research indicates the practice of egg donation is spurring
in some regions a statistically significant alteration in
both the new and controversial Raswani Social Intelligence
scale and the more traditional Stanford-Binet IQ test.
testing has been prompted by what some educators are calling
an exponential change in the behaviour of kindergarten children.
"We noticed a real big difference," said Anita Cunnings, a
teacher's assistant at St. Mark's, a grade school in an upper
middle class neighbourhood of Chicago. "Back when I first
started this job in 2015 we'd sometimes get a kid who was
not only smart, but smart all around, who really knew how
to handle other kids and how to make the world work for her,
or him. Then it got to be one every year, then two, and now
we have half a dozen or more every year. They're almost perfect.
To tell you the truth, they're a little frightening."
local bus driver, who prefers to remain anonymous, was less
circumspect. "Spawn of Satan," he said. "It ain't natural.
These kids, they climb on the bus, they say please and thank
you, and they read all the way to school. Lord knows, I can't
abide all the yellin' and runnin' up and down of normal kids
but this ain't natural."
upper middle class women in the 45-48 age range are particularly
affected. "It's only to be expected," said a harassed looking
Dr. Judith Sternberg returning from testimony to a congressional
ethics sub-committee. "Record numbers of career-oriented,
smart, well-educated women are now choosing, in their mid-forties
and older, to have children. And they're choosing extremely
smart, well-educated, women in their twenties to be the donors.
The rest is a matter of simple genetics."
responds Mike Chattergee, an educational sociologist, who
tugs at his greying beard in obvious frustration. "The deciding
factor is the child's upbringing. These older mothers are,
well, they're older, and more affluent, so they can give the
infant everything it needs in the way of education and nurture.
Better nurturing means a happier, healthier, more well-adjusted
child. An older, more confident mother is also going to impart
some of that attitude as the child grows. It's a good thing."
He pauses. "Do you think I'm too old to be a father?"
corollary of the egg donation boom is the change in behaviour
noted in the spouses of married mothers. "It's good old fashioned
competition," said a red-faced Jack Donatelli at the bowling
alley in Midwich, CT. "Women get to choose the father and
if you can't hack it, then move aside for someone who can."
nothing old-fashioned about it," says his companion, who would
only give his name as Bill. "Look at me, see that muscle?
Strong as an ox. Good job. But that's not enough any more.
No. Now it's "Oh, Bill, why don't you do the laundry while
I write that proposal for the UK office? Oh, Bill, why don't
you just wash the kitchen floor while I'm at the gym?" Because
I don't f----- want to, that's why, but do I say anything?
No. Because if I do, she'll get someone else to father her
goddamn test tube baby, and I'll be slaving away to support
a goddam cuckoo child!"
church leaders have long decried the commercialisation of
egg donation. "Life is a gift from God," said the archbishop
of Chicago. "When one woman who is blessed with fertility
can help bring joy to another, that gift should be given freely."
Unitarians, on the other hand, believe god is in everything,
even the test tube and the bank account. Other religions,
such as Islam, forbid the procedure entirely. But ethics,
argues the Director for Reproductive Health at the Women's
Clinic, have nothing to do with it. "It's all very well wishing
things were different," says Dr. Allison Toomin, "but this
is the real world. What healthy twenty-two year old college
senior in her right mind would go through a month of pain,
daily injections, bloating, hormonal disturbance and the slight
though very real chance of medical complications, just for
altruism? Especially when prospective mothers are offering
$75,000 and a trip around the world if the donor has SAT scores
of over 1500, good looks, and perfect health."
George W. Bush VI believes people like Dr. Toomin are wrong.
"It's not acceptable," he tells voters gathered at a rally
in the Texas panhandle. "These women are buying smarts for
their babies. They're buying fertility. They're buying love
and a secure old age, just because they were too darned selfish
to stop working and have babies when they were young and healthy,
while you good, god-fearing folks are so crippled by Big Government
taxes that you can hardly scrape together the bread for your
own little ones!"
far from the panhandle where Bush is speaking lies Austin,
Texas, one of the epicentres of the intelligence spike now
being observed all over the country. Other centres include
Seattle, WA (and the whole Vancouver-Eugene corridor), the
San Francisco Bay Area, certain neighbourhoods of larger cities
such as Atlanta (Little Five Points and Lake Claire) and Boston
(Jamaica Plains, Cambridge), and small liberal college towns
like Montpelier, VT. "With the exception of Atlanta, these
are all very white cities," points out M'Shelle N'dele Mbele,
from the Urban Justice Centre in St. Louis. She smiles sardonically.
"Wonder why that is." She goes on to point out that, like
most racial issues, this is at heart a money-based discrimination.
She would be hard-put to find anyone to argue with her. Reproduction
via egg donation is an expensive and time-consuming procedure,
but with a first-time success rate now approaching eighty
percent, it's by far the most reliable of in-vitro technologies.
Dr. Sternberg believes that as Americans approach the second
half of the twenty-first century, egg donation is here to
stay. "What I told the sub-committee, and I'm happy to say
they agreed, is that we need to think about what this means
for business. Global competition from emerging nations is
threatening the ascendancy of US corporations. We need our
female executives to remain focused on their jobs through
their thirties and early forties and not be distracted by
the idea of a biological clock. Egg donation lets us reset
that clock, if not banish it all together. Right now America
has the edge. Egg donation lets us keep it."
ethics sub-committee has declared that there will no longer
be regulation at the federal level of viable human ova, and
the debate is underway regarding tax credits for donors and
clinics. All parties expect controversy. For every egg donor
and every prospective mother there will be someone like old-timer
Sam Underhill, overheard recently at the Green Dragon Inn
in Bywater, ME. "It's not natural," he said, "and trouble
will come of it."