For Love or Money? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 24, 2009
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The popular television show “Eight Is Enough” aired in the late 1970s and fascinated viewers of all ages who followed the trials and tribulations of the Bradford brood, eight independent children headed by their father, Tom. In the last 30 years, doctors have created in vitro fertilization, a procedure for artificial impregnation, and as a result, the ­Gosselins, parents of a set of twins and sextuplets, became stars of TLC’s hit show “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”

The surge of reality shows, YouTube, and Facebook provides many with the ability to capture the eyes of the country and hear their name spoken around the world. However, parents should not seek stardom by having a large family, nor should they get a free pass in child rearing because they have more kids than most. The parents of this nation need to grow up, face the realities of parenthood, and assume the full ­responsibilities of child rearing.

When a couple wants to have a baby, they must consider whether that child will truly benefit from the life they can provide and whether they understand the responsibilities involved in raising a child. The recent case of Nadya ­Suleman, a mother of octuplets, shone a huge spotlight on the responsibility of parenting.

Unmarried, unemployed, and living in her mother’s home, she already had six children younger than eight, three of whom are disabled, and receives money from the state to care for them. When ­doctors announced that Suleman had given birth, through in vitro fertilization, to octuplets with pride and excitement – reporting that the delivery was “amazing” and the mom was “incredibly courageous” – the 46-member medical team expected praise and high-fives. Instead, jaws dropped and talk of her courage changed to questions about both her judgment and the doctors’, as well as the ethical concerns about fertility treatments.

Instead of the vital role of a father in their lives, these eight new babies have only a sperm donor. In addition, some publications reported that Suleman plans to use her fame to launch a tele­vision show. Though she denies claims that she is seeking fame, Suleman has employed a publicist and an agent. She says that all she wanted was babies, but one has to wonder if she was thinking of their need for comfort and love when she decided to have this many children.

In the United States, no one can dictate how many children families have. However, the country needs some sort of counseling, similar to the advice a ­doctor gives a patient who smokes three packs of cigarettes a day. They simply state the consequences of smoking before the damage appears and bluntly ask the patient to stop. If adults know that they will be ­incapable of or even unable to provide for the needs of children, then they should reconsider becoming parents.

In the case of Suleman and many others, the cost will be paid by the American taxpayer. Millions have been spent to care for her babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and supply her large family with diapers, blankets, and clothes. Realistically, Americans have a stake in the outcome, and we must not encourage a repetition of this by putting Suleman into the spotlight. Clearly, the necessary measures must be taken to ensure that parents’ reproductive rights – or media ambitions – do not come before their child’s right to a decent life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 29 comments. Post your own now!

soac09 said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm
A little rough, but you express your opinion well and I agree.
Amirio F. said...
Jun. 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm
I totally agree! It's really sad what people will do for fame.
FRANKIEyo said...
May 20, 2009 at 3:01 am
WOW!!! That is sooooo true. I hate the fact that so many people only have children to become famous
HOPEMVP said...
May 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm
I think this article needs work, but great topic.
Cate56 said...
May 5, 2009 at 1:23 am
Very well thought out article. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
i believe in dreams' said...
May 3, 2009 at 12:08 pm
I agree with Meghan.
Chrissy L. said...
May 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm
Well, there is a bit of a paradox to the ethics here. Even if the octuplets don't have every oppertunity we do, can you honestly say it would be better if they did not exist? If Nadia never got pregnant, those children would never be alive. Sometimes I wonder about that, if I were one of the octuplets, I would still want to have been born. The Gosselins were only trying for one child when they got sextuplets, if you found out you were pregnant with that many, would you just terminate a few of... (more »)
Moon Sun said...
May 1, 2009 at 9:52 pm
Meghan said...
May 1, 2009 at 1:24 am
I agree. People shouldn't keep having babies if they need the state to help pay. I think these people would know when to stop. These people dont deserve to be in the spotlight and really shouldnt be.
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