Saturday, January 11, 2014

No kids for sick people?

Before I start tackling the actual subject of this post I would like to point out that I am going to discuss a controversial subject and many of you won't agree with me. Please keep any comments or replies polite or I will feel obligated to remove them. My main goal is to get people thinking, not to offend people. Dependent on my mood I might or might not be willing to start a discussion with you. Remember that you are the only one who decides whether you will read this blog. I am not forcing you to do so. I even advice you that if you think the subject might be harmful, to not read it. To make things clear: I will be sharing my thoughts as to whether people who suffer from a disease should have children. I do not claim to be an authority on this subject, I am merely stating my opinions which might be misinformed. I am not by any means claiming that anything that I am saying is factual information.

Most of the people who know me, and many who don't know that I am a big fan of controversial discussions. I like to think out of the box and ask myself what things are really about. This often leads to disagreement since the reason that certain subjects are controversial is because very few people have the opposing opinion. This however was one subject that the one friend I butt heads with the most agreed on (or to be fair, I agreed with him). The thing the both of us agreed on was that it would be better if sick people weren't allowed to have children. Now before you go in a full rage, please let me explain what the definition is of 'sick people' in this context and why I think they shouldn't have kids.

Sick people in this case are not those who have the flu, or those who suffer from asthma. In this context I mean those people who are sick to a life-altering extent. I mean those who are sick in a way that they can not care for themselves, or those who have a very short life expectation. And especially if said disease is also genetic. There are four reasons why I have this opinion, I'll discuss them in order of what I find to be the most obvious reasons.

The first one is a reason that some people might share with me, and it can be summarized with the word genetics. I do not think that it is fair of a parent who as has a genetically prevalent disease to risk the child having the same disease as you do. Especially since you know how hard it is. It's basically the concept of wanting the best for your child. I wouldn't want to have a child if I knew that it would have to suffer from poverty for the rest of his life the same way I wouldn't want it to have to suffer from a life altering disease for the rest of it's life. I do realize though, that there is such a thing as recessive traits and that there is a chance that the child won't get sick. We could even do IVF to make sure that the child will not have the disease, and maybe in the future we can cancel it by the means of mutations. I don't think that this is a direction we should be going though, since it will be hard to draw the line and I am not fond of a future where parents can fill in a checklist as to which features their child should or shouldn't have. Especially since the DNA has mysterious ways and not all traits are simply based on the code. But besides that there are other reasons why not to do it.

My second argument would be that if you can't take care of yourself, how would you expect to take care of someone else who is likely to be a lot more demanding. It might be the case that the person's partner feels up for the task, and yes, there are many single parents who manage to do their job flawlessly. But even if that is so, it will still be very straining on them and no matter how sweet your child might be, in the first number of years they will not understand why mommy/daddy doesn't help them in certain situations. That will not only be hard for the child to deal with, but I am quite sure that parent will feel bad that they can't help their child when it needs them.

Thirdly I would like to guide the attention to the other ways the situation might be emotionally straining for the child. Imagine growing up being constantly aware of the fact that one of the people you love the most is suffering every day and you are not able to help them. You love them unconditionally but there is something keeping them from joining you on the day you want them to be there. And last but not least, the thought that there might be a day that they won't be there anymore. Of course this is a fear that any person might experience, but in this case it would be much more likely, and it might happen when the child is still at an age where it is not ready to deal with it. I think that is an emotional strain that no loving parent would want their child to go through.

 And to finish things off, my final argument happens to be one I haven't even thought off myself but was suggested by the friend I mentioned earlier. One thing that strongly sets humans apart from animals is that unlike them we have come to escape the element of natural selection. In present day even some of the most unfortunate people can manage to stretch out their lives and have children while they wouldn't even had the chance to survive if they were a different animal. Because of this the human population is being flooded by diseases that will remain forever. In a way we're dooming the future generations who won't be able to escape having a life altering disease. It might be good that we can alleviate diseases, but wouldn't it be even better if people wouldn't have to suffer them (as much) in the first place?

I do know that despite these things people will still chose to have children, because they really want to and think these consequences will be outweighed. I'm sure there are many children who have grown up in such circumstances and feel like they haven't suffered for a day. Still I wouldn't ever advise someone who is sick to such a life altering extent to have children, since I think it would be better for them, and the 'child'. I don't want there to be a law or regulation to forbid these people to have children. This is mainly because I believe that it is close to impossibly to set the boundaries as to when a person is 'to sick' to take care of a child, since that depends on so many factors. We can't possibly make a lists of diseases since each disease comes in different gradations, and for some it lasts longer than for the other, and some manage to cope with them better than others. I just hope that people will make well educated choices and won't be blinded by the fact that they want children. I'm happy to know that this is most often the case though.

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