Volume > Issue > The Baby-Making Industry

The Baby-Making Industry

GUEST COLUMN

By Michael S. Rose | September 2007
Michael S. Rose is Web Editor and Book Review Editor of the NOR. His books include Goodbye, Good Men and Ugly as Sin.

A deluge of recent news items over the past year calls to mind the irritatingly memorable words of Saturday Night Live‘s Doug and Wendy Whiner (played by Joe Piscopo and Robin Duke): “We want our own ba-byyy!!” Since the couple can’t seem to conceive a child of their own, the doctor, played by Ron Howard, suggests the Whiners try adoption:

Doug Whiner: I’m the last of the Whine-rsss! Doc-tor, my genes must live onnn.

Wendy Whiner: Is-n’t there some-thing you can do-o-o? I want to be a moth-errr!

Doug Whiner: And I want to be a fath-errr!

Whiners: We want to be par-entsss!

Harried by the couple’s insufferable whining, the doctor then suggests artificial insemination using a surrogate mother.

Doctor: (sticking his fingers in his ears) We take Doug’s sperm, insert in an egg from Wendy, plant it in a surrogate mother, and, BOOM, you got a Whiner!

That was 25 years ago. If written today, the baby-on-demand skit might have taken a different direction — one of many, in fact. Since 1982, when this episode was produced, the artificial-procreation industry has burgeoned. Infertility treatments are now a multi-billion-dollar industry, and have produced embryo banks, fertility brokers, and even baby farms. At the same time, the whining from infertile couples and single women (and even single men) seems an awful lot like a Saturday Night Live parody. This whining reflects the idea that everyone has a right to a baby — whether one’s own baby or not — and to have it on demand.

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