Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Speed of Science

I defend a woman's right to choose what is done with/to her body, but this is ridiculous:

MADRID (Reuters) - A 67-year-old Spanish woman became the world's oldest new mother on Saturday when she gave birth to twins, a Barcelona hospital said.

The woman, who became pregnant after receiving IVF treatment in Latin America, gave birth by caesarean section, a spokeswoman at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i San Pau told Reuters.

I understand that as the average lifespan of human beings increases, our conceptions of age and ability need to evolve accordingly. This is why, in part, mandatory retirement at age 65 is no longer being enforced in the province of Ontario. But the fact remains that people still aren't living that much longer--in Canada, the average lifespan is between 77 and 82 years of age. While the laws are ready to adjust, we have evolved only so much biologically. Pregnancies in women over forty remain high-risk for both the fetus and the mother. Just because 60-plus pregnancy is possible doesn't mean that it should be done, as it still poses an unnecessary risk to the parties involved.

What is needed is more time for our bodies to adjust to the sciences that are prolonging our lives. The expectation that every aspect of human physiology will keep pace with science is, if not entirely hubristic and misguided, at least symptomatic of the vanity and self-centeredness of youth-obsessed Western culture.

When it comes down to it, I am as unopposed to the science as I am to the freedom to take advantage of it. What concerns me, though, is doing too much too soon.

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