All Woman

He's demanding a baby before the ring

LOVE, SEX & RELATIONSHIPS

By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer

Monday, February 17, 2014    

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HE met his girlfriend when she was a Christian, but this did not stop father of three Matthew Powell from requesting that she prove to him she could produce a child before he would take her up the aisle, because according to him, he would never marry a woman who could not have children.

His girlfriend did just this by giving him two children prior to their getting married over 10 years ago, and eventually he had a third child with another woman.

"Why mi woulda marry you for if pickney can't come?" asked the security guard when All Woman broached the subject last week. "Mi have to see belly a fat up first, after mi is not no idiot," he hissed.

The father of three is completely against the idea of adopting children, and had numerous stories to cite of couples that broke up because one party was infertile.

"Mi have a friend that died and was buried Sunday. Him did well want one pickney from his wife and she couldn't have no children and they adopted one. They decided to adopt another, and just when he was about to go and pick up the other one, he died because of the stress of not having his own," he said.

Powell is not the only one who shares this view. Dane Robinson, who works in the creative arts sector, is still looking for Mrs Right, but he said this will be the one who is able to produce his child.

"If she can't have children for me, then personally I can't stay with her. And if I can't have a child with her, then I am going to cheat, so it doesn't make sense we get married then," he said.

When asked what he would do if he really loved a woman and she was unable to have children, his response was, "What is love if you are miserable?"

"It would be nice if we have children to show, because the fact is that it's something that we have produced together. If you get a divorce or something later, then you can split your material possessions, but you can't split a child; a child will forever be yours," he argued.

He, too, is opposed to the idea of adopting children, because as he puts it, "That's taking somebody's child and calling them your own."

It's statements like these that baffle embryologist Denise Everett-Keene who was born in the UK but relocated to Jamaica 10 years ago to take up a post with the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies. She feels the stigmatisation of infertile couples is part of the reason for infertility being "almost a secret" in Jamaica.

"As it relates to fertility, I think that the society here sometimes can be so cruel," she said. "I think the pressure is on for some of our patients because they don't have children."

According to male development specialist Marlon Moore, having a child is often seen as a signal of manhood and so those who have no children by a certain age are often ridiculed by their friends.

"Within the inner-city communities or underserved communities, so to speak, the idea of having children is very integral to manhood, and that is separate and distinct from being a father within the context of roles and responsibilities," he said.

In most cases the women in these relationships are the ones who are often blamed for not being able to produce children, although according to director of the Fertility Management Unit Dr Joseph Frederick, men are very often the ones who are at fault.

"Men are equally at fault in terms of not being able to have children as women. It's not a woman's problem alone. Fifty per cent of the cases are the men's fault," he said.

The fertility expert said he was not aware of men refusing to marry women because of their inability to produce children.

"Most of the men who talk like that they don't look after their children, and so they become like sperm donors," he said.

He noted that modern technology has now made it possible for infertile couples to have children, and so he feels this mindset is changing.

"You can have a family member donate the eggs, your brother can donate their sperm. In other words, what I am trying to say is that with the advent of the new technology, so many possibilities now exist that as we educate people and tell them what is available, you can sort of move most of the barriers now," he said.

"The technology is changing and so people are changing too. The way they look at life, that is changing too," he said.

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