Parenting

WDPT?

I have a cousin whose wife had an uneventful pregnancy. Everything was fine until delivery, when sh*t went down. Baby was deprived of oxygen and mom had a hysterectomy and was put into a medical coma. Neither was supposed to make it. Mom made a full recovery, sans uterus, but LO is pretty much a six week old, forever. She is now past 4 yrs old. Mom has two 24 hour nurses as well as herself (she quit her job as a lawyer) to care for LO. I never got the full explanation of why this happened, and never felt like it would be appropriate to ask.

My cousin told me that the drs were able to save her ovarian tissue and extract eggs (who knew that was possible during an emergency hysterectomy), and they implanted an embryo into a surrogate. They are having another little girl. While I am excited for them, since they wanted the "normal" parent experience, they also said that now they can rest easy knowing that this new baby will be able to care for her sister when they are gone.

My question? What do people think about having babies to harvest organs for, or in this case, to care for, a disabled older sibling. I know its not the only reason they are having another baby, but they made it clear that it was a major reason.

Either way, I am happy they were able to achieve this dream of theirs.

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Re: WDPT?

  • I think it's one of those situations that no one can really say what they would do unless it was actually their decision to make. Both sides of the fence bring up valid arguments. It could be considered selfish because it's putting a lot on their younger daughter but at the same time it's good that their older daughter won't be "alone" after they are gone. Personally, I think that as a family you support someone however and whenever there is a need. I wouldn't hesitate to take over for my parents if that was one of my younger siblings.

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  • I feel terrible for what they have been through and am glad that they are able to have another child but I think it's unfair to lay that responsibility on said child. She has more responsibility than I do and she's not even born yet.
  • image AAA024:
    I think it's one of those situations that no one can really say what they would do unless it was actually their decision to make. Both sides of the fence bring up valid arguments. It could be considered selfish because it's putting a lot on their younger daughter but at the same time it's good that their older daughter won't be "alone" after they are gone. Personally, I think that as a family you support someone however and whenever there is a need. I wouldn't hesitate to take over for my parents if that was one of my younger siblings.

    But do you think that the younger DD will harbor resentment at having this duty placed upon practically from birth? Not that she will have to care for her sister from birth, but that is the expectation for her later in life?

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  • I don't know... I don't really think having a baby to harvest organs (isn't moreso to get stem cells? What kind of organ can you harvest from a baby except a kidney?... ugh I also hate the term "harvest organ) is not the same as having a baby to provide life-long care for a sibling.
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  • That sounds like a lot of pressure to put on a child that isn't even born yet.

    At the same time, I think if it was phrased more as "DD1 will never be alone/always have family", that sounds a bit better. I'm more comfortable with it if it's framed as having more family and love than an obligation for the second child to take care of their older, disabled sibling. 

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  • I would never have a child just to burden it with the care of their older sibling and I am sure that is not their reason for having another child.  But I would create a Trust account in the first child's name and fund it generously  so that money can be used for the care and welfare of that person until their passing so no family member would be financially burdened  with the cost of that person's care. 
  • I also feel like it's probably something they are saying as a source of comfort to themselves and kind of an explanation to others.  It's mostly just a thought at this point.  They have no idea how that kid will turn out, if he/she will be able or willing or capable of taking on that responsibility, etc. 

     

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  • Since that was a major reason for them, I would hope that the younger sibling would be willing to take on that responsibility.  At the same time, it's going to be up to the sibling if they really want to take on that level of responsibility when the time comes.  IDK.  Ultimately it's the parents' choice about having another child for whatever reason and all, and not being in that situation I'm not sure what to say.

    ETA 

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  • image HilarityEnsued:
    I don't know... I don't really think having a baby to harvest organs (isn't moreso to get stem cells? What kind of organ can you harvest from a baby except a kidney?... ugh I also hate the term "harvest organ) is not the same as having a baby to provide life-long care for a sibling.

    Yeah, sometimes I type directly from my brain to the screen without thinking how it sounds out loud.

    On that topic, we did cord blood for DD1 and cord blood plus the actual cord for DD2. The girls can use each other's blood and tissue. This I have no problem with and am glad the technology exists. Having another child to help save one that is sick seems noble on one hand, but kind of crappy for the child being born. Welcome to the world, can I take your kidney?

    I knock on wood a million times that I am not in their shoes.

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  • image HilarityEnsued:

    I also feel like it's probably something they are saying as a source of comfort to themselves and kind of an explanation to others.  It's mostly just a thought at this point.  They have no idea how that kid will turn out, if he/she will be able or willing or capable of taking on that responsibility, etc. 

     

    That crossed my mind as well.  Maybe it's just a comforting way for them to think of it or something.

    I also agree with LD about the wording thing. 

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  • image ItsAllGravy7:
    Also WTF on the "harvesting organs"....that's not legal is it? 

    Not in this country.

    ETA. What I meant was babies that were conceived for the sole purpose of saving or prolonging the life of an already living, but critically ill child. Like I replied to HE, my stream of thought tends to non-PC, and there are times I forget to clean it up before hitting post.

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  • image ItsAllGravy7:

    DH's oldest brother has autism/cerebral palsy.  FIL has passed and MIL is in her 60's. I've made it very clear to her that she never ever has to worry about BIL and his well being because we will always be here to advocate for him. It's given her a lot of peace of mind.

    We have a similar situation in my family.  My cousin is SN due to severe brain damage from untreated hydrocephalus at birth. She functions at about a 14 yr old level and will most likely progress no further.  She has several physical impairments due to the brain situation as well.  Her older sister and I have promised her parents that they will never have to worry about who will take her of her.  (They are both like my sisters so it was never a second thought). 

    No one ever put that responsibility on my cousin to care for her younger sister.  When she was old enough, she decided to shoulder the responsibility herself.  If you ask her though, she will tell you that, from the second she knew her younger sister was different, she knew that she would be the one to take care of her.

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  • As a former special ed teacher, I know many families that have done this. It's a huge concern for parents of special needs kids and I don't judge at all. Most of the neurotypical siblings are amazing kids. I know of a couple of families who have had 2 or 3 more kids, so the burden won't lie with one alone.
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  • She probably means things like stem cells, white blood cells if an older child has leukemia, etc.

    In my mind these are separate issues. Having a child solely to keep another alive, like in "My Sister's Keeper" is different than having a child knowing they may need to take on some responsibility to the older sibling later on.

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  • I think it's one thing to have another child because you want one and you HOPE that they child will be willing to care for their sibling when the parents are gone but another to lay that responsibility on the second child from the get-go.  If they are counting on this child being willing to care for their sibling in the event of their passing then they are putting too much pressure on their younger child.

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  • You might want to put a warning on this for ladies who are currently pregnant.  Yikes!

    I'm guessing that this is just something that has crossed their minds (probably many times). Unless they plan on harping on younger daughter and laying guilt on her constantly, I don't think this is a big deal.

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  • image PrimRoseMama:
    I don't think it's fair to the younger child to automatically assume that they will be a] willing and b] able to care for a disabled older sibling. It's not terribly rational either. The care of your disabled children should be factored into your estate planning. I wouldn't count on a younger sibling to do that. That is a terrible burden.

    I think that most parents do have the care of a disabled child factored into estate, wills, trusts, etc. For many parents I know, it's more about the disabled child having an advocate that loves them and is family, not necessarily full time care. 

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  • My older DD was born with a brain injury and while in the moment, you don't even know how you will make it through tomorrow let alone anything else.  Unless you have lived through it, you have no clue.

    I have a miracle in my DD in that she is basically fine and developing totally normally other than some minor things that will be nothing in the big picture (she will need some extra help in school but that is it).

    DH and I always knew we wanted 2 kids but the question was always how we would have that second child after the experience we had the 1st time around.  We went ahead and had another child ourselves and my OB treated me as high risk and I was watched very closely and DD #2 did not experience anything like her sister (cause of injury is unknown but not due to labor, happened during the end of my pregnancy).

    If DD#1 was going to need help to liver her life, I would still have had a second child.  I always wanted my kids to have a sibling, even though they will both be able to take care of themselves, it is great to know that someone else will be there for them when my DH and I are no longer here.  For your cousin, I am sure they will do all they can to make sure their oldest is taken care of and not have that child be a burden to her sibling, it sure must be great for them to know that their oldest child will always have someone that loves them and cares for them and will visit and all that stuff.

    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
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    image EllaHella:

    "care for the sister after they are gone" can mean a lot of things.  We are reaching for assumptions here based on a small recap of the situation 

    Like Gravy, I am intimately familiar with a similar situation.  As the other child or spouse of that child, you don't feel a burden and put upon.  It is just something you do for family.  And "taking care" can mean anything from advocate to full time responsibility.

     

    Agreed. What a tough situation for these parents. I couldn't even imagine.

     

     

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  • New format here!

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  • EllaHella said:

    Did we loose a page of posts with the conversion?

    Looks like it.

     
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