September 8, 2013

About that 38-year-old woman extracting egg-freezing money as her husband disentangles himself from the marriage that didn't get her pregnant.

Robert Stacy McCain took 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.
I responded:
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.


Heartless Aztec said...

Wise words of wisdom in your reply to McCain. Judge Althouse yer' Honor?

Sam L. said...

Sadness reigns.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it seems as if half of the women in America are barren these days. I have no idea how things could have changed so much, it's not as if the human body is significantly different than it was a couple generations ago. Maybe people just talk about it more.


Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

...from the husband who failed to make her pregnant.

"Fail" is a word I'd like to see less used in common parlance. It carries an overly broad range of implied culpability.

In on-line dictionaries some examples of the word are fault-neutral: "The light began to fail."

Most examples however carry a pejorative connotation: "To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum."

Particularly, I'm irked at headlines such as: "Congress fails to pass..."

More neutral (and costing no more letters) is: "Congress does not pass..."

Now that we're sensitized to look for bias in the MSM it's become one of those "stop-and-think" words. Is there really a near universal expectation that this event should take place? Is this a genuine news article or opinion disguised as news?

Is "Husband fails to impregnate barren wife" right there with "President fails to keep sun from rising."

Just sayin' the word is over used and should be retired in writing in favor of words or phrases which more exactly convey an intended degree of culpability.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

The article doesn't answer the question of whether the husband was infertile or not. If he was, this is actually kind of reasonable. If it's the woman who is infertile, it doesn't seem very fair. The facts seem important.

The Godfather said...

You really said, "the husband who failed to make her pregnant"! How insensitive. Imagine if a male blogger referred to a "wife who failed to give her husband children". Wouldn't you be shocked and offended? I would.

Saint Croix said...

When a woman marries at age 30, she's right if she thinks she's comfortably on track for childbearing.

90% of your eggs are gone by age 30. She's not right, she's misled by a liberal regime that wants to discourage reproduction.

It's Satan Feminist whispering in her ear. "You can put it off, you can put it off, biology is an artificial construct created by the Catholic church."

RBB said...

Question: If a woman can terminate gestational obligations to her implanted eggs, why can a man not terminate financial obligations to his non-implanted eggs?

n.n said...

Feminism was a response to real and manufactured inequities. What was a reactive movement became incorporated and corrupt. It went completely wrong when the priority became material, physical, and ego gratification. The feminist revolution was conducted at great expense to human lives.

Oh, well. Women should be available for sex and taxation, right? Women, and men, need to learn the traditional art of moderating their behavior and accepting responsibility for their actions. That is the prerequisite to enjoy liberty.

Jane the Actuary said...

There is far from enough information in this piece to determine if the author is completely off his rocker or if the particular circumstances of the case make this reasonable. Maybe, maybe, if the husband promised her repeatedly during the course of their marriage (and even stalled on marrying in the first place with a long dating/engagement) that "after the next promotion" etc. he would agree to starting a family -- though I imagine that scenario happens very infrequently.

Is this part and parcel of a general support claim, because he's a high earner and she's not, and it's the nature of this sort of claim that she has to list her expenses in detail?

Or the idea exclusively that, because men's fertility extends into old age and women's doesn't, that men, in general, and a husband in particular, is obligated to make it up to women/the wife? -- the same mindset that gave us "free" contraception because "it's not fair" that women (in a casual-sex environment, in which sex partners are not life partners with shared expenses) have an extra expense.

Skyler said...

A marriage is a union of two people. They live together and act together. Together, for whatever reason, they did not have children. If she wanted to have children with someone else, she should have divorced him earlier.

This is akin to suing the delivery van company for lost profits when the delivery is late. Common law from centuries ago has made this impermissable. The damages are too speculative and too remote.

And I'm shocked that you, Ann, a law professor (obligatory huffery), would suggest that because the woman has a losing hand going to court should fabricate an argument simply because she can.

Anonymous said...

Satanist Feminists, burn 'em all!

somefeller said...

That's okay. I don't think anyone with any sense would take life skills advice from Robert Stacy McCain. So no harm, no foul.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

The infertility rate at age 30 isn't much higher than at 25. The big drop off is after age 35. After 40, odds are poor.

Women know this. Periodically, some web site will run an article about how professional women JUST DIDN'T REALIZE that they couldn't wait until their 40s to have kids!

Uh, ok... how many page views did you get from that? How many people got to laugh at the ignorance of these supposedly educated women? That's what this is about.

I've never met a woman who thought that childbearing could be put off to age 40.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The Godfather,

You really said, "the husband who failed to make her pregnant"! How insensitive. Imagine if a male blogger referred to a "wife who failed to give her husband children". Wouldn't you be shocked and offended? I would.

So would I.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the facts the woman's failure to give her husband oral sex is a major factor in divorce.

Joe said...

If the husband didn't get the sex he expected, in both quantity and quality, should the wife be forced to pay for prostitutes and escorts after the divorce?

And if she gets pregnant post-divorce, is she going to sue for retroactive child support since her expectation was that they would a) raise the child together and b) if divorce, he would have paid child support.

Deirdre Mundy said...

John Lynch-- I've been told by several professional women that there's no problem getting pregnant after 40, and if there's infertility, it's always on the man's side...

People are really good at lying to themselves.

Meanwhile, those of us who married and had kids realize that you never know which baby is going to be your last, and that the human body is pretty complex....