Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just some musings on cultural causes of medical phenomena

Just some random thoughts:  I read with interest tonight on the blog,  Welmer  an essay called "Older Fathers and Autism".  Apparently,  there is a link between fathers ( and mothers)  of advanced age,  and medical problems in children.  What was interesting is that this has been linked to fertility treatments,  which have been used rapantly precisely because the Boomer generation delayed marriage and parenthood.  

The fertility treatments and the age which made them necessary  -  and not the age per se  -  cause a rate of 4 x the autism of younger parents who do not stand in need of such treatment.  Thus you have a cultural and social phenomenum causing a medical one.  Interesting and also disturbing. Looking at the issue philosophically,  it raise deontological questions.  Is it morally right to impose autism and other defects on human persons because one had a belief in working on a career,  dating,  etc.  into the mid-thirties or longer before marrying?   Because one wanted to have a bigger house and higher salary before having children?   Although these risks and consequences were unknown and unintended,  that does not mean that tampering with the natural order of things is morally innocuous.  And the medical profession and fertility clinics never gave a thought to the weirdness of it all.  Try with a pitchfork to drive out nature,  she always returns and demands her due. 


ConnectingTheDots said...

You may want to look more specifically at Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and GenX), which delayed marriage and parenthood far more than the Baby Boom Generation (born 1942-1853).

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank you for this comment. It is interesting, another reader had informed me about Generation Jones regarding another post. I believe you are correct regarding this. And I think Generation X and the Millennials will not be inclined to delay, for various reasons.

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