September 7, 2013

A divorcing woman seeks "$20,000 to cover her egg-freezing procedure, medication costs and several years of egg storage."

She put the last 8 years into a marriage, within which she expected to have babies and did not. Now, she's 38, and her window of fertility is almost closed.

Actually, in this particular case, the couple had used in vitro fertilization to attempt pregnancy, so there's some of this argument that she should be maintained in the style she'd become accustomed to. It's not just a matter of a man taking up the best fertility years of a woman's life and somehow owing her the nearest thing to giving back her youth.

ADDED: Robert Stacy McCain takes issue with my use of the phrase "best fertility years":
Professor Althouse, “the best fertility years of a woman’s life,” from a strictly scientific view, are ages 18-24. After age 27, fertility begins to decline and, in your 30s, that decline accelerates. So by the time Lieberman’s client married at 30, she was past her prime.
So, I should have said her last good fertility years. When a woman marries at age 30, she's right if she thinks she's comfortably on track for childbearing. But if she turns out to have difficulty getting pregnant, as this woman did, what seemed like plenty of time can turn into an anxious struggle. I don't know what led to this particular divorce, but needing fertility treatments and enduring them without success must create pressure that some people don't handle very well. There's something very sad about a woman's desire to continue her struggle by extracting support from the husband who failed to make her pregnant. I recommend handling divorce with grace and realism, but a lot of economic advantage-taking can ensue, and you rarely know the whole story of who did what to whom and why a stepped-up legal attack seemed like a good idea. This is, above all, a failed relationship, and you can never see the ground level of that failure.

25 comments:

elkh1 said...

"a man taking up the best fertility years of a woman's life"

Man, the taker; little woman, the giver. How quaint!

The taker will give the giver alimony and "their" kids child support.

EDH said...

Althouse: "She controls the womb inside her body, her mind must make a decision. He may not act upon the womb. He must act upon the mind."

So it's tough shit for the man if a woman gets pregnant during the relationship without his consent.

And it's tough shit for the man if she doesn't get pregnant during the relationship?

YoungHegelian said...

If the husband had for those 8 years of marriage been co-operative in helping her get pregnant, I can't imagine what case she really has here.

She's divorcing him, and access to his sperm & his sperm money should be something she loses, just like somebody's losing a car, a house, the dog, etc. Does he get sexual access to her after the divorce?

If pregnancy was that important to her, then she should have waited until she got pregnant, and then dumped the rotten bastard.

Edward Lunny said...

How about no. He has already paid for several attempts at invitro. He has already made several attempts at fulfilling her desire to bear children and he should not be punished further. He should not be punished because she happens to be damaged. She should not profit because of her short comings. Yes, it's a decidedly cold and militant viewpoint, but, this is a divorce after all.

Gahrie said...

Why stop there..she expected a child. Make the bastard pay 18 years of child support once she manages to get pregnant with one of the eggs also.

Mark O said...

War on men.


Gahrie said...

From the article:

Perhaps it would be simplest for a couple to address their procreation expectations on the front end of marriage, in a prenuptial agreement. A couple could agree on money for egg freezing if children didn’t materialize by a certain year.

Imagine a man and woman enter into such an arrangement. during the marriage, she gets pregnant, but has changed her mind and decides she wants an abortion. Does he have standing to force her to carry the child to term?

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

She put the last 8 years into a marriage, within which she expected to have her husband graduate from law school and be hired at a nationally rated law firm. Now, she's 38, and her husband, although a licensed attorney, was not offered the job she had hoped.

Now she seeks $200,000.00 per year, so that she may be provided for in the manner she had anticipated.

Donald Douglas said...

Psychiatric medications, no doubt.

Bob Ellison said...

I need a picture. This story doesn't work without a picture.

Basil said...

Is this an Onion article?

The Godfather said...

I really don't understand the basis for this. When I was divorced, my ex-wife and I divided equally the property and investments we had acquired during the marriage. There were plenty of things that each of us had hoped to obtain during the marriage but didn't. On what basis in law or morality should one or the other of us have been required to compensate the other for such disappointments?

jr565 said...

People who are accustomed to things they have as a married couple shoudn't be accustomed to them as a non married couple. THat's what happens when you get a divorce.

Martinkh said...

In the land of equality, why can't the woman take care of herself? After all, she probably tramped around until she was 30 (past prime childbearing years), then married some schmuck when she heard her clock ticking, and now wants him to spend the rest of his life keeping her on easy street.

Martinkh said...

In the land of equality, why can't the woman take care of herself? After all, she probably tramped around until she was 30 (past prime childbearing years), then married some schmuck when she heard her clock ticking, and now wants him to spend the rest of his life keeping her on easy street.

cubanbob said...

"Actually, in this particular case, the couple had used in vitro fertilization to attempt pregnancy, so there's some of this argument that she should be maintained in the style she'd become accustomed to"

Really? Seriously? Other than fireproof civil sector employees and the very wealthy who has a guaranteed income? And why should she be granted that? She's 38, not 68 and married for forty years. The article omits a lot of information such as who has the infertility problem-him or her? And even if its him after trying for a number of years using IVF with no success she accepted his condition for those years. IVF do check the man's fertility to see if he can produce viable sperm. So if he has a problem she knew about while she was supposedly happily married to him. She wants a kid, let her pay for it.

Levi Starks said...

Something tells me it may not have been the husbands fault, I suspect a hostile uterus.

Beach Brutus said...

There should be a divorce equivalent to the egg-shell skull rule -- you take (and leave) your victim as you find them.

ken in sc said...

This guy needs to move to a different country. Disappear off the face of the earth and live with a bunch of girls in Thailand or the Philippines. Until he gets his self respect back.

Saint Croix said...

THE end of a marriage is always sad, but divorce can be particularly devastating for a woman who still wants children but whose fertility is on the decline. Her ex may have many years left to start a new family of his own, but by the time she meets a new partner, it may be too late.

This is exactly right. Easy divorce has cost women. A lot of women don't see this, because in other contexts, the judicial system is stacked against men.

For instance, if you have kids in your 20s and 30s, and then decide to leave your husband--it's mostly women who initiate divorce--then the man is still on the hook for child support. You get the kids and he has to pay. Sweet deal!

But if you don't have kids, oops. Now the judicial system is like, get a job.

Her ex may have many years left to start a new family of his own

Again, exactly right. This is why men often date younger and marry younger women. They want to reproduce and have kids. The French even have a rule--a man should divide his age in half and add seven years. If you want kids, that should be your wife's age.

These reproductive realities (human biology! science!) are hidden by our feminist society, which is obsessed with legal equality. But we're not equal. Not when it comes to sex and reproduction.

Now (when it's too late!) the feminist NYT is noticing that you are a woman, with a different biology than a man. You have a biological ticking clock. Something your grandmother might have warned you about.

There may be a man who is excited about the possibility of in vitro fertilization with you. But it's far easier and more romantic for him to date a younger woman.

I wish our liberal media would run more stories on women who missed out on reproduction. I know that's an awful outcome for people who want kids. And yet we hide it from our young. We're all about controlling reproduction, and we fail to talk about inspiring reproduction.

cyrus83 said...

It's too bad the woman didn't have kids, but once upon a time, we used to have an explanation for this: that's life.

It's bizarre logic to propose that doing something extraordinary to make the wife's desire come true leads to a worse outcome for the husband than if he'd just tried things the normal way. The lesson for husbands would be to not do special or expensive for their wives, lest they have to keep doing so post-divorce.

And isn't anyone creeped out by how much that article is basically treating not only the embryos but also the eggs as commodities with price tags? Things treated as assets tend to be bought and sold sooner or later.

n.n said...

Saint Croix:

Don't harsh their mellow. Discussing biological imperatives is an uncomfortable topic for a few, perhaps many, people. Besides, women should remain available for sex and taxation.

cyrus83:

A human life is a commodity from conception to death. We should rethink that philosophy. The consequences of that perspective should be self-evident and has been extensively recorded.

colleen cafferty said...

Ah, the Jennifer Aniston situation.

She should just get it done on the credit card and let the courts sort it out later. I don't see why it's an issue, but the divorcing couples the media knows are apparently far less generous than the divorcing couples I know. (And on the female tip to make it fair, one guy I know is on his third marriage and his first ex-wife still supported him when he lost his job in 2010 as the economy hit the skids and she had gotten her first professional job after having the kids during the marriage.)


I suppose it's one more thing to put in the pre-nup. The real issue will be when it gets to palimony. How many 20-something women have been strung along by a commitment phobic guy and their own false hopes and unwillingness to face reality? At that point, we're not really that far from the Victorian duels fought over false promises of engagement because the issues are the same.

Eric said...

As if men need another reason not to get married.

Peter said...

The short version seems to be that this is (yet another) demand that the only "right" a man should have (pre- or post-divorce) is a right to pay (for whatever it is that a woman wants)?

For otherwise, we'd have to ask: why, exactly, should or would he have any interest at all in her post-divorce fertility?

We understand that he would have no standing if he wanted her to be fertile and she did not. Yet somehow he's responsible if she does wants to be fertile (and he is indifferent)?