My Big Brother Is About To Be Born by Mark Dewey


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SUMMARY: A quick, though-provoking look at new reproductive technologies and our conventional ideas about birth order.

What were my parents thinking? I know they wanted children, but what was wrong with the "old-fashioned way." I know the answer to that. It wasn't working, so they turned to technology.

I was created in Beverly Hills. Ingredients? My mother's egg and my father's sperm. But they had help. The IVF procedure, properly called In Vitro Fertilization, moves conception into the laboratory where it can be controlled. Pipettes and incubators instead of pinot noir and Enya.

My parents created three batches of embryos. I'm from the second, or middle batch. An embryologist looked at the four embryos in my batch, back when we were each just a ball of either 8 or 16 cells, and decided that I looked the best. He calls it a beauty contest. I won. I was born soon after.

I'm 12 now and my big brother is about to be born. He's been on ice for almost thirteen years, frozen along with my parents' other embryos from all three batches. My mom decided she wanted another baby, and had him thawed out. He won the beauty contest from his batch. I call him my big brother because he was created two months before me. So he's two months older than me, right? But I'll be driving a car before he's out of diapers, so I don't think I'll be calling him "big bro."

I don't know what to call him. I'll ask my little sister. She's in college. She'll know.