Thursday, June 07, 2007

Isn't it ironic....

Don't you think?

So many of us blog about not being able to have children, whether it be because of infertility issues, miscarriage or a combination of the two... whether it be our first child or seventh we are trying to conceive...

Well, how ironic is this story for all of us, which I saw on Good Morning America before heading into work this morning:

Cash for Kids: Japan's Employers Offer 'Baby Bonuses'

Apparently, Japan is facing a rapidly aging and now shrinking population - the number of elderly citizens is surpassing the number of children being born. This is mainly attributed to the rising costs of raising their young (well, hell, we have that too!) and career goals/lifestyle of child-bearing-aged women.

I can't shake the feeling that this news story is beginning to parallel the measures society was taking in the book Children of Men (see my post on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade #2: Children of Men, with links to the Barren Bitches Book Brigade tours) - they are taking "extreme measures" to try to ensure the population does not die off.

See, Mel, how your book tour is transcending your initial hopes of infertility education!

The Japanese government and many private industries are beginning to make parenthood a "lucrative" proposition...paying a few hundred dollars to the couple who has one child, and upwards of $40,000 for five or more children!

Hell, with that kind of cash, I could take almost a full year off of work!

But, what is the United States doing wrong??? There are so many of us who desperately want a child, and we are fighting like hell for someone to cover it. I am in a very small minority with my infertility coverage: My employers pay for by health benefits 100% (not only for me, but for Hubby and for Chris), and that coverage has extensive IF coverage (six medicated IUI's per successful pregnancy, 4 IVF cycles lifetime, managed-care high-risk pregnancy programs). The chances of me having to mortgage my life to have a child are few - and I am forever grateful for that.

But, imagine living in a country where they would PAY for the infertility treatments?!?! I think there would be a huge wave of US immigrants to Japan for coverage like that!

And, let's not also forget to mention the benefits Japanese companies are adding on AFTER the child is born: free on-site daycare (emphasis on the free here), longer maternity leave, in addition to the money they are paying to have the child in the first place.

Again, I am lucky because my mom and MIL watch Chris while I am at work, so I don't have to worry about who is caring for my child and how much it will cost - but, yet again, I am in the minority here.

Oh, I was also able to take three months maternity leave on full pay because the policy here is you have to use all of your sick time before going on disability - and I had three months worth of sick days to blow through. But, next time I need to take maternity leave (how optomistic is that statement!), I won't be so lucky - I don't have 5+ years worth of sick time accrued now.

It is sad that these women (and men, since it does take two to tango) don't want children - but, I do have to give them credit for being honest about their decision and not having children just because society says so. I think their honesty in that decision could have a positive affect on the youth in the long run...

Isn't it ironic...

Don't you think?

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