Social Question

airowDee's avatar

Is it a tragedy if someone can't have their own biological children?

Asked by airowDee (1788 points ) August 26th, 2009

The society assumes that one of the greatest goals in life for women is to get pregnant. What if that could not happen, for whatever reason, should the woman receive our sympathy or should a man who is infertile be regarded as less of a man?

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25 Answers

Sanyore's avatar

If that’s what they wanted, then yes, it is a little sad. I don’t think society has a collective obligation to feel sorry for many things pertaining to individuals, so uh this question seems a little strange to me.

cwilbur's avatar

No. Tragedy is when someone otherwise respectable and virtuous has a character flaw or makes a bad decision that causes his fortunes to go from good to bad.

Your philosophy appears to reduce people to simple breeding stock. That’s reprehensible.

Jude's avatar

In agreement with cwilbur.

airowDee's avatar

Well, I haven’t stated my philosophy on this thread so I don’t know how anything I construct is reprehensible. I was stating a position commonly taken by the society.

Sarcasm's avatar

Sorry to hear that Canada’s “the society” is like that. Here, if anything baby-related, it’s to RAISE a baby, not to MAKE a baby.

But I personally believe that like, such as, US American’s can’t do so the greatest goal for any human is to improve quality of life for the next generations to come.

Supacase's avatar

I think it can be an enormous disappointment, but not a tragedy. Nine months of pregnancy is a relatively short part of parenting, which lasts at least 18 years – but really a lifetime. I admit the experience is like nothing else, but there are a lot of missed experiences in life and we just have to deal with them the best we can.

What is a tragedy is the number of unwanted children with no one to truly love and care for them.

airowDee's avatar

Well, when a bunch of women get together, the topic of babies and pregnancy usually comes up. Imagine how that makes someone who can’t get pregnant feel! It could awkward, when a woman comes to a certain age, and you have to justify why you won’t , can’t have children.

cwilbur's avatar

@airowDee: Ascribing positions to “society” is a convenient way to avoid taking responsibility for them.

casheroo's avatar

I personally would have found it heartbreaking if I could not bear children. I have experienced losses, and they are very painful…physically and emotionally.
No one should feel less of a man, or less womanly. But that is usually how they feel, especially if it’s something they wanted.
You are not going to get any sympathy responses to this question. I love Fluther, but I hate the attitude towards fertility and having children.

macca's avatar

I would feel sorry if one of my friends who wanted children couldn’t have children. I don’t think it could be considered a tragedy, but it would certainly be very upsetting for the woman. It wouldn’t make a person any less womanly or manly if they were infertile, IMHO, but that’s not to say that people wouldn’t feel that way anyway simply due to the nature of their situation. As a rule of thumb, most women do want to bear children at some point, and most would be deeply upset at the thought of not being able to, but it’s very personal thing and not something that the rest of society needs to worry themselves with.

ragingloli's avatar

not at all.
if you want children, and you can’t synthesise them in your body yourself, adopt one.

Jude's avatar

@airowDee My sister and her husband weren’t able to have a child of their own and at that time, yes, it was a disappointment (I think that the word “tragedy” is a bit much, though). But, they went ahead and adopted a beautiful one year old girl. And, they couldn’t be happier.

noodle_poodle's avatar

no not at all there are plenty of orphans who are in need of good homes

noodle_poodle's avatar

people claim having children is a human right but if not all humans have the capacity then clearly it isn

hug_of_war's avatar

Yes, it’s a personal tragedy assuming she wanted children. I don’t think that heartbreak can be understood by someone not in that situation. Yeah they can adopt, but there is something extremely special about having a child grow inside you, and thinking your whole life you’ll have that opportunity but then finding out your body has denied you this thing which as a human you should be able to do.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

If the woman wanted to have her own biological children very badly, then it is a tragedy to her. But if she just wants children and can move past her infertility, there are millions of babies she can try to adopt. I guess it depends on how the woman views the situation, the attitude she chooses to have, and if she is able to adopt.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sure “society” really doesn’t give a shit whether any individual is infertile or not. Not even if it were the President who was infertile.

The only people who care are those who experience the infertility, or those related to the infertile person. Some people might think the greatest goal in life is to have a child, but in no way does everyone think that.

Now, as an infertile person, I can tell you that it mattered a great deal to me. My wife and I joined an infertility group, and I know that it is common for infertile women to feel happy when a friend has a new baby. It is a reminder that they can’t have a baby.

I certainly felt like I wasn’t really human when I discovered I couldn’t father children without the help of technology. Everyone else is trying to prevent children. I wanted them, and couldn’t have them. At least, not the way most people do.

For me, it was a tragedy. I was (and am) strongly invested in having biological children. I felt I would understand them better—being able to see parts of myself in them. I felt it was a validation of my own life, and the only way I have for achieving a kind of immortality. It’s not as if anyone else will remember me for very long. My descendants are most likely to remember, and not only that, but to be, in some way, like me.

For me, having a biological child is a way of saying I approve of myself. But that was not an avenue that was available to me. Thus, I felt like I was an alien. Not even human. That was a tragedy for me.

However, I’m sure it didn’t matter to anyone else other than my wife and I. Other people are happy with adoption, or think I should be happy with adoption. Other people see no need for me to pass my genes on. No one else cares whether I become a biological parent or not. They may or may not think I should be a parent, although I doubt if anyone did think I should be a parent, because never having been one, who knows what kind of parent I would be?

From the other end, except in one particular circumstance, I don’t really care if anyone else in particular does or does not have biological children. The only people I do care about are my own children. I’d like to have grandchildren.

I’m sympathetic towards people who are infertile and are made unhappy by their infertility. I’m sympathetic because I know what it feels like to want a child and be unable to have one, not because I think it is a tragedy for society.

For me, infertility did and didn’t make me feel like less of a man. It made me feel like less of a human. It made me feel like less of a husband. But I don’t think it made me feel less manly. It didn’t affect my gender identity very much, if at all.

So no, I don’t think a man should be considered “less of a man” if he is infertile. I do that he, just as with a woman who is infertile, deserves the sympathy of people close to them, simply because it may be a tragedy to them. But it’s not a tragedy for society, and we shouldn’t sympathize or judge their manliness because of the impact of infertility on society.

Having children is a personal thing. Society may have an interest in children in general, but not in any particular individual having a child. Society can offer incentives for people to have children, but society shouldn’t (and doesn’t) care who actually does has children (except for those who believe in eugenics).

I think most people think that the greatest goal of any person is what they want out of life. Perhaps there are some people who think everyone should have children. Perhaps some religions teach this. But that doesn’t reflect overall society’s attitudes on the subject. As a society, I don’t think we make any normative requirement that every individual woman needs to have a baby, and that it is a tragedy if they don’t all have babies. That may have been the case more commonly in the past, but it certainly isn’t now.

Actually, I tried to find some data about this. I looked at the General Social Survey, but the closest question I could find read like this: 258. If the husband in a family wants children, but the wife decides that she does not want any children, is it all right for the wife to refuse to have children?

71% said it was ok for the wife to refuse. 29% thought it was not ok. I think that suggests that only 29% of people believe that a woman has an obligation to have a child if her husband wants one. By inference, 71% don’t think it’s a tragedy if the woman doesn’t want a child. Based on this, it is hard for me to believe that society thinks the greatest goal for a woman is to have a child.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I wouldn’t call it a tragedy because there are other options for people who want children (ie: adoption) I can understand why it would be terribly painful for someone who can’t have children if they want someone but tragedy is not thre right word in my opinion.

Someone who can’t have a child biological may be a blessing in disguise for a child who already needs a home

bumwithablackberry's avatar

It’s sad, it’s also is nature’s way of saying “don’t”

3or4monsters's avatar

As many have said… adoption.

I think it’s tragic when people can’t reproduce, so they chose adoption. They can afford it and there are children who desperately need homes with parents who will love them, but some convoluted fluke in the system means they have to wait, and wait, and wait… and sometimes give up after years of trying because they were tired of the heartbreak involved in being jerked around with the adoption process. Or they get the child and the child gets taken back by the state and/or the bio-parent(s).

I know that it is easier to adopt in some states than others, but I’ve heard about both situations happening.

WiseOldUnicorn's avatar

Depends on the person, really. But if it was someone who deeply cared about having children and considered it one of their biggest goals in life, then yes, I would consider it a tragedy—losing ANY of your personal dreams is going to be heartbreaking. And yes, they can still adopt, but especially when they first find out, that’s not going to make the fact that they can’t have their OWN children any less depressing for them.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i suppose i’d feel bad if someone can’t birth their own children, but i think it’s more important to raise a child than to pop one out.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@tiffyandthewall I wish I could give you 10 GA’s for that single sentence.

casheroo's avatar

@tiffyandthewall If I could teleport this baby out of my uterus, I’d be a happy woman. lol

bumwithablackberry's avatar

@tiffyandthewall
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c
This is classic, you got to wait for the part where he says he wants to have babies.

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