Wife has cancer (terminal, eventually) -- is it right/okay to have children?
August 18, 2010 11:54 AM Subscribe
My wife has (inevitably terminal) cancer, but we are considering trying to have a baby -- need some help identifying and giving thought to moral, ethical, and medical concerns. My family and friends are too close to the situation to give unbiased advice.
posted by theplatypus to Human Relations (88 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
So here's the background:
- We are both in our early 30s.
- My wife (then girlfriend) was diagnosed with a brain tumor 5yrs ago, the most advanced part of it was a grade 3 with an average survival of 3-5yrs. She has undergone surgery to remove most of it, radiation, then chemotherapy, all of which is complete. She's now only on anti-seizure meds, just in case.
- We got married a year ago, knowing we probably would not be in a position to have children, and knowing that she was already on the "edge" of the average survival. Still, this weighs heavily on us, as we would love to be parents... I know we would be loving, hopefully great parents. Were okay financially (no worries about any bills/debts, saving regularly).
- Her doctors say that she would have to stop all meds in an attempt to get pregnant, but this is not a significant risk to her condition. The docs say that the radiation/chemo would not have affected her eggs, though I'm a bit skeptical about this and we did have zygotes cryopreserved prior to any of the radiation/chemo, just in case.
- My side of the family is supportive and encouraging. Her side of the family? Well, they can be head-in-the-sand about things and probably don't want to address it head-on.
And here are the questions I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on, even if it's just an opinion -- don't spare our feelings here:
- Is it right or even selfish to have a child, knowing that mom is not likely to see his/her 5th birthday, much less any later milestones? This is not a case of "anyone could die in an accident any day" sort of thing -- unless someone comes up with a cure for cancer in the next couple of years, it's an inevitability. Our child would grow up with one parent (me, probably the lesser half) and possibly having to deal with the trauma of losing mom.
- Has anyone else been in (or known of) a similar situation, what others decided to do, what the outcomes were, and whether having a child might create an additional undue stress?
- Heck, most generic question of all (and probably one I should just search for)... how does one know when one is ready to be a parent?
Sorry, heavy questions -- I'm not necessarily looking for definitive answers, but at least your opinions will help us make a better decision and consider more points-of-view that we are shielded from.