Conception for Dummies

Joe Lavin's Humor Column

Conception for Dummies

April 6, 1999

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Couples, start your engines because the battle for the millennium baby is on. In one of the sillier events of our times, couples all over the world are desperately trying to conceive this month, so that their baby will be the first of the year 2000. It's fitting when you think about it -- a tacky end to what will probably go down as a tacky millennium.

Sometime between March 27th and April 9th is the best time to conceive, so if you haven't gotten to it yet, you only have a few days left. Even if you do get pregnant, most experts predict that the chances of having a baby on exactly January 1st are around 1%, and officially the new millennium doesn't even begin until January 1, 2001. Nevertheless, that hasn't deterred anyone from trying to make money off this craze.

For example, one web site ( is offering a $49.95 Millennium Conception Kit. The kit includes ovulation prediction tests, a pregnancy test, and a guide to conception. It also ensures that the child will have the genes of people stupid enough to shell out fifty bucks for a Millennium Conception Kit, but I guess that's beside the point. The kit also comes with massage oil and candles in case you need to get in the mood. And I'm sure you might because -- let's face it -- "Honey, hurry up, damnit, April 9th is almost over!" is not exactly the most romantic phrase in the universe.

Things are especially crazy in New Zealand, which will be the first major nation to welcome the year 2000. A radio station there is running a contest where 100 lucky couples get to stay in a hotel on April 9th in the hopes of conceiving. Free champagne and oysters will be passed out, and in between songs the station plans to issue updates on their progress. If that's not compelling evidence that the apocalypse is near, then I don't know what is.

I half expect some annoying sports announcer to show up for the festivities. "Yessss! What a move! Let's take a look at that again in instant replay. . . ." Unfortunately, the trend is also spreading to America. Radio stations in Houston and Washington D.C. are already sponsoring events just like this. The Washington station is even passing out copies of Barry White's Greatest Hits to inspire the copulating couples.

It is all so silly. Does this mean that hospitals will be extra busy on New Year's Eve? Will doctors and nurses have to work overtime just to keep up with all the babies? Will parents convince doctors to induce labor just for the sake of having that first baby? (Alas, the answer seems to be yes, though luckily most doctors aren't willing to schedule a Caesarian section for midnight on a holiday.) And you just know that these couples will insist on naming their baby "Millennia" to document the event. The name will soon be changed to Millie of course, but it will be child abuse nonetheless. On the playgrounds of 2012, I don't think being a millennium baby will be seen as a virtue.

And what about the dreaded Y2K problem? If I were a potential parent, I think I would prefer to have the last baby of this decade rather than the first baby of the next.

"Push! Push! Hey, what happened to the lights?"

Supposedly, the first baby will be the recipient of many endorsements. In England, media experts claim that the winner is expected to earn at least a million pounds from various promotions. And a Toronto promoter (who also runs is hoping to raise up to two million dollars from sponsors to give to the family of the first North American baby.

Somehow, I can't imagine any of this happening. After all, how will we know which baby is really first? It all depends on time zones, and which doctors will lie and put 12:01 a.m. on the birth certificate. If you ask me, the only thing that will happen is that hundreds of people will end up bickering with each other over whose baby was first. And with that much money at stake, there will probably even be a lawsuit or two.

But who cares? When you think about it, anarchy like that might just be the most fitting way for this millennium to end.

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