"Eat, Pray, IVF" (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Yesterday I irritated the Christians; today I'll probably alienate a few Hindus.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How religion forbids all of the fun things in life: Like gluttony, premarital sex, and in vitro fertilization.According to the Encyclopedia of Science and Religion:  Even though IVF is pretty popular in modern day India, there are some aspects of ART (assisted reproductive technologies) which are not accepted in Hinduism. 

All biological material has to be kept between husband and wife. So using the husband's sperm is okay. Donors aren't. Fooling around with the next door neighbor is probably out. 

And even though,like I said, modern day India embraces IVF, there are some serious ethical concerns: The destruction of any embryo is considered to be murder, so all fertilized embryos must be implanted.

Fertility is a big deal for Hindus (as it is for most of us)... with an emphasis on producing a son.

I can understand that. What have women ever done for us? Eleanor Roosevelt, Indira Gandhi,Lady Gaga? 

According to the article, the importance of having a boy is this: "Hinduism has religious rituals that must be performed by a son if one's afterlife is to be secured..."

I asked a friend of mine who is Hindu about these rituals. She explained that one requirement is that the parents must be cremated by their son to advance to Heaven.

So of course I naturally had to ask what happens to the parents when they die if there is no son. Do they just leave them on the couch until somebody buys them with the house?

Apparently they, pardon the expression, are eternally screwed. The  belief(the old school one anyway) is that the parents will be punished in the afterlife for not producing a set of chestnuts.

The article further states another positive aspect of having sons:  "the dowry practice makes sons a source of wealth, and daughters a drain on family fortunes."

That's always been my goal.  I've been waiting my whole life to find somebody's family fortune to drain.

One of my excellent high risk maternal-fetal doctors is Indian. Hindu or not, I'm not sure. But ironically, she's a she.

Listen, I gotta go. I'm reading up on what Scientology thinks about IVF. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. If you have another minute take a look at this week's article: "How to ask (your doctor) questions (and how not to)" http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642