The British newspapers have been filled with baby stories over the past few weeks. First, the Prime Minister's wife gave birth to Leo Blair. Then, along with the release of his much talked about new film, came comedian/writer Ben Elton's news that he'd recently become father of twins by IVF. And now, broadcaster John Humphrys has become a father (for the third time) at the age of 56. Add to that the fascination with the pregnancies of starlets such as Madonna, Kate Winslet and Catherine Zeta Jones and it seems that babies (even those conceived artificially) are the new cool.
But babies are only fashionable when their parents are the right ones. Cherie Blair is considered a model mother, even though her baby was unplanned, she had it relatively late in life and she plans to return to work almost immediately. No-one blinks an eyelid at the way Ben Elton has become a father. And no-one seems concerned that John Humphrys may not see his son graduate from university.
As it happens, I don't think that anyone should be concerned about the wellbeing of the children born to these couples. But isn't it funny how the media celebrates such baby making but castigates other couples for choosing to have children in unorthodox circumstances? Tony Barlow and Barrie Drewitt, the gay fathers of surrogate twins, have met their fair share of moral indignation from the press. And yet, they are young, wealthy and seem to be doing very well as parents.
But one tabloid newspaper story that really caught my eye this week was that of 33-year old Rosa Flores, an Italian woman who is pregnant with her second child, conceived with her own frozen eggs. Rosa Flores and her husband seem the most inconspicuous of couples, but the method by which they have chosen to have a family (a choice foisted upon them by nature) has prompted journalists to talk of babies to order and children of convenience.
It's easy to complain of media hypocrisy, but hypocrisy is exactly what it is. What seems to matter to the press is who a child's parents are (or who they are not), not what their quality of life is likely to be - something which they profess to be concerned about. What the press should really do is to leave parents alone so that they can get on with bringing up their children.