel ‘you can’t tell me what job to do,’ mode, and I could only shrug. Sure enough, he expressed his vehement opposition to burger flipping or asking people if they wanted fries with their burgers or ‘upsizing,’ which came as a huge relief, to finally reveal his uncertainty. It took another day for us to arrive to the ideal solution - hospitality. He liked the idea, and he liked the idea because he’d be working with someone he knew, or would be trained by someone he knew - his dad.

There is another reason why the usual jobs at fast food places and supermarkets don’t take my fancy and that relates to presentation, communication and overall panache. None of the places near my area really prepare a young person for the wider world. I walk into K-Mart or Target and the service is blasé in Australia. Many fast food chain restaurants focus more on speed and upsizing, and less on face to face communication skills. The idea of having a part-time job in an a la carte restaurant isn’t an easy one for my son to handle. He likes the idea and is eager to do it, but he - like everyone - is nervous about dealing with customers.

Continue reading "One Foot Out of the Nest" »

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© Anastasia Mavromatis 2005 - 2008