The Starbucks Child

No, I’m not thinking of an overly-caffeinated child – though that would be a great entry as well.

It’s just that we’ve entered the age of the order what you like child.  No more settling for whatever child you happened to conceive and giving thanks to God.  No more being surprised to find out the sex of the child.  No more being surprised that even though the doctor told you it was a boy, it’s actually a girl and you need to repaint the baby room.  No more receiving the gift of life for what it is – miraculous, largely out of our control, immensely humbling as well as joyous.

No, now you can order your child pretty much like you’d order your coffee at Starbucks.  Overpriced, doctored to your specific preferences and requirements. 

What control freaks we are!  Any child isn’t good enough for us any longer.  Nope, we have to customize the child to our tastes and our preferences.  It isn’t enough of a blessing just to have a child, now we have to have the child we want, the perfect child.  The child that will accessorize perfectly with our own hair or our own dreams.  That should make for some wonderful counseling sessions for little junior down the road.  How much more bitter will it be for all involved if Junior doesn’t happen to measure up to what Mommy and Daddy intended for them? 

This is sick and wrong on so many levels I can’t adequately convey them.  When children become accessories, when they are not the surprise of nature but the calculated decisions of their parents, what does this say about our culture?  What does this say about people who have such a strong need for control that they have to preprogram their child’s looks?  What does this say about how we value life?  It says that we value life for what it provides for us – not for that life in and of itself. 

And when that happens, we’d best keep an eye out for who is eying us as simply objects to be manipulated for their ends and desires. 

4 Responses to “The Starbucks Child”

  1. Marie Says:

    Funny thing is, you can fix the odds on gender pre-conception — there are old wives tales but also plenty of modern medical NFP info on how to do so. But you can’t predetermine gender using any method. All you can do is eliminate unwanted results after the fact. This isn’t science, even less is it medicine. It’s just voodoo using modern tools.

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    Whoa – I wasn’t aware that there was an NFP way to try and influence gender prior to conception – could you provide some links on this (even if they’re only anecdotal or ‘old wives tales’).  We practice NFP, and that’s just an aspect of it I’ve never heard of before!I’m assuming that the ability to pre-select gender is a matter of attempting to determine the chromosomal makeup of an individual sperm, saving the one(s) with the desired chromosome and then specifically implanting one into an individual egg.  But that is, admittedly, an assumption based on my understanding of a process known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which I blogged a little about here.  I’m assuming if you can do this level of fertilization, it wouldn’t be an inconceivably difficult thing to figure out whether the sperm in question was bearing an X or a Y chromosome.  But maybe that’s a lot more complicated than I’m aware of!

  3. Marie Says:

    If you don’t have “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” it’s a great primer. It’s basically a matter of timing before or after ovulation, and it’s based on real stuff that’s not complicated at all but I won’t get into it here because we don’t want to turn up on google searches because of keywords, eh?I’ll confess I skimmed the article and assumed the doctors used more blunt instruments — tested embryos for gender and kept the ones they wanted. Above process seems slightly less ghoulish, I guess.

  4. Paul Nelson Says:

    Thanks for the reference – I’ll add it into my Amazon wish list.  At this point, we’re not planning on any further bundles of joy – but I’m really curious about this tactic.  Surprising to me, but of course I’m certainly no expert in this matter.  And IVF techniques are becoming very interesting in their capabilities.  While these are still exceptions to general practice, I’m sure – since the technique is more detailed and therefore probably more expensive – it does hold promise that we won’t be destroying life in the pursuit of the ideal life we think we want. 

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