Germany Feasts on US Fertility Train-Wreck

Friday, February 20th, 2009

A notable article just appeared about that silly Californian woman, Nadya Suleman, who recently supplemented her fatherless family of six children with an additional eight, in one fell swoop: USA: Californian family-of-eight deep in debt. And this is from Die Zeit, about as far in the German context away from a cheap tabloid rag-for-the-masses as you could possibly think of! (Oh sorry, you were actually looking for that tabloid instead? Try here.)

Still, it’s easy to see how this is a story that even Die Zeit finds it impossible to divert its horrified eyes away from. It simply punches just about every ticket in what Germans think about America, more specifically about California. Ms. Suleman, she of the fourteen tiny mouths to feed, is unwed, unemployed, and up until recently has been supported mainly by public welfare funds and her parents, living in her mother’s house – of course! Yet now her mother, Angela, is behind by $23,000 on payments for that house and is in danger of losing it – of course! (There was no real-estate craze in Germany; housing prices there were generally stable over the past decade.) Yet Nadya herself recently complained to US Magazine that her mother’s place, with but three bedrooms, was getting rather small for her rapidly-growing family. (To which we all respond in unison, whether in English in German, “Maybe you should have thought of that before you . . .”)

Now, Nadya did recently come up with over $300,000 more after the birth-of-eight took place, from interviews and from the pictures she allowed for all the glossy-magazine photo-spreads. Unfortunately, there was also supposed to be some sort of TV special, which would provide even more dough, but that fell through. (Of course there was going to be a TV special! This is Southern California – show biz!) That prompted the PR firm she had hired (of course she had her own PR firm!) to withdraw its services. So now it seems that she is left with little to forestall impending doom for herself and her extensive brood than contributions she can solicit on her website. (Of course she has a website!)

Only in America? Actually, yes – at least something similar could never happen in Germany, as the article takes pains to point out at the end. Suleman was able to undertake her eight-baby feat in the first place because she had that number of embryos implanted at a Beverly Hills (of course!) clinic. However, “[i]n Germany such an intervention is forbidden. According to the German Law for the Protection of Embryos, a doctor can implant in a woman at most three Embryos per cycle.” And California authorities – if they’re still getting paid – are now investigating whether the doctor in question here violated his/her professional responsibilities.

UPDATE: Jimmy Kimmel comments: “If she loses the house, Nadya will be forced to get pregnant again so she can live in the hospital for another three months.” And from Jay Leno, after the California legislature finally passed a budget: “Now Californians can go back to doing what they do best — buying homes they can’t afford and letting murderers go free.”

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