We have seen egg buying, paying poor women to gestate, eugenic IVF, etc.–and now alimony to pay for egg freezing? That’s the gist of a request in a New Jersey divorce, supported by Sarah Elizabeth Richards in the New York Times. From, “Alimony for Your Eggs:”
All of a sudden, fertility has been assigned a value. If the point of a divorce settlement is to take inventory of a couple’s joint life and divide the assets, then that commodity belongs on the negotiating table — alongside vacation time-shares and projected earnings from his and her M.B.A.’s.
Of course, Richards sees it as a matter of sexual equality:
It makes sense. Legal experts like Kevin Noble Maillard of Syracuse University speculate that a woman’s missed opportunities to have a baby during a marriage could be viewed as a form of “sacrifice” for which she should be compensated (in much the same way that a woman who put her husband through law school could expect to be compensated if he divorced her just before he reaped the financial rewards of the degree). And it helps rectify one of life’s greatest biological injustices: that men but not women can typically start a family well into middle age and beyond.
I recall representing a woman in a divorce back in the day. The couple had agreed to joint custody, and we were working out the terms. The husband, an engineer, took out a pocket computer, punched in some numbers, and rejected the offer–a very fair proposal–because it only gave him 47.6% of the childrens’ total time. It was so ridiculous–and had nothing to do with loving his kids. So, I pointed out that if you took out the times when the kids would be asleep, he actually would have the majority of their waking hours. That settled the case.
The idea that everything in life between men and women, gays and straights must be the same–equal in every way is turning our ethics into a pretzel, objectifying children as much as that engineer did, and transforming–mutating–procreation into just another piece of property or–as in Richards’ column–a perceived “asset.”
Meanwhile, so many children wait desperately, yearning to be adopted.