Deliberately choosing not to have children is suicide. If you look at yourself and your life as existing in and of itself, independent of others who came before you, independent of your ancestors, then my initial statement may seem ridiculous, but if you look at your life as just the next phase of a stream of living beings stretching back in time including all your ancestors, then you must agree. If you see yourself as another link in a chain extending back, then the only way to continue that chain is to have children, and if you do not have any children that chain is ended. Most of us would agree that suicide is wrong, that we shouldn’t take our own lives, that no matter how bad things are, or how bad we think they are going to get, it is cowardice, it is unjust, it is small to kill ourselves. Most of us would agree that life is better than death, even if your circumstances are bad, even if you suffer, it is better to live than to die.
Like suicide, not having children is an enormous act of selfishness. What you are saying to all who came before you is, “All that you have fought for, and sacrificed for, and suffered for, in order to give me life I take as my own. I will use all that you have given me for myself, I will drink the well dry, I will pass none on.” It is like participating in a relay race, and when it comes to be your turn you take the baton and go wherever you choose with it, never passing it on.
You can never pay your parents and your ancestors back in the way you can pay back a guy who bought you some gas when you ran out. You can never pay your parents and your ancestors back with money or time, or by helping them with their taxes or computer. Even if your parents and all your ancestors were total losers (which you know they all weren’t) and were bad people who never raised you, or never gave a damn about you, you still owe them your life. The only thing you can do, and what we all should strive to do, is have children. We all should strive for life, even if it is a struggle, even if the costs are high, even if at the moment you don’t see any way that it could ever turn out good, we all should strive for life.