This week there has been a number of reports about people getting upset over the “I Love Children” fertility campaign at selected MRT stations. I checked out their website to better understand what they are trying to do and realised the organisation is working towards encouraging ALL married couples to have children by highlighting male and female fertility issues.
I have a problem with that. In particular the last line “ILC believes that children bring joy to everyone’s lives and that all married couples should take the bold plunge into parenthood!”
Let me deconstruct why this line is offensive.
First of all, if ILC believes that children bring joy to EVERYONE’s lives, shouldn’t they be encouraging EVERYONE to have children? Why is it only for married couples?
Secondly, is ILC trying to imply that if you don’t have children, your life will be devoid of joy? I think that’s very offensive to singles and those who choose not to have children. After all, some people don’t want to be parents. They are completely happy living a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) lifestyle and don’t see the need to add children into the mix.
Thirdly, if what ILC truly ‘Loves Children’, why not help to make the lives of single parents and same-sex parents easier? Help us campaign for equal rights so we can enjoy our children. I would love it if they would run a campaign to help the government realise some single people and same-sex couples would like to have children. Can we please get access to fertility treatment too? At the same time, can you please help us to campaign for same-sex marriage? I promise more of our friends will have children if they can get married and have access to fertility treatment in Singapore.
Because you know what? When I looked at the website, I completely understand what ILC is trying to say. I’ve said the same thing to a number of my friends who are considering having children. If you want children, don’t wait. Especially for women, 35 is the age where fertility greatly decreases. I know because we’ve been trying to have a second child and some of the facts mentioned hit very close to home. Here are some of the fast facts available on their website:
I know this and I know I am running out of eggs. However in order for us to have a baby, we can’t even do it in Singapore. We have to seek fertility treatment elsewhere.
Yah, I did, except my doctor can’t do anything to help me, because the law prevents it.
I don’t smoke, I’m not obese, nor underweight and my periods are in a regular 35 day cycle, but some months my fertility chances are NIL.
Yup, I’m 36 now so maybe its even less than 5% now. Some months it is 0% because we have no access to sperm.
Speaking of sperm, I found some of the facts they shared about sperm and sex to be quite funny
So guys do try using this as an excuse to try some new positions.
But don’t let your partner see this, or else she will say “one time enough”.
For those who are less endowed, you can show your partner this though.
Awwww… so no sucking or licking if you want to make a baby.
Jokes aside, I think while the campaign has good intentions, it fails to take into consideration the many factors that go into having children. I disagree with their recommendation of early parenthood. Most 24 year old women are simply not ready to have children. They would have just entered the workforce for a year or two after finishing at the polytechnic or university. It is likely they have no clue what they want to do with their lives, much less be ready to get married and have children. At the same time, would they have met the right person to settle down with? Even if they did meet the right guy, get married and have children, would they be able to afford it? The cost of living in Singapore is increasing year on year. Childcare is not cheap and on a fresh graduate salary? It’s going to be painful.
The other thing I feel strongly about the campaign is how how they plastered City Hall MRT station with a huge message “Fertility is a gift that has an expiry date.” I think this is especially insensitive to many couples who are trying to have children and facing fertility issues. It’s like a big “Serves you right for not having children earlier!” It feels very much like victim blaming.
However, the biggest problem I have is how this entire organisation and campaign operates almost solely on government grants.
You can check out the details and their financials here.
So basically SGD 1.42 million of taxpayers money is being used to tell all of us, get married early and have kids so you can have joy in your life. If not later you expired liaos and will be unable to have children so your life will forever be doom and gloom. I also find it interesting that they have not filed their annual report or financials for 2014 so who knows how much more taxpayers money has been spent in the last two years furthering this agenda. This is one organisation definitely worth keeping a close watch on.