Frozen Fountain of Youth?

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You’ve probably heard of single women in their mid/late 30s freezing their eggs for later use. In Tuesday’s Washington Post, Gillian E. St. Lawrence talked about taking this idea somewhat further.

St. Lawrence is 30. She’s been happily married for 8 years. She and her husband both want children. But they don’t want them now. And they don’t want to gamble with the decline in fertility rates looming around the corner. So instead, they’ve opted to create and freeze a handful of embryos, to be implanted at some future date when they feel more “ready”.

So, what does it take to be “ready” to have a baby?

For St. Lawrence and her husband, it means having time, which means having money. Enough money to be able to stop working, or at least stop working so much: “We both want very reduced work hours so we never have to look at day care or a nanny.” The two clearly want to be hands-on parents, which is obviously a good thing. But if St. Lawrence is saying it’s not okay to have kids if you can’t spend as much time with them as you want, what does that say about 99.98% of parents in the world? Should we all have engineered our conceptions, and lives, differently? St. Lawrence’s quest for optimal parenthood may be personal, but there’s a broader implication.

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