Conceive now, and cash in on the millennium : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Conceive now, and cash in on the millennium

By Nathan Cobb, Globe Staff, 03/25/99

ou say you want to have a Millennium Baby? A little Millie or a little Milo, born shortly after the stroke of midnight on 1/1/00? The promotional and merchandising drums are already beating - get your Millennium Conception Kit, hot off the Internet! - but folks who are planning to give birth on New Year's Day are up against long odds.

''Good luck to them,'' says Dr. Raja Sayegh, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston

University School of Medicine. ''The chances of successfully planning to have a baby on a certain date are less than 1 percent.''

Still, everybody has to be born sometime. So if you're considering ushering in the new millennium with a new baby, there are a few things you should know. And there are plenty of people waiting to advise you, sell you something, or even offer you a prize or two.

Keep April 9 open: The second Friday in April, assuming you're ovulating on that day, is the best day for conception if you're planning to give birth on Jan. 1. Ovulation usually lasts only 24 to 48 hours.

Fine, but what if you're busy watching the Red Sox game from Tampa that night? About 80 percent of women who give birth deliver within two

weeks of their due dates. So a due date that falls between Dec. 18 and Jan. 15 - meaning conception would take place between tomorrow and April 23 - puts you in the ballpark, so to speak.

One reason not to count your millennium chick before it hatches: ''The average couple takes four to six months to get pregnant,'' points out Dr. Hope Ricciotti, a member of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In other words, a woman's chances of getting pregnant, even if she's trying, are about 1 in 5.

Two more reasons: As Ricciotti explains, a delivery date doesn't mean very much. ''Every pregnant woman is given a due date, but only about 3 percent actually deliver on that day,'' she says. And Sayegh points out that between 20 percent and 30 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages.

Assuming you're actually ready to have a baby at midnight on New Year's Eve, what happens when the lights in the delivery room go out? About 64 percent of the nation's 6,000 hospitals don't plan to test the computer software fixes they've made in order to cope with the Y2K bug, according to a recent US Senate report. ''Y2K contingency planning is in its infancy at hospitals,'' the report warned.

Just think! If you lived in England, you'd be famous for nine months, not just 15 minutes: Yorkshire Television plans to produce two documentaries that will follow several couples who have baby due dates of Jan. 1. Meanwhile, England's ITV plans to air ''Tonight's the Night,'' a ''celebration of conception,'' on the weekend of April 9. The program includes footage on ''the bizarre courtship rituals of our animal cousins.''

Consider the bizarre courtship rituals at Motel 6: Millennium baby contests are inevitable. In Houston, radio station KHMX is already offering an assortment of prizes, including a Texas college education, to the first area baby born on Jan. 1. About 100 people have registered, according to morning host Larry Moon. ''We were going to provide each of them with a room at Motel 6 to conceive,'' Moon says. ''But when so many signed up, we couldn't find a Motel 6 big enough.''

Speaking of bizarre courtship rituals, what about hand-dipped candles? The Web site http:// is selling a Millennium Conception Kit for $49.99. It consists of a fertility guide, ovulation prediction test, pregnancy test, massage oil, and hand-dipped candles. About 75 kits were bought during the first two weeks they were on sale, says Babycenter marketing specialist Lara Hoyem. And what differentiates them from non -millennium conception kits? ''The timing of their launch,'' replies Hoyem.

Funny, but they haven't mentioned using hand-dipped candles yet: The authors of ''The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby'' are offering daily preconception tips until April 9 via the Internet ( Example: ''Try to keep sex fun when you're trying to conceive.'' And ''Don't hop up and run to the bathroom right after you make love.'' (Egg and sperm are more likely to meet if you don't.)

On the other hand, maybe she's just getting common sense: Two weeks ago, Duane and Susan Dimock of San Diego announced that they would like to fly to the international date line and undergo a C-section at 12:00:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, thereby having the world's first millennium baby. They would do this on the small island country of Kiribati, near the Marshall Islands, they said. Now Duane Dimock reports that the trip is unlikely, in large part because his wife is afraid the birth will become a media spectacle. ''She's getting weird about it,'' he laments.

Millennium Huckster is still available, too: Applications for the trademarks Millennium Baby, Baby Millennium, and Official Millennium Baby have been received by the US Patent and Trademark Office. None has been approved yet. Applicants say they plan to produce mugs, T-shirts, toys, clothing, lunch boxes ... you get the idea.

Can the movie version be far behind?, a bimonthly on-line journal for '' millennium migrants,'' is about to introduce a cartoon character named Kidd Millennium. The Kidd - whom y-two-k hopes to syndicate to newspapers - will be born on Jan. 1, but in the meantime will speak from his mother's womb.

It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Will some people be tempted to hit that magical - and perhaps profitable - Jan. 1 birth date by tampering with the process? By taking labor-inducing drugs or scheduling a Caesarean section? ''Things like that should be done for a medical reason, not a social reason,'' says Beth Israel's Ricciotti. ''It's not something I'd recommend. But I'm sure you could find a doctor who would do it.''

This story ran on page E01 of the Boston Globe on 03/25/99. ) Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

-- Norm (, March 26, 1999



Normie, you've outdone yourself!

-- humptyduh (, March 26, 1999.

talk about pregnant with implications!

-- Arlin H. Adams (, March 26, 1999.

And there was I thinking we were the last couple left to be working on a millenium baby. But then again, I'm fortunate enough to live in one of those 'international unknowns', as our more excitable cousins like to put it.

-- Tickle (, March 26, 1999.

Now there's a great place to plan to be on New Year's Eve, 1999: a hospital. They're looney enough on a normal New Year's. Add in potential Rollover issues and the already documented medical billing weirdness and you're looking at one screwed-up environment...

-- Mac (, March 26, 1999.


March 23 1999
Baby bulge in 2000 will be risky, say doctors

COUPLES were urged to resist the temptation to take part in a millennium baby
boom yesterday. Hospital consultants said that trying to conceive a child to
be born in the first hours of 2000 could overstretch resources, giving an
increased risk of complications and handicapped children.

"The NHS maternity services are barely able to cope with the current rate of
about 2,200 births per day owing to a national shortage of midwives," the
Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association said. "A severe bulge in this
number will render the service into a state of collapse."

The consultants say that, if couples follow media advice that this week is the
optimum for conceiving a millennium baby, there will be reduced standards of
care, which will be a hazard to both mother and baby for two weeks into the
new year.

They also say that paediatric services would not be able to function
adequately and intensive care facilities would be overloaded. "The result is
likely to be an increase in the number of complications for mothers and
probably an increase in the risk of lifetime handicaps for children."

A birth bulge would make life almost impossible for maternity staff at a time
when there could be unforeseen problems from the millennium bug affecting
computer equipment.

Robin Loveday, consultant obstetric anaesthetist at Pembury Hospital, in
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said there could be problems getting a sick or
premature baby into a special intensive care unit. "If the other neighbouring
hospitals have peaks at the same time, you are in trouble as you cannot
transfer patients. The potential is there for producing a handicapped baby as
a result of the overload of the services."

If a larger than usual number of couples try to conceive this week, the
consultants say that the peak birthing time for the NHS will last for about a
fortnight, with no let-up to enable obstetricians and midwives to plan to
induce mothers to help to spread the time period.

-- Brian (, March 26, 1999.

even if couples successfully have a child on or about january 1, their child will not necessarily thank them in years to come. i was born january 2, and i've always detested new year's eve celebrations, because then everyone forgets my birthday. my biggest consolation has always been the fact that my parents didn't do this to me on purpose. by the way, my mother was due on january 1, but i was a day late.

-- jocelyne slough (, March 26, 1999.

I'm too old to do anything but practice. :-)

-- A. Hambley (, March 26, 1999.

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