Letter: Little pets

Sir: Why do people have children? Let us be honest. Children in Britain are conceived because social convention and prospective grandparents demand it, through genuine error, through fecklessness, following a surfeit of alcohol, because of neurotic need, or because some people love children (or think they do until they've got one). Also, as Terence Blacker points out (Comment, 9 February), they are desired as designer accessories or pets.

In the light of these motivations, how can Jean Molloy (Letter, 9 February), maintain that child-rearing is a "social" and not an individual project? Does she really believe that intending (or unintending) parents are thinking of England? No, sir, even those who carefully and thoughtfully plan their families act from purely selfish motives - they want children - and that is just as it should be.

Many of the dire social problems we are creating for ourselves could be largely avoided if people asked themselves exactly why they were initiating pregnancies. We pay more attention to the purchase of a car or a cardigan than we do to one of the most solemnly responsible and potentially wonderful acts possible, the production of a new person.