Oocyte Grandparenting

A Modest Proposal for Intergenerational Transfers

In the ancestral environment, grandparents helped educate and protect the young. Perhaps that's why us old folks have trouble sleeping, and tell long pointless stories.

With modern biology, grandparents can be more involved, financially and with regard to pregnancy timing.

A healthy human female is born with perhaps 1 million oocytes, ready to mature into eggs. A young woman becomes biologically fertile before she is financially and emotionally able to raise a child, leading to lots of out-of-wedlock babies and absent fathers. An older woman may reach menopause before the best opportunities to raise a child. Our bodies do not match our society.

Imagine magic microsurgery - safe cellular-level surgery to remove all of a female's oocytes before birth. These cells are studied, sequenced (by sequencing the polar bodies?), and characterized. Most eggs can produce healthy babies, some might carry genetic disease.

The healthy eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen, the risky eggs are modified just enough to fail at conception. Those are replaced in the prebirth female baby, and she will carry them through life.

The eggs are held in trust by the woman PLUS her parents and other trusted advisors. When she decides to conceive, healthy and undamaged eggs are available for in vitro fertilization and implantation (the father's sperm can be saved during youth and sorted as well).

Socially, this process should involve decisions about the financial support and education and adulthood-launch of the child, provided by the grandparents in late middle age in return for supporting the grandparents in their extreme old age. Contractual intergenerational obligations and gifts can preserve wealth and make sure children and seniors are properly supported. If the bio-grandparents flake out, other childless people can assume responsibility, perhaps spreading their bets over multiple children whose conception they helped plan.

If the eggs are properly protected, that will allow women to take risks (exposure to space radiation, perhaps) without risking their children. With sorting, it could wipe out genetic diseases in a few generations.

I'll leave it to the financial planners and psychologists to figure out how to structure the relationships.

The Ick factor is huge - but most people find thinking about the future icky. The pioneers will have a lot to sort out, and great rewards for doing so.

OocyteGrandparenting (last edited 2015-10-25 05:59:38 by KeithLofstrom)