Producer Mindy Kaling, best known for her role as Kelly Kapoor in the hit TV show “The Office,” is encouraging women to freeze their eggs so they can have children whenever it is convenient for them, even if that means intentionally raising those kids without their fathers.
“I wish every 19-year-old girl would come home from college and that the gift—instead of buying them jewelry or a vacation or whatever—is that their parents would take them to freeze their eggs,” Kaling recently said in an interview with Marie Claire. “…They could do that once and have all these eggs for them, for their futures…to focus in your twenties and thirties on your career, and yes, love, but to know that when you’re emotionally ready, and, if you don’t have a partner, you can still have children.”
Kaling’s comments perpetuate the harmful narrative that women can only have successful careers if they aren’t mothers. This is obviously and provably untrue. Yet Kaling, a single mother of two who did not have her children until her late 30s and early 40s because she didn’t want to interfere with her career, seems to accept that false narrative.
According to this interview, Kaling waited to have children until she felt financially secure and settled in her job.
“I waited until I had the means and that made all the difference,” Kaling continued.
Women, especially women who get married to men willing to provide the finances required to run a home, don’t have to wait to be in a perfect financial condition to have children. Yet Kaling instead chose to birth and raise her children alone.
Promoting a Problematic Procedure
There is no guarantee that frozen eggs will yield children. After all, eggs that are preserved outside a woman’s body must undergo in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, both of which procedures don’t promise seamless and successful fertilization, before being reimplanted in the womb.
Even the Dr. Rebecca Flyckt — director of the Fertility Preservation Program at Cleveland Clinic, a program dedicated to prolonging fertility — says that “freezing eggs is not as reliable as moving ahead with getting pregnant and having a baby, if you have that option more immediately.”
Additionally, harvesting eggs can be a painful, expensive, and sometimes traumatizing procedure.
But Kaling said she wants companies to, as Marie Claire author Neha Prakash put it, “provide more accessible healthcare options in that regard.” Essentially, Kaling wants businesses to pay to keep women from having children in their reproductive prime.
That’s a problematic goal for numerous reasons, especially considering the fact that little is known about the long-term effects of egg retrieval.
Not only have some women whose eggs were removed reported sudden infertility, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and fatal colon cancer, but one study even explores a possible link between egg retrieval in young women and breast cancer.
Fatherless Children Automatically Have a Disadvantage
“The choice to have a child—by yourself, on your own terms—it was the best part of my life…It’s the thing that I hope women feel confident doing by themselves,” Kaling said in her interview.
Deliberately bringing children into a single-parent home, however, automatically puts kids at physical, emotional, and educational disadvantages compared to their peers who were raised by their biological parents. Bonus points if those parents are married.
“Here are some of the well-known risks for children growing up with a single mother compared to their peers in married-couple families,” the Institute for Family Studies reported in 2020. “[L]ower school achievement, more discipline problems and school suspension, less high school graduation, lower college attendance and graduation, more crime and incarceration (especially for boys), less success in the labor market, and more likely to become single parents themselves (especially for girls), thereby starting the cycle all over again for the next generation.”
Specifically, children born into fatherless homes, such as Kaling’s son, are less likely to excel in school or even graduate. Because his biological father is not present, Kaling’s son is twice less likely to graduate college by his late-20s than his peers who are raised in a family with their biological father.
These statistics are obviously alarming to researchers and should raise the eyebrows of women seeking to have children, yet Kaling seems to take pride in taking on her parenting journey without her children’s father.
“I hope you find a partner, if that’s what you want, but if you are thinking about having kids, and you are waiting for that to be the reason, I just want to encourage you to not feel like you need that. It has been the biggest difference in my life. It’s brought me the most unadulterated joy in my life. If I hadn’t made that decision, I would be kicking myself,” Kaling said in 2020 shortly after her son was born.
Some mothers are left with no choice but to raise their children on their own. But in Kaling’s case, she intentionally conceived children into a life without a father. In fact, it’s something she and her cheerleaders in the media celebrate as “empowering.”
“I want to put my own happiness in my own life. I want to be part of my community of moms and parents, and you don’t need a man to do that,” Kaling said in 2020.
Of course, by all biological measures, women do need a man to procreate. But for Kaling, men were out of the equation from the beginning.
Encouraging young women to engage in a problematic procedure to freeze their eggs so they can have a career reduces women to their work. Encouraging young women to freeze their eggs so they can conceive, birth, and raise kids without a husband hurts them and their children’s chances of having a healthy, successful home life.
Sidelining what’s best for children to accommodate the desires of adults is selfish. It deprives children of opportunities and infringes on their natural right to two biological parents, and it hurts the women it’s meant to empower.