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Poll #577947… - Sally's Journal
September 26th, 2005
11:18 pm

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Poll #577947 Choices

If you had to lose one or the other, your (non-writing) arm or your fertility, which would you lose?

I'd lose my non-writing arm
16(19.5%)
I'd lose my fertility
66(80.5%)


This was a conversation at Pizza, it was surprising how much it divided people. And more surprising how both sides of the line were amazed that there were people on the other side.

There was also an interesting discussion on sperm donation, where it soon became obvious that I have an entirely emotional, irrational and inconsistant position. I should do something about that soon.

(116 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:ewx
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:22 pm (UTC)
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I'm having trouble imagining a situation where those'd be the only alternatives.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
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You are kidnapped by an insane hypothetical-situation fetishist... Well, yeah. I assumed the point was to try to rate how important fertility was, or perhaps how important arms are.

Though the reason, judging from my difficulty deciding, *would* make a difference.

Which now suggests some other factor is at work.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:23 pm (UTC)
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Is this hypotheticality or introspection? Um. Probably fertility on the grounds that there are babies needing fostering or adopting. But considering I'm almost the sole genetic representive of a chunk of my extended family I think evolution messed up somewhere :)
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From:sonicdrift
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Poor Miles.
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From:hmmm_tea
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
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...and suddenly the problem of over-population is solved over night...

(at least judging by the results so far...)
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC)
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Well, ok, my response is some sort of complicated algorithm dependant on what everyone else has done; if most people in the country have given up their fertility there'd be good reasons for me *not* to. But there wasn't an option for that. But while I have second cousins and lots of people are being good parents, it's not really important except as a personal choice.
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From:edith_the_hutt
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Wow. Out of interest, how many other men voted for the arm?
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From:atreic
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
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Err, results are viewable to all. Gender of the owners of LJs to be guessed at your peril :-)
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From:simont
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
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As I hinted by analogy at post-pizza: I'd quite likely be happy to lose my fertility even if the alternative was nothing happening at all. Provided, of course, that it happened magically at the snap of a finger and didn't involve icky surgery or other intrusive nastiness. I'd tolerate those if the alternative was limb-deprivation :-)
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From:kaberett
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
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... argh. Possibly want sprogs, but want to be able to continue playing the violin and piano more.

*selfish*
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From:sesquipedality
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
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Not really. It's a misconception. A lot of people like to claim it's selfish not to want children, but I've never seen anyone come up with a good rationale for this. Most of those people I know who want to remain childless are caring considerate people who for whatever reason feel that having kids is not an absolute priority. Personally I'd argue that bringing a child into a world as bad as ours is in some senses a selfish action, since they will doubtless suffer greatly as a result, and it seems cruel to expose them to this,
(Deleted comment)
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From:king_of_wrong
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
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Obviously neither is desirable and the answers are likely to be fairly well split. People will put different values on the attributes, quite possibly with noticable trends of age/sex.

One of the biggest favtors is probably imagining different hypothetical scenarios for how the loss might occur - a severed nerve making one's arm useless is 'better' than having it torn off at the joint, likewise a low sperm count is better than tripping and stradding a chainsaw.

I think I had another point, but that last comment has scared it out of my head, so I'll just go and sit quietly (and cross-legged) in the corner...
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From:vyvyan
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Since I've already voluntarily given up my fertility (and not in order to preserve an arm), this was a very easy choice to make. In fact, I wish I'd been presented with this ultimatum at the time - at least I wouldn't have had to pay for the privilege of infertility then!
(Deleted comment)
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From:the_alchemist
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)
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I know at least one person who would have ticked 'both' had there been an option for it. I guess the poll wasn't really designed for childfree apotemnophiles though...
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From:lnr
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
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I'm nearly 30 anyway, I'd have liked to have had kids young like my mum did, but I've never been ready, and I doubt I ever will to be honest. Not that I doubt it enough to take Vyvyan's choice without the threat of bodily harm.

Why non-writing arm anyway? Seems odd to be so specific.
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From:simont
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:02 pm (UTC)
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As I recall, the conversation arose from a discussion of contraception: specifically, the relative merits of the kind that gets implanted in the woman's arm and the kind that gets implanted in the woman's womb. Somebody suggested that your preference might arise naturally from the question of whether you'd rather lose the arm or the womb if the contraceptive malfunctioned explosively. At this point I think the subject was declared too silly for a real conversation and suitable only for LJ polls :-)

Since the arm-implant goes in the non-writing arm, that was the one you'd have to decide whether you preferred to your womb.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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From:vyvyan
Date:September 26th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
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Actually, this poll reminds me of a poll I made last year:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/vyvyan/2004/08/05/
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From:simont
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
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Yes, me too. I mentioned it, in fact, in the conversation where this came up. I'm glad I remembered correctly whose poll it was :-)
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From:fiona_kitty
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
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I'd rather lose my fertility, as I'd rather lose the ability to be a mother than not do practical scientific lab work.

However, ideally I would not want either, as I'm not adverse to having a child, just not right now.
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From:miss_next
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC)
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Well, I'm 41, and to be absolutely blunt I'm not using my fertility at the moment and there is a good chance that I may not be able to marry again before it starts failing on me in any case. Add to that the fact that I'm probably one of the more ambidextrous people you're likely to meet, and... no contest.
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From:edith_the_hutt
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
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You people scare me...
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From:lnr
Date:September 27th, 2005 08:32 am (UTC)
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Really? Can you explain why? Personally while I chose one side of the question I can see why people might choose the other.

I have to admit that if you'd asked me the same question 10 years ago it would have been much harder for me to answer.
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From:gerald_duck
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Speaking as someone coming to practical heterosexuality comparatively late in life, I've obviously lived with the threat of STDs for a long while, but the risk that sex could get someone pregnant is an unfamiliar and worrying prospect for me.

If one's partner wouldn't terminate an accidental pregnancy, I think nookie works out at something like £100 a shag, given that raising a child costs £150,000 and condoms fail one time in 1,500. (Disclaimer: remembered figures, but probably not too far off.)

Were I to start having regular heterosexual sex, I'd think very seriously about the precaution of a vasectomy.

In summary, I'm fond of my left arm, and have a marked though mild dislike for my fertility; my response was a no-brainer.
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From:dunkyb
Date:September 27th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
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and thats why it's always good (if possible) to stack contraception.
you-condom, her-pill and the odds of both pregnancy and STDs are cut down pretty well.
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From:enismirdal
Date:September 26th, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC)
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Though I am confident I could live a happy and fulfilling life either way! In a way, losing my fertility would be a possible blessing - with no ticking biological clock I would feel less pressured to grow up before age 35. Plus, I could be goodly and maybe adopt or something if I was grown up by then, and give a kid a chance...

It's odd. From my personal point of view, having a kid with my (debatably cool) genes would be amazing, but as things stand at the moment, it isn't so amazing that I'd be prepared to go through all the trouble of infertility treatment to achieve it, if I was having fertility problems and that would be the only way to have a kid of "my own".
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From:lockymclean
Date:September 27th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
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My train of thought:

1) Losing my arm means I would have great difficulty:

- playing rugby
- rowing
- typing
- opening doors
- travelling on public transport while carrying luggage (which I do a lot)
- getting dressed (which I also, thankfully, do a lot)
- etc.

2) Losing my fertility means I would have great difficulty producing kids naturally.

3) At this point in time, children are not an issue (even if they would be my "issue" haha boom boom!) as it looks like my singledom shall know no end.

4) Worst comes to the worst and I find I'm desperate for children, I'm sure developments in genetic science will make fertility irrelevant.

5) There's always Genesis 17:16-19...
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From:mst3kgirl
Date:September 27th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)
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Of course, I can't imagine a more horrifying situation than having only one arm available to deal with the result of my fertility.
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From:beckyc
Date:September 27th, 2005 08:55 am (UTC)
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I gather I got dropped a few times as a result of my mum (temporarily) only having one working arm shortly after I was born.
From:mtbc100
Date:September 27th, 2005 02:48 am (UTC)
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Well, I've already been about as fertile as I intend to. If it were arm or little children, I'd keep the little children. At this stage? The rational choice would be to keep my arm, but I am irrationally attached to my fertility. You never know when you might need sperm! But, of course, I need my arms to drive my shiny car. Vroom vroom.
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From:mst3kgirl
Date:September 27th, 2005 10:34 am (UTC)
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Perhaps I should issue an ultimatum then, so as I don't have to be the one to go under the knife....
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From:sashajwolf
Date:September 27th, 2005 07:10 am (UTC)
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I've already got three kids, don't intend to have any more, and have a medical condition which may make me infertile anyway, so this was a fairly easy choice. Had I answered a similar poll before I had children, though, I think I would have made the opposite decision.
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From:rmc28
Date:September 27th, 2005 07:26 am (UTC)
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Oh, I'm not at all surprised that there are people who don't find fertility something they want to keep more than an arm. In fact I'm amused that the balance in your poll is pretty much what I thought it'd be, in this twenty-something Cambridge high-achieving geekish set of people.
From:nlj21
Date:September 27th, 2005 08:05 am (UTC)
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Hummmm. Well if you're ambidextrous then losing your non-writing arm means losing nothing, so that definitely must be the option to go for......although I'm not too sure this insane hypothetical-situation fetishist will accept such reasoning, unless he is the same guy who likes sticking people in prisons with switches.
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From:ptc24
Date:September 27th, 2005 08:29 am (UTC)
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Presumably he attaches some strange device to your spinal cord, so that at any given moment the arm you aren't using for writing right now goes dead - i.e. no signals go either way along the nerves, the arm goes limp and lifeless until you want to use it, at which point the other arm goes dead instead.
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From:megamole
Date:September 27th, 2005 08:16 am (UTC)
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Maybe I should ask another question.

If you had to lose one or the other, which would you lose?


  • this comment?

  • ability to make really weirdpolls?

  • your succulent, tasty BRAIN?

From:ex_robhu
Date:September 27th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
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You're such a comment whore!
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From:atreic
Date:September 27th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC)
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It was only a *little* tickybox poll...
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