Saturday, January 22, 2011

'Reason enough to revisit polygamy?'

DR GORDON TAN: 'As a gynaecologist who helps sub-fertile couples conceive, I have seen many couples who put off childbearing as they are busy working to pay off their housing and car loans ('Time for stork-taking on baby issue'; Tuesday). When they duly arrive financially, many husbands lament that even though they are now ready financially and socially for another child, their wives have become biologically too old for childbearing. Could there then be reason enough for us to revisit polygamy?'

[Dr Tan. I hope your wife tonight will ask you who you have in mind as your second wife. :-)

In any case, there are grandmothers who have children for their daughters, albeit via in-vitro fertilisation and other fertility procedures. So why do you automatically choose the polygyny option?

The other option is to use your sperm, your wife's egg (if still viable) or a donor egg, and a surrogate mother (if your wife is unable or unwilling to carry a pregancy).

In future, this might be the way forward. Rich older couples will pay a young woman to carry a pregnancy to term for them in exchange for cash payment, treatment to extract and freeze some of the young woman's eggs, and of course all expenses related to the cost of carrying the pregnancy to term. This will give the young woman some start-up cash for business or other enterprise. Then later when she is older and gets married, she can use her frozen eggs (from when she was younger), to be fertilised with her husband's sperm (or sperm of choice), and pay a younger woman to carry her child to term, for the same benefits.

And the cycle continues.

This solves the problem for the woman of choosing between career and biology. ]

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